Scott Hanselman

Switch easily between VirtualBox and Hyper-V with a BCDEdit boot Entry in Windows 8.1

January 8, '14 Comments [19] Posted in Tools
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I've been using GenyMotion for a FAST Android Emulator when developing with Visual Studio and Xamarin. However, I also use Hyper-V when developing for Windows Phone. GenyMotion use VirtualBox, which has it's own Hypervisor and you can't have two.

Some sites say to use Add/Remove Features to turn the Hyper-V support off, but that seems like a big deal to do what should be a small thing.

Instead, from an administrative command prompt I made a copy of my boot menu with a "No Hyper-V" entry:

Note the first command gives you a GUID and you then copy it and use it with the second command.

C:\>bcdedit /copy {current} /d "No Hyper-V" 
The entry was successfully copied to {ff-23-113-824e-5c5144ea}.

C:\>bcdedit /set {ff-23-113-824e-5c5144ea} hypervisorlaunchtype off
The operation completed successfully.

Now, this is important. In Windows 8.x, Windows is optimized to startup FAST. And it does. On my Lenovo it starts in about 3 seconds, faster than I can press any buttons to interrupt it. But when I want to dual boot, I need it to really shut down and give me an option to chose this new boot menu.

In order to access the new boot menu, I select Settings (Windows Key + C) then Power, and Restart but hold down shift on the keyboard while clicking Restart with the mouse.

HOLD SHIFT while pressing Restart

You will get this scary looking Blue Screen. Select "Other Operating Systems" and your "No Hyper-V" option is in there.

Windows 8.1 Boot Menu

Selecting No Hyper-V

Now, you can run Virtual Box nicely but still choose Hyper-V when you want. You can confirm VirtualBox works by noting that the Acceleration tab will not be grayed out under System Settings for your VMs. Reboot normally and Hyper-V will be back and ready to go. Here's Android running in VirtualBox via GenyMotion.

Android in an x86 VM in GenyMotion under Virtual Box - Used for Xamarin and Visual Studio Android Development in C#

There's touch support too! If you're not doing Android development like this with Visual Studio and Xamarin, frankly, you're missing out.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Wednesday, January 08, 2014 1:43:55 AM UTC
You call that easy?

Well, it's as easy as it gets I understand. It's still quite silly for those of us who rarely shutdown their machines.
Wednesday, January 08, 2014 4:49:57 AM UTC
I agree, I don't like having to reboot. That being said this is a known way to do this since late 2012 when win8 start gaining traction and WP8 was causing WP devs w/ VBox headaches thanks to its insistence on using hyperv for its emulators.

Good info for those it suits, though.

I'd like to see wp8 emulators go back to non-hypervisor requirement. It's crazy to me that I can write a full win8 app w/o the need for hyper-v, but can't write a "little" phone app.
Wednesday, January 08, 2014 5:24:35 AM UTC
You could also run Android-x86 on Hyper-V directly.

I would assume that Genymotion itself is using Android-x86, or an enhanced fork?, (I didn't think VirtualBox could emulate ARM?) so there should be no reason why they couldn't deliver a Hyper-V image as well? Or is there additional secret sauce in Genymotion that I'm not aware of?
Wednesday, January 08, 2014 8:29:57 AM UTC
You can also make a .bat file which will reboot into No Hypervisor Mode directly (or any other special boot option you may create):
bcdedit.exe /bootsequence {your-target-boot-option-guid}
shutdown.exe /r /t 0 /f #(Reboot the computer immediately)

Note: The bcdedit /bootsequence parameter does not make any permanent changes to your boot sequence; it only applies on your next reboot.

