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Windows 10 10565 preview build can run virtual Windows inside of Windows

Want to learn something that will blow your mind? The latest Windows 10 10565 Insider preview build will let users run it inside another version of the OS ... sort of. The new feature that's being tested is called nested virtualization, which will allow for a virtual machine version of Windows 10 to run inside another virtual machine.

Here's the technical breakdown of how this works:

"In essence, this feature virtualizes certain hardware features that are required to run a hypervisor in a virtual machine. Hyper-V relies on hardware virtualization support (e.g. Intel VT-x and AMD-V) to run virtual machines. Typically, once Hyper-V is installed, the hypervisor hides this capability from guest virtual machines, preventing guests virtual machines from installing Hyper-V (and many other hypervisors, for that matter). Nested virtualization exposes hardware virtualization support to guest virtual machines. This allows you to install Hyper-V in a guest virtual machine, and create more virtual machines "within" that underlying virtual machine."

Microsoft says nested virtualization in Windows 10 will only work with Hyper-V; other hypervisors don't currently support it. It also says that this feature is in preview mode, which means there are "plenty of known issues, and there is functionality which we still need to build." However, it's still mind-blowing to think that you can run a version of Windows 10 inside another version.

Source: Microsoft (opens in new tab)

62 Comments
  • Wow?
  • So you can Windows 10 while running 8.1 on hypervisor 7 while running XP decoding windows 3?
  • No. It only works when all machines are on Windows 10 build 10565 (and newer).
  • Inception!
  • *Winception!
  • THIS PUN
  • MORE PUN INTENDED!
  • It's a Win-Win situation!
  • Nice!
  • Something like this happens when you point your open camera at a projected screen of your phone.
  • Yo dawg, I heard you liked Windows 10...
  • So we put some windows 10 in your windows 10. So you can run windows while you run windows!
  • Lol
  • Heh.
  • That's what we called: Windows in Windows.
  • LOL
  • Hahahhah
  • That's exactly how they announced it. https://twitter.com/GabeAul/status/654143770494005248
  • +1
  • Yo dawg we heard you like Windows...
  • Just like the other guy, that was how they announced it. https://twitter.com/GabeAul/status/654143770494005248
  • That's awesome!
  • You should make a video that shows how many levels of Windows you can achieve!
  • and you get Xbox Achievements by just running 5 Windows inside Windows 10!
  • is this a challenge?
  • challenge accepted!
  • 10 Windows inside Windows 10 with 10 windows of Windows File Explorer open on C://Windows
  • "However, it's still mind-blowing to think that you can run a version of Windows 10 inside another version." That's nothing new. I think you mean "However, it's still mind-blowing to think that you can run a version of Windows 10 inside another version inside yet another version."
  • Holy Shit.... you just inceptioned it!!!
  • I'm virtually impressed
  • It's virtually virtual!
  • Xzibit would be proud!
  • Yup. (3rd comment linking back to the announcement tweet) https://twitter.com/GabeAul/status/654143770494005248
  • I haven't tested it myself, but I think the VS emulators run on Hyper-V so I'm guessing before this change you couldn't run apps in simulator when VS is running inside a VM, and hence this change will let you run the simulators even if you are developing on a VM copy of Windows 10. This could be good for Enterprise since most companies won't upgrade to Windows 10 for quite a while and now this doesn't stop the devs in that company from developing Windows 10 apps and testing them in the simulator if they don't have a test device to deploy to.
  • That would make sense -- the VS Android emulator is a Hyper-V image as I Windows phone/mobile. The ability to run another Virtual Machine inside an existing VM would allow this capability. More interestingly, this could apply to Azure VMs whereby devs could do the exact same thing, just not locally.
  • Didn't think about Azure, that's awesome if you can set up VMs inside an Azure VM.
  • Yeah, but your performance is gonna suck if you don't scale up appropriately.
  • It is a catchup to the VMWare. :) It will be useful if it is available on Windows Server on Azure.
  • Well..hmmm.. Vmware knows this feature since 8 years..? https://communities.vmware.com/docs/DOC-8970 --> Running Nested VMs (page creation date: 30.11.2008) Congrats MSFT... it was just about fkin time...
  • This probably makes sense for Windows 10 servers for hosting multiple virtual machines with Windows 10 running. Is good this also exists on Windows 10 pro, so engineers can work locally to design automated Windows 10 virtual machine provisioning services on large datacenters.
  • It's cool and all, but what would be the purpose of allowing Windows 10 Vm in Windows 10 VM within Windows 10? Is it so you can have 10 on the server, everyone gets a VM and then they can run a vm if they want?
  • Check my comment about about visual studio simulators, I'll test it out later before I grab the new build then test it after and see if I'm right.
  • This build has released to Turkish users today btw.. Thanks for caring.. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I think my mind just broke.......
  • Win-ception?
  • We can run preview build in the virtual machine...and RTM as daily driver
  • So what you're saying is once this is out, i can keep my stable build of Windows 10, and run a VM of the insider build and test without hurting my actual system?  COOL!
  • Christopher Nolan will be proud Posted via the Windows Central App
  • Winception....
  • Got a text from the CEO last night while I was watching my 6 year old grandson in a Little League game. In order to satisfy his request, which he probably assumed would either require me to go to the office or maybe even do first thing this morning, I simply launched the RDP app on my Lumia 1520 (running W10M 10356) into a secure management desktop that had VM tools available for the server I needed to access. 120 seconds later I text him back and said "accomplished". He was surprised and asked why I was at work so late? I sent him a picture of the baseball game and and a screenshot of my RDP session explaining I don't use an Ipod for a phone like he does. (couldn't resist) Point is, I am not exactly sure how I would deploy this new VM feature......but just a few years ago I couldn't imagine how much easier it would be to manage a 32 location global network when the whole Hyper-V world exploded on the scene. I just want Microsoft to keep developing this realm. If it applies to my own little selfish lifestyle, I'll take it!  
  • Nice. Used to run the Telecom network at a time share resort. Whenever I was field troubleshooting, I'd RDP from my 920 into my desk, to alter PIMs and settings on the NEC switch. Saved me always having to drive the golf cart back to my office and back out again.
  • Not sure if anyone else has issues but I can't get the RDP app to connect to my Windows 10 desktop on the same Wifi Network, worked perfect for 8.1, and yes I'm competent with Remote Desktop since it's part of my job. Is it supported on the Windows Phone app to connect to Windows 10? I didn't hear about any changes to RDP in 10...
  • It's like inception !
  • This is a common feature from VMware called Unity Mode. Now if Microsoft could bring in USB pass-through to their hyper-V guest environment, that would be huge!
  • I don't think this resembles Unity mode in any way. Unity mode would be running apps from a virtual machine as if they were on the host.
  • Ah, you are correct. Thank you for the correction.
  • Interesting, I just envisioned a big honking desktop gaming rig, where the rest of my network infrastructure runs on a virtual Hyper-V host. Replacing the big honking server I have now.
  • Yo dawg, I heard you like Windows, so I put Windows inside your Windows.
  • I already do this using Virtualbox, although obviously the guest Windows won't activate as I only have one licence Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Do you mean you have Windows 10 on a desktop and then use Virtual Box to host a Windows 10 VM? If so I think you missed the point of the article...
  • Office 95.
  • If I had to guess, I'd say this is a side-effect from MS' work to enable Hyper-V Containers in Windows Server -- which are in effect VM in a VM.