In this article, we will examine how to set up Windows 7 on a new virtual machine using Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualization software on the Windows 10 64 Bit operating system.
How to Install Windows 7 on a Virtual Machine using Hyper-V
Windows 7 was released on October 22, 2009, for both personal and business computers, with the development of Microsoft’s previous system, Windows Vista.
Microsoft’s Windows 7 system is the most popular operating system in the world, which maximizes the user experience, supports installation on almost any computer.
Compared to previous XP and Vista versions of Windows, Windows 7 provides a lot of conveniences for users to create network connections. It also supports better power saving of host computers and provides convenience for users to create interactive content such as video, music.
Although this wonderful operating system of Microsoft was terminated on January 14, 2020, many people or institutions still use it today. Microsoft has officially notified users that the system may be vulnerable to security vulnerabilities as it ended support.
While it is better to install and experience Win7 on a physical computer, it may be safer to install and run it on virtual machines.
Therefore, you can protect your host computer from system vulnerabilities by running Win7 in a VM by activating Hyper-V, the free virtualization software built into Windows 10.
How to Create a New VM for Windows 7
After installing Hyper-V on your host computer, you must first create a correct virtual computer for the Win7 operating system and then configure its settings correctly for installation performance.
First of all, before creating a VM with Hyper-V, it is recommended to create an External Switch using the Virtual Switch Manager tool. Because VMs use Default Switch, which uses NAT connection by default, and this adapter can often cause problems for VMs to access the local network and the Internet.
Click Virtual Switch Manager in the Actions section on the right side of the Hyper-V program.
Select New Virtual Network Switch / External on Virtual Switch Manager, and then click the Create Virtual Switch button.
After creating the External Switch, type a name for your external network in the Name field and configure the External Network setting as your host’s network adapter connecting to the Internet.
In the Before You Begin window, you are presented with two installation options. First, if you click Finish directly here, a virtual machine will be created automatically. Second, the Next option is provided to create the VM manually and better configure its settings.
Since it would be more convenient to manually configure some important settings of the virtual computer, such as Generation type, click Next to continue.
Write down the name of the virtual operating system that you will install on your host, and you may also want to back up the VM to an external disk so as not to overfill the capacity of your host disk. Therefore, in Location, you can specify the location where the VM will be stored.
When you set the Generation type of the guest operating system to 1, you will have enabled BIOS firmware that supports older systems. If you are going to install a newer operating system such as Windows 10, you can enable UEFI firmware by selecting Generation 2.
You may need to configure the virtual memory size for the VM according to the hardware capabilities of your host computer. Also, if you are going to run multiple VMs simultaneously on your host, you can enable Dynamic Memory to create better RAM memory allocation between VMs. Thus, more memory will be allocated by the hypervisor to the virtual PC that needs more memory.
If you are going to run a single virtual PC on your host, you do not need to enable this feature, and configuring a fixed RAM size will be better for performance. Therefore, type a suitable memory size according to your host RAM capacity and click Next.
Select the External Switch you created for the network adapter of the Windows 7 virtual machine and continue.
In the Virtual HDD configuration window, you can see that the disk size of 127 GB is configured by default. Configure the size of the virtual disk to 50 GB or higher, depending on what you do on the VM.
To install the ISO file on the VM in the installation options window, first, enable the Install an operating system from a bootable CD/DVD-ROM option, then the Image File option, and finally, click the Browse button to specify the location of the file to add a Windows 7 ISO file to the VM.
Select and add an image file you downloaded before or the ISO file you downloaded to your computer from the link here.
After adding the Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 x64 ISO file to the VM, click Next.
You can see the changes you have made on the virtual computer in the Summary window, which is the final stage. If there is a setting you want to change in the VM, you can go back to the previous settings or close the window.
After preparing the VM, open its settings and configure the number of virtual processors according to the power of your host CPU.
Connect to the Windows 7 virtual computer with the right button / Connect and then click the Start button to launch the system setup.
How to Install Windows 7
Installing Windows 7 with Hyper-V is similar to installing on a physical computer in the real world. Therefore, you can also perform the operations after this step on a physical computer.
After running the virtual PC, you will see it booted with the ISO image. When the Windows 7 setup screen opens, select your system display language, keyboard layout, and time zone and click Next.
