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

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. However, as of this writing, Microsoft has not released the separate Hyper-V Server product (frequently, and incorrectly, called “Hyper-V Core”). When it releases, we will update this note and provide installation instructions.

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. Unfortunately, Microsoft has not yet created the evaluation media. We will update this post once they make it available. 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.

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.

  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 Configuration Options

Windows Server Core 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 >”. 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

If you chose to install Windows Server in core 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.

Installing Hyper-V on Windows Server 2019

All right, you have all of the preliminary work out of the way. You can install Hyper-V 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 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:

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 switch. I 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:

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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Author: Eric Siron