This trick saves a few seconds when you need to boot into another dual-boot mode.
Wednesday, January 08, 2014 1:27:53 PM UTC
I use genymotion without having to turn off Hyper-V.
Is that because I have no Windows phone images?
Wednesday, January 08, 2014 2:44:00 PM UTC
How about making Hyper-V only be active when it's, you know, actually emulating something?
Wednesday, January 08, 2014 3:23:50 PM UTC
If you run VMWare Workstation or Fusion on your host, you can create separate VMs: one with Hyper-V and one with VirtualBox. You'd need to enable 'Virtualize Intel VT-x/EPT...'. Hyper-V doesn't have that feature, I'm not sure about VirtualBox. I think developing in a VM is a lot easier than dual-booting.
Thursday, January 09, 2014 12:48:41 PM UTC
Also for people that do not use the No hyper-v configuration very often and want to have a "clean" boot it would be enough to enable/auto hyper-v with a command shortcut on the desktop.
Thursday, January 09, 2014 8:44:10 PM UTC
The Android Emulator that comes with the Android SDK is just as fast as the Genymotion emulator (still requires the "No Hyper-V" described in this article) if you correctly enable the Intel HAXM acceleration and turn on GPU acceleration. You'll need one of the x86 emulator images.
Jason Famularo
Friday, January 10, 2014 2:35:03 AM UTC
I've switched over to virtualbox for my development VM so that i can run both by dev vm and Genymotion at the same time. Migrating from Hyper-V and VMWare was easy I see about the same performance as well.
Friday, January 10, 2014 12:19:15 PM UTC
Thanks Scott, I assume this also fixes problem with Netflix on AMD GPUs?
Tuesday, January 14, 2014 9:25:32 AM UTC
Oh thanks!
I need this because AMD/ATI video drivers won't let Netflix Win8 app work if Hyper-V is running (WTF?!?!)
Renato Golia
Tuesday, January 14, 2014 10:38:40 PM UTC
Totally agree!


If you run VMWare Workstation or Fusion on your host, you can create separate VMs: one with Hyper-V and one with VirtualBox. You'd need to enable 'Virtualize Intel VT-x/EPT...'. Hyper-V doesn't have that feature, I'm not sure about VirtualBox. I think developing in a VM is a lot easier than dual-booting.
Thursday, January 16, 2014 10:22:40 AM UTC
Bradley > How about making Hyper-V only be active when it's, you know, actually emulating something?

Hyper-V stands for "hypervisor." A hypervisor in the purest form runs your main OS/machine (the one you use to control the other machines, usually called domain 0) as a VM itself. As far as I know Hyper-V has some trickery to get domain 0 running at native speed; but it is still effectively a hypervisor; you would have the exact problems with VirtualBox if you were attempting to run it under Xen.

So, basically, Hyper-V is *always* emulating something.

The CPU extensions required for nested virtualization are relatively new, as far as I know only VMWare 8 supports VM nesting. Furthermore I have messed around with VM nesting and have to admit that it's pretty unstable.
Jonathan Dickinson
Saturday, January 25, 2014 6:32:08 AM UTC

I have GenyMotion running on my PC.. I executed adb devices and get a List of devices attached device

Can you provide some info on how to run GenyMotion from with VS?? I click on the project and there are no option to connect to the external emulator... GenyMotion isn't listed under Android Emulator Manager.

How do I get VS to recognize this in VS?? I looked under tools and other menus...


Thursday, February 06, 2014 9:00:16 AM UTC
Thanks Scott.
Suddenly PLEX server stopped working after Hyper-V installation on Win8.1.
Hyper-V seems to mess with the DLNA capability =( but now with this new boot entry its all fine.

Edgar Santos
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 6:34:31 PM UTC
Quick q, just in case anyone in "the know" is "out there"...

"The Holy Grail": (native) VHD to 'hosted' (with Hyper/Vbox/VMware?...)

Still not possible?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 3:39:44 PM UTC
Very useful blog post, thank you.

Though if you'll allow me to share one rather annoying disadvantage of this solution... after finishing some work with VMWare Workstation, I went back to Hyper-V and all of my VMs complained about the network. It transpired that all of the Virtual Switches had been deleted and I can only assume that swapping from "Auto" to "Off" and then back again keeps all of the VM data but deletes all of the networks? I assume you're aware of this?
Friday, March 21, 2014 11:49:53 PM UTC
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