On this screen, you can get more information about the installation, repair your system, or start the Windows installation by clicking Install Now.
Confirm the license agreement of the Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate Service Pack 1 operating system and click Next.
An older version of Windows must be installed on the VM before you can upgrade to a newer version of Windows. To install Windows 7 from scratch, click Custom (Advanced) and continue.
Click Drive Options to create a new partition on the virtual disk.
Select Disk 0 Unallocated Space and click New, then click Apply to confirm the automatically allocated disk space.
Select Disk 0 Partition 2 where you will install Windows and click Next.
Wait while the setup wizard expands the Windows system files.
After the Windows 7 system files are copied, restart your guest system.
After your guest operating system restarts, the installation will continue for a while.
When your virtual PC restarts again, this time, type your user and computer name to be different from other PCs in your network.
If you want to protect your personal virtual machine from unwanted users, create a memorable password for your user account.
Type your Windows 7 product key and if you want Windows to be activated automatically when you are online, select the relevant option and click Next.
If you want to enable the update service so that Windows can protect your computer, select Use Recommended Settings.
Configure the time zone of your guest operating system according to the country you live in and click Next.
Configure the current location where you will use your virtual computer as home, work, or public.
After installing Windows 7 on your virtual machine, you can find out the system version by executing the winver command in the Run window.
How to Test Internet Connection
You can access your local network and the Internet using both the External Switch and the Default Switch adapter in the VM. Because the Default Switch uses NAT, it will not have an IP address from the range of IP addresses used in your local network.
When you use an External Switch, your virtual machine will receive an IP address from the DHCP server that automatically distributes IP addresses on your physical network.
To check if your virtual system can access the Internet, ping the Google servers by executing the ping 184.108.40.206 command at the CMD prompt.
If you can ping Google servers, check that you can access the homepage via Internet Explorer.
How to Use VM in Full-Screen Resolution using Remote Desktop Connection
When you install older distributions of Windows with Hyper-V, you may not be able to use the full-screen resolution and you may not be able to hear system sounds. This is because Enhanced Session is not supported on older systems.
Even if you enable Guest Services in the VM’s settings, the advanced session feature is not active. To solve this problem, you can use the VM in full-screen resolution and hear system sounds by using Remote Desktop Connection on the host.
In order to use the remote desktop tool, you need to check the IP address that the virtual machine gets from the DHCP server.
Right-click on the network connection in the right corner of the taskbar, open Network and Sharing Center and click on Local Area Connection, then click Details in the window that opens and check the IP address in the IPv4 Address section of the Network Connections Details.
Once you know the IP address you need to configure the permissions on the VM for the remote desktop connection. Right-click on my computer, click Properties and click Advanced System Settings in the system properties window, and then select “Allow connections from computers running any version of Remote Desktop (less secure)” on the Remote tab and click OK.
Finally, to create a password for the user account so that you can establish a remote desktop connection to the virtual machine, right-click on My Computer and click Manage from the pop-up options.
Click Local Users and Groups / Users in the Computer Management window and right-click on User from the user accounts listed on the right and click Set Password.
After clicking the Proceed button in the window that opens, create a new password for your user account in the Set Password for User window and click OK.
Start the Remote Desktop Connection tool on your host operating system.
Type the IP address of the guest operating system and click Connect.
Type the guest system’s credentials and click OK, then click Yes in the warning window reporting the certificate error.
After establishing a remote desktop connection to the virtual computer, you can see that the audio device is operational and the screen resolution is used in full-screen mode.
How to Use USB Flash Memory in Virtual Machine
The simplest way to transfer files between a virtual machine running in Hyper-V and the host is to use a USB flash drive. Because in some host systems, establishing a network connection and sharing folders can be difficult.
Open Remote Desktop Connection again on your host and this time click Show Options and then click Local Resources tab in advanced settings.
After clicking More in local resources, tick your flash memory from the devices under Local Devices and Resources / Drives and click OK.
Click Connect after selecting the USB stick and click Connect again in the trust remote connection window. Re-enter the Guest OS’s credentials and connect to the VM after confirming the certificate error.
After opening My Computer on the guest system, check that the flash memory is visible in Other.
As soon as you create a file or folder in the USB memory inserted in your host, you can see that the files created on the remote desktop connection.