How to Install Hyper-V on Windows Server 2019 {Visual Guide}

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How to Install Hyper-V on Windows Server 2019 {Visual Guide}

This article will take you through installing Windows Server 2019 and then adding Hyper-V.

Already installed Windows Server 2019? Skip to Hyper-V installation

A Note on Hyper-V Server (Updated June 17th, 2019)

After a few initial missteps, Microsoft has finally released the gold bits for Windows Server 2019. You can receive it with new hardware or access the releases through your volume license or MSDN page. After even more missteps and multiple delays, the separate Hyper-V Server product (frequently, and incorrectly, called “Hyper-V Core”) has released! Download from the Microsoft evaluation center. Despite its presence in the evaluation center, you do not need to pay a license fee to use Hyper-V Server.

Server SKUs Only!

This article does not cover installing Client Hyper-V on Windows 10. That process has not changed since initial release. Please refer to our article on Client Hyper-V for Windows 10 installation instructions.

Download Windows Server 2019

The most common ways to get a copy of Windows Server 2019:

  • Download from the evaluation center. Assuming that Windows Server 2019 works like previous releases, you can convert an evaluation installation into a permanent installation by adding a retail key. Most other keys will not work.
  • Receive pre-installed on new hardware. Most of these will use OEM installations.
  • Receive DVD media or a download link with new hardware.
  • Receive DVD media or a download link with a retail purchase.
  • Download from your volume license portal.
  • Download from your MSDN portal.

Usually, the biggest difference in media types is whether or not it prompts for a license key.

Download Hyper-V Server 2019

You can download Hyper-V Server directly from the evaluation center. The product does not require a key and does not expire.

Non-DVD Install Techniques

If you have DVD media, you can simply insert it in the system’s drive and boot to it. If you have a download, you’ll need to do something else.

  • Burn the ISO image to a DVD. We have done this for long enough that it should be common knowledge. You can right-click the ISO in Windows 10 and burn it that way, or you can find any of dozens of tools to do the job.
  • Create bootable USB media. Download the official tool from Microsoft. It has a simple wizard interface to read install information from an ISO file and place it on a removable USB device. Use them like bootable DVDs.
  • Use Windows Deployment Services.

I will use the USB-style deployment in these instructions, but I will start after boot.

Physical System Prerequisites for Hyper-V Deployment

Hyper-V was built to work on the same broad range of hardware as Windows Server. You do need to take a few pre-cursor steps. You will find all these items in your system’s BIOS/UEFI menu:

  • Enable hardware-based virtualization
  • Disable C States (power management)
  • Consider disabling all power management
  • Enable the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) if your system has one.

The Windows Server 2019 Install Procedure

The following steps walk through Windows Server 2019 Installation from media. Aside from the text fields and the license prompt in step 3, installing Hyper-V Server does not change the screens or process.

  1. You begin on the language, locale, and input choice screen:
    installing Windows Server 2019
  2. The second screen has the lone Install now button. If you need it, you’ll find the Repair your computer link at the lower left.
    windows server 2019 install
  3. For most installation modes, the wizard will prompt you for an activation key. You can select I don’t have a product key to enter a key later.
  4. Next you will choose the edition and install mode. The available options, and even whether or not this screen even appears, will vary based on your media. The default option will install server in core mode. “Desktop Experience” include the full Windows Server GUI.
  5. You must accept the license terms to move on.
  6. Choose the disk to install on. You can use the toolbar underneath the list of disks to control where to install. If you’d like to partition a volume rather than use an entire disk, click the New button and enter the desired size. Use the Load Driver button if your disk does not appear and you have driver files from the manufacturer.
  7. The wizard will transfer and expand the image files for your selected edition and install mode.

This completes the installation portion. Next, you configure your Windows and Hyper-V installation. How you do that depends on the installation mode that you chose. I will show them separately.

Configuring a New Windows Server 2019 Core Installation

If you chose to install Windows Server in core mode, then you will begin with the standard text-based unlock screen. We begin there.

  1. Enter the Ctrl+Alt+Del key sequence:
    New Windows Server 2019 Core Installation
  2. Windows will prompt you to change the local administrator password. Press Enter:
  3. Enter and confirm your new password. Use Tab to move between fields. Use Enter when finished:
  4. After a brief, perhaps imperceptible delay, you will receive confirmation that your password was changed:
  5. From now on, you will see the standard Ctrl+Alt+Del and password challenges:
  6. In the default configuration, Windows will take you to a standard command prompt:

You have multiple choices on how you proceed from here. I recommend that you do not install Hyper-V until you go through a number of other steps first. To complete the section on Core mode, I will list a few options most helpful in this case. After the graphical startup walk-through, I will give you my recommended checklist. Then I will present Hyper-V installation steps.

