Windows 7 came with the integrated virtualization solution Virtual PC, however in Windows 8 this application is no longer included and Microsoft replaced by Hyper-V. I tried out several Linux-distributions with virtualization software and these are my results.
Before these experiments I had the most experience with this Linux-distro OpenSuse (http://www.opensuse.org/), that’s why I installed this distribution the first. The version of OpenSuse which I used was 12.3. With this distribution I experienced a strange phenomena: it was not possible to run it in a higher resolution as 800×600.
I even ran the installer several times again from scratch with attempts to run it in a higher resolution. (See the screen shots below). During the installation of OpenSuse you can choose another resolution by pressing F3, but different selections didn’t make any difference. Once the installation is over the virtual machine is always running in 800×600.
Because this resolution is too small nowadays for comfortable working with a PC I moved to another Linux distribution.
Since, I heard good comments about Linux Mint from a colleague I tried out this distribution too. A new problem came up here: Linux Mint exists in several versions, whereby the two main versions are: MATE and Cinnamon. I downloaded both variants (version 15) and installed them.
The main difference is the desktop environment which is used:
Cinnamon is based on the newer Gnome 3, while MATE can be seen as the the continuation of Gnome 2.
It seemed attractive to try out the newest thing, so I started with the Cinnamon-edition…
Linux Mint- Cinnamon:
Installation went fine, but when you startup the virtual machine I got the following message on the desktop.
Running in software rendering mode
Cinnamon is currently running without video hardware acceleration and, as a result, you may observe much higher than normal CPU usage.
There could be a problem with your drivers or some other issue. For the best experience, it is recommend that you only use this mode for troubleshooting purposes.
The GUI was very slow and unresponsiveness. That made this distribution also unusable.
So, I switched over to the MATE-edition is and with this version the responsiveness went much better. Also installation went fine.
I had an ISO-image of Ubuntu 12.04 available (mind that I didn’t download the latest version of Ubuntu, which is at the time of writing 13.04). Installation goes fine and it runs almost as smooth as Linux Mint. They use the Unity user interface for some years now. There were a lot of talks about it on the internet. I have a bit mixed feelings about it, but it works quite well, although not so smooth as the search via the start button in Windows 7 or Windows 8.
There is just one thing I really hate about Ubuntu: the fact that some elements of their UI act like on Apple is a big turnoff. With this I mean that their window control buttons on the left-top of each window and their menu bar appears on top of the screen, not on top of your current window, which would be more logical. In other words the control elements of an application appear on a different location on the screen….
Linux Mint-MATE and Ubuntu are close to each other, but Linux Mint-MATE wins for me, because speed and it ‘feels’ the most like Linux. Consider that I even assigned less memory to the Linux Mint-MATE -virtual machine.
Before I end this blog post I want to give some general remarks/tips about Hyper-V and using Linux.
Network Connectivity in Hyper-V:
The network adapter for the Virtual Machine must be switched off before installing Linux, otherwise you won’t be able to use the network in the virtual machine. See the following guides with information about working with network adapters in Hyper-V:
Hyper-V and VirtualBox:
Hyper-V and VirtualBox (the virtualization software from Oracle) can’t work together. If you want to use VirtualBox, you need to disable Hyper-V and then restart the PC. This and this guide describe well how to do it, but I didn’t try this by my own.
Other experiences with Hyper-V:
List of different Linux distro’s are working under Hyper-V in Windows 8: http://robseder.wordpress.com/2012/08/29/win8hyper-v-what-works-and-what-doesnt-edition/
Loss of network connectivity:
Sometimes a virtual machine looses it’s network connectivity. The only way to solve it is then to restart the host OS or to set the host OS to sleep or to hibernate. After the host OS wakes up again, there is again network connectivity in the guest OS. I haven’t found the cause yet, nor a solution. This happened with all the distro’s which I tried. Last idea was that it had something to do with the wireless network card of this PC.