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Cheatsheet for Supported Guest OSes on Hyper-V 2012 R2

By Nirmal Sharma (Send Email)
Posted February 5, 2015


During the initial release of Hyper-V, Microsoft's primary focus was geared primarily towards supporting as many Windows operating systems as it could. However, since most of the organizations run different flavors of operating systems, it was also necessary to support operating systems other than Windows such as some Linux distributions. Windows Server Tutorials

Starting with Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V, Microsoft has made tremendous changes for new Windows operating systems and has been collaborating with Linux vendors to address the following items: eliminating the need for installing Integration Services and supporting as many virtual processors as Guests.

The table below lists the Windows operating systems (client/server) including Linux distributions supported by Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V hosts. The table also lists the maximum virtual processors supported by each operating system and if there is a need to install the Integration Services for these Windows operating systems running on Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V hosts.

Guests

(Server/Client)

Maximum Virtual Processors

Integration

Services

 

Remark

Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1

64

Built-in

See Note 1

Windows 8.1

32

Built-in

 

Windows 8

32

Part of OS

See Note 2

Windows 7 / Windows 7 SP1

4

Part of OS

See Note 2

Windows Server 2008 SP1 or SP2 / Windows Home Server 2011 / Small Business Server 2011

4

Not part of OS

See Note 3

Windows Server 2003 SP2 and Windows Server 2003 R2 with SP2

2

Not part of OS

See Note 3

Windows Vista with SP2

2

Not part of OS

See Note 3

Linux Distributions

64

Built-In

See Note 4, 5

 

Note 1: Please note that Integration Services are built into Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 but not on Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1. You must install Integration Services on Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1.

Note 2: Although Integration Services are part of the operating system, it is recommended to upgrade the Integration Services that ship with Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V hosts.

Note 3: You must install Integration Services on these guests.

Although official support for Windows XP SP3 has already expired, Microsoft is still listing those operating systems as supported guest OSes on their TechNet page. It is also worth mentioning that Microsoft no longer supports Windows Server 2008 as a guest running on the Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V hosts.

Also note that the maximum virtual processors supported by Hyper-V for a Windows and Linux virtual machine running on a Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V host is 64. As to memory, it depends on how much memory is configured on the Hyper-V host, but a maximum of 1 TB can be configured for VMs.

Note 4: Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V supports various Linux distributions such as CentOS, Red Hat, Debian, Oracle Linux, Ubuntu, SUSE and FreeBSD. However, the Integration Services are built into the Linux kernel for the following distributions only:

  • CentOS and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.0, 6.6, 6.5, 6.4
  • Debian 7.0 through 7.4
  • Oracle Linux 7.0, 6.5, 6.4
  • Ubuntu all versions
  • FreeBSD 10
  • SUSE SLES 12, 11, 12.3

Note 5: By default, Linux distributions can be configured to use a maximum of 7 virtual processors and 30 GB RAM. If you need to have more than 7 virtual processors and 32 GB RAM, add NUMA=OFF entry in the Grub file.


Nirmal Sharma is a MCSEx3, MCITP and Microsoft MVP in Directory Services. He has specialized in Microsoft Technologies since 1994 and has followed the progression of Microsoft Operating System and software. In his spare time, he likes to help others and share some of his knowledge by writing tips and articles on various sites and contributing to Solution IDs for www.Dynamic-SpotAction.com. Nirmal can be reached at nirmal_sharma@mvps.org.

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