Windows Server Core and Hyper-V Server Configuration Options

Windows Server Core (and Hyper-V Server) looks intimidating to those that have always used Windows’ graphical environment, but I strongly encourage you to stand up to the challenge. Command-line functionality greatly exceeds anything that you can accomplish with a mouse. But, if you’ve never done it before, then you might not even know where to start. You have a plethora of options:

  • sconfig.cmd: Microsoft has deprecated this tool and it might eventually disappear from Windows Server releases. However, you still have it in Windows Server 2019. It’s as good a place to start as any. Just type sconfig and press Enter. You’ll get the following screen:
    Windows Server Core Configuration Options
  • Corefig: I’ve maintained the Corefig project for a few years now, although I have not done much for updating. I am in the process of building up an all-new version 2. For now, version 1.3 works on WS2019 about as well as it worked on 2016.
  • PowerShell: One tool that can solve all of your problems. You just need to know how to use it. I suggest simply using your favorite Internet search engine to look for “powershell <whatever task>”. You have choices besides interactive mode, though. I like to build up pre-defined scripts for my hosts, such as this one.

The above list focuses on interactive tools. With more up-front effort, you can deploy and configure systems in minutes. Tools include Windows Deployment Services, System Center Virtual Machine Manager, Desired State Configuration, and others.

The next section shows the initial post-install configuration as above, but for a GUI installation. Skip over that section and continue with the vital configuration checklist.

Configuring a New Windows Server 2019 GUI Installation

Note that Hyper-V Server does not have a graphical option, so these instructions will not apply to that product.

If you chose to install Windows Server in graphical mode, then you will begin with a prompt to change the local administrator’s. Enter and confirm your desired password.
New Windows Server 2019 GUI Installation

After that, Windows Server will take you to the standard lock screen, which has not changed since 2016:

When you log in, Server Manager will open automatically, as it always has. It will also encourage you to install Windows Admin Center.

I assume that most people choose to use the full GUI installation for familiarity reasons. Therefore, I classify the initial configuration of Windows Server GUI mode under “common knowledge” and will not give any further information on that. If you are new to Windows Server and don’t know how to do these things, I don’t recommend starting with a Hyper-V installation.

Hyper-V Pre-Installation Checklist

Perform these steps on your newly-installed Windows Server 2019 deployment prior to installing Hyper-V.

  • Update device drivers
  • Install vendor-supplied system management utilities
  • Configure basic networking — delay if you will use a fully-converged design
  • Update Windows Server — you might need to temporarily configure basic networking to make that possible
  • Rename the computer
  • Join to the domain. No, your workgroup mode is not as secure, and no, you’re not solving any problems by avoiding domain membership. You can skip this, of course, but I don’t provide any guidance on such builds. I figure that if you intentionally ask for the unsecured micro-management nightmare of a workgroup build, then I would disrespect your wishes if I helped you.
  • Figure out how you want your Hyper-V networking to look. Take time to think it through. I can give you a quick nudge. That article links to deeper dives if you need them.

Installing Hyper-V on Windows Server 2019

With the preliminary work out of the way. You can install Hyper-V on Windows Server in three ways: PowerShell, dism.exe, and Server Manager. I listed those in my preferred order.

Note: Regardless of installation method, your host will reboot twice to enable Hyper-V.

Install Hyper-V with PowerShell

PowerShell is the fastest and easiest way to install Hyper-V. It works on Core and GUI equally well. Just remember to start PowerShell in an elevated prompt if using a GUI-mode install.

Install-WindowsFeature -Name Hyper-V -IncludeManagementTools -Restart

Install Hyper-V with DISM

You have to type a bit more to get DISM to work, but you can run it from the standard elevated command prompt:

dism /Online /Enable-Feature /FeatureName:Microsoft-Hyper-V /All

Once this command completes, it will ask if you want to restart the computer.

Install Hyper-V from Server Manager

The Server Manager technique is, by far, the longest, most painful, and most confusing. I recommend that you choose either of the other two.

Most people that use Server Manager modify the local system. You can connect to a remote system from Server Manager’s home page. You can then pick it instead of the local system at the correct point.

