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Go two layers deep by running a Linux virtual machine within a Windows virtual machine using Hyper-V.
Virtual Machines enable you to experience multiple operating systems on a single system while keeping them isolated from the host OS. You must have tried creating virtual machines to try out a new OS you don’t want to install directly. But have you ever tried using Hyper-V inside a virtual machine?
Hyper-V is Windows inbuilt hypervisor that allows you to create virtual machines and run them. But it is also possible to use Hyper-V inside a VMware Windows virtual machine. So, you can create a Hyper-V virtual machine inside a VMware virtual machine and run it without any issues. Here’s how to do it.
Firstly, you will need a Windows virtual machine that is completely functional inside VMware. We would suggest Windows 10 or 11 virtual machines for this project. Moreover, you must pick either Windows Pro or Enterprise edition because Hyper-V isn’t available for Windows Home edition.
Make sure to dedicate an adequate amount of hardware resources to the virtual machine. The reason behind this is that you will try to run a virtual machine inside a virtual machine. So, the Windows virtual machine can dedicate only a portion of its resources to running a Linux virtual machine using Hyper-V. We tested this using a Windows 11 system with 16GB of RAM and an eight-core AMD processor.
Also, update the VMware Workstation Player to the latest version before you begin the installation method.
We will break the steps into three parts. Firstly, you must enable the virtualization features for the Windows virtual machine. Then you need to enable Hyper-V on this virtual machine. Lastly, you need to create a Linux virtual machine using Hyper-V.
To enable Virtualization, do as follows:
Virtualization features are now active for the above Windows virtual machine. Next, you need to install Hyper-V.
To install Hyper-V on the VMware Windows virtual machine, repeat the following steps.
Hyper-V is now active on your Windows virtual machine. Next, you need to create a Linux virtual machine it.
The last piece of the puzzle is to create a Linux virtual machine inside the Windows virtual machine using Hyper-V. You can pick any Linux distribution that you want. We will go with Ubuntu for this experiment. You have to download the Ubuntu ISO file inside the virtual machine from the Ubuntu website before starting with the steps.
To create an Ubuntu virtual machine, do as follows:
Now that the virtual machine is ready, it's time to get Ubuntu up and running:
The virtual machine will boot to the Ubuntu desktop. You can use Ubuntu and notice that the system runs fine inside Hyper-V just like it does on any other virtualization software.
Creating a virtual machine inside a virtual machine is possible. But you have to remember that the underlying configuration of the host system must be such that it can run a virtual machine inside a virtual machine without any issue. If you attempt this experiment on a low-end system with 4GB RAM and a dual-core processor, it will choke the system.
So, you need to use a system that can devote ample hardware resources to the Windows virtual machine. Only, then you would be able to use Hyper-V and create a Linux virtual machine and allocate run it without any issues. After you try our Ubuntu using Hyper-V, you can power off the virtual machine. Or you can take the extra step and delete the virtual machine from Hyper-V Manager. It will free up a lot of space inside the Windows virtual machine.
Also, uninstall the Hyper-V feature if you don’t need it any further in your Windows virtual machine. Check out our guide on how to disable or remove Hyper-V in Windows 11 for more information.
VMware supports hardware virtualization and can extend the feature to its virtual machines. VirtualBox is yet to catch up in this aspect because Hyper-V doesn’t work in a VirtualBox virtual machine as of writing this post. Make sure that you turn off virtualization features for the Windows virtual machine when you no longer need it.
Abhishek loves computers ever since he got his hands on the Lenovo G570. He holds a master’s degree in computer appliciations and loves writing how-to articles, listicles, and informational posts on Windows, Android, and Internet. When he is not writing anything, he is busy watching new episodes of One Piece or new movies.

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