  1. On the home page, click Add roles and features:
  2. Click Next on the introductory screen.
  3. Choose Role-based or feature-based installation.
  4. If you do nothing on the Select destination server screen, you will change roles on the local server. If you added a remote server prior to starting the wizard, you can modify roles there. Choose the desired system and click Next.
  5. Check the Hyper-V role.
  6. When prompted, you can add the management tools as well. You do not need to do so. If you prefer, you can Cancel here and select individual management components on the next screen.
  7. On the Features page, you can pick a different selection of management tools, if you wish.
  8. You will get an introductory screen specific to Hyper-V. It talks about some of the same things we went over in the the pre-installation checklist above.
  9. You can now pick a physical Ethernet adapter to host a Hyper-V virtual switchI highly recommend that you skip this page unless you want only defaults. You can set up networking later.
  10. You can choose the initial Live Migration security control. The settings shown only apply to Shared Nothing Live Migration, not clustered Live Migrations. I prefer Kerberos because of the security and the ease of initiating migrations. You can always change this option later.
  11. Here, you can change the default storage location for virtual machines and virtual hard disks. As with the other settings, you can change these later.
  12. The final screen allows you to review the basic options that you chose and optionally export them. It also allows you to enable an automatic reboot to enable Hyper-V. Click Install when ready.

Once all the reboots have completed, you’re ready to start creating and running virtual machines.

Hyper-V Post-Installation Checklist

Hyper-V in Windows Server 2019 continues the established tradition of needing very little post-install configuration. I’ve listed the options that typically draw the most interest:

  • Networking — we have a full how-to guide to help you through the steps
    • Create any desired teams
    • Create one virtual switch
    • As an alternative to the above two steps, create a switch-embedded team
  • Host configuration options — use Set-VMHost or Hyper-V Manager
    • Default virtual machine configuration storage location
    • Default virtual machine virtual disk storage location
    • Live Migration security settings (for non-cluster migrations only)
    • Live Migration performance settings

I recommend that you take a look through the activities available to you. Most cannot be set in the GUI. Start your discovery in PowerShell:

Get-Command -Module Hyper-V

Take some time to go through the cmdlets to see what they can offer.

What’s Next After a New Hyper-V Installation

You’ve now set yourself up with a brand new Hyper-V installation running on Windows Server 2019. Go forth and virtualize!

If you get stuck, I’m here to help – let me know in the comments below or head on over to the Altaro Dojo Forums and ask the community! I’m also active on the forums so I’ll post my reply as soon as possible.

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73 thoughts on "How to Install Hyper-V on Windows Server 2019 {Visual Guide}"

  • CalB says:

    I am just now learning about Microsoft Servers so I suspect my questions will sound very noobish to everyone.

    What I am trying to learn is how to make a setup that can accomplish the following few things.

    My hope is to install Server 2019 in core mode with Hyper-V then add Server 2019 Standard in Core mode for the Active Directory Domain Controller and a second 2019 Server in Core mode for the Microsoft Exchange Mailbox Server. Assuming this topology is correct I have a some questions prior to starting.

    1) This article,
    says to make the Hyper-V server a part of the domain. So should I do that and forego making the previously mentioned ADDC VM? What are the current best practices for this kind of a setup?
    2) Do I need to make an IIS Server for webmail for the Exchange Server? If so where should I put that for the best security? I read that you shouldn’t put it on your ADDC or Exchange server so that made me think I would need ANOTHER member server???

    Sorry this sounds confusing I am just trying to learn as much as I can before I waste time setting up scenarios that are wrong and a waste of time. Thank you in advance for your time, patience, and expertise on this subject.

    • Eric Siron says:

      This is a lot to tackle.

      1. You should create the domain controller VM first and then join the host to that domain.
      2. I am not an Exchange expert. I would personally separate the webmail role into its own VM. Some people prefer to leave those off of the domain. I do not have sufficient background to make that call. Definitely do not put any externally-accessible IIS system on the same Windows instance as domain services.
  • JTL says:

    Wow, YES!! What a guide, thanks

  • Jonny says:

    How do you do deal with new environments where no domain has yet been created?

    Surely the only option is to configure the Hyper-V server for a workgroup, making the required security holes so it can be managed, before adding it to the domain once the guest DC VM has been built and the host joined?

    • Eric Siron says:

      I am working up an article that addresses this. To get a jump on it: no. I would not do that.
      If you installed Hyper-V on Windows with the desktop experience, then there is no reason to do it at all. That’s the solution for the majority of environments.
      If you installed Hyper-V in a non-graphical environment, then install Hyper-V on whatever GUI system you would use for remote management, build the DC there, export it, and import it on the new host. That requires far less effort than putting up all that scaffolding and then tearing it down afterward.

    • Ted Mittelstaedt says:

      For small sites (under 25 users) I always build the raw host server, then install hyperv, then install domain services and create the domain on the host. Then I create a virtual server in hyperv and join that. In general I do fileserving off the host so that fileserving is not slowed by virtualization layers, and run application servers in vms. Note that the 2 vm licensing only applies to copies of windows server. So for example you can create a hyperv server, set the host as a DC, then set a virtual server as an application server for an accounting package, then set a second virtual server up with Ubuntu and run email on that. Also you can run as many workstation copies as you want as long as they are volume licensed copies and you have the proper number of licenses for them.

      For larger sites I never put services (other than hyperv) on the server. I also never join the hyperv server to the domain and I do not run remote hyperv admin tools. All management of the vms is done by RDP into the hyperv server. It is safer that way because if the domain is compromised by an attacker who escalates to admin, you could literally have an antire network of servers, all vm’s, cryptolocked or destroyed and the hypervisor would not be touched and you could restore all of those from image backups.

      I get that there’s a lot of management tools out there that hate this but with hypervising you need to start thinking about your hyperv servers as completely separate from the network the guests use. If you built your servers in the cloud under Azure you wouldn’t have access to the hyperv server either that Microsoft runs them on. The less access anyone has to the hyperv server the safer.

  • Chris says:

    Hello – great article! I have a couple questions… 1) Should an install of 2019 Standard be set to occupy all of the available resources (hard drive & memory) of the server, then let Hyper-V handle the allocation of those resources to the individual VM’s? Also, 2) Does the 2019 Standard allow (license) for the creation of two additional VM’s, or is does the install of 2019 itself count as one of the licensed VM’s itself?

    • Eric Siron says:

      1 – Yes
      2 – A physical host fully licensed for Windows Server 2019 Standard Edition can run two virtualized instances of Windows Server 2019 Standard Edition. If you run any software in the management operating system for any purpose other than managing the local system and its virtual machines, then you forfeit the right to run one of those two instances. Please contact your Microsoft licensing reseller for details as I am not a lawyer and I am not credentialed to provide licensing advice.

  • Giancarlos says:

    We purchased a dell server. The host have a license for windows server 2019 standard and supposedly you can install a virtual machine with that license. We dont have the exact license its supposed to be activated automatically?

    • Eric Siron says:

      No, it won’t activate automatically. I do not know the details of the keys that came with your purchase. Call your Dell sales rep and ask them to connect you with a licensing expert.

  • A Young says:

    Silly question but once you have installed Windows Server 2019 and activated Hyper V, does Hyper V setup a virtual Server 2019 from the main installation for you or do you have to reinstall Windows Server 2019 on the virtual disk space as if it were another server from scratch and if so if it’s an OEM version of windows Server do you hit licensing issues?

    • Eric Siron says:

      You have to install guest operating systems separately.
      An OEM license should grant you the normal virtualization rights in theory. Each OEM can modify the terms of the license, though. I do not have the details on how to use OEM keys in a virtual machine. Contact the sales team of the company that sold it to you and see if they have a licensing expert on staff that can answer that question. Support almost never knows.

  • Mark van de Klei says:

    I want to virtualize 2 domains for 2 small companies (<20 users). Each company will consist of 2 VMs, a DC/file server and a RDS/application member server for the employees to work on.

    Reading your article I have a few questions:

    1 – You recommend the Hyper-V host to join a domain for security reaons. I assume you do not mean to join the host to your company network domain but make it a domain on its own for the purpose of extra functionality of a DC that makes it more secure?
    I also read about joining your VMs to the host domain, obviously that would be a bad idea in my setup with external clients in my VMs but what could be a reason to do this?

    2 – Is it not better/safer and more efficient to install just Hyper-V Server 2019 on the host? This way you do not have the vulnerabilities of Windows 2019 server on the host which should be managed, updated, rebooted, etc. You can connect with Hyper-v Manager to the host from any remote system to manage your VMs which makes Windows server on the host unnecessary to me.

  • Olaff says:

    Thanks for the article! 🍻

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