In this tutorial, we will see how to enable nested virtualization in VirtualBox. In English, we speak of “nested virtualization“. The objective is to be able to use, within a VirtualBox virtual machine, software which itself relies on virtualization. For example, another hypervisor to install VirtualBox in a VirtualBox virtual machine (pay attention to compatibility). To do tests, it is a need that we can have.
Embedded virtualization in VirtualBox is disabled by default. It activates VM by VM, which makes sense in a way. The objective will be to expose the virtualization functions, in particular the Intel VT-x or the AMD-V depending on your type of processor, directly within the virtual machine.
II. Enable nested virtualization in a VM
Start by opening the VirtualBox console on your computer in order to display the list of VMs. Click on the VM for which you want to enable this feature, then click on the “Configuration” at the top of the window.
On the left, click “System“, then right on the tab “Processor“. In this place, check the option “Enable nested VT-x/AMD-V” and validate.
Voila, nested virtualization is enabled for this virtual machine! Next, you need to start the virtual machine. Install the virtualization software you want to use in the VM, but it might not work: it’s all about compatibility!
This is an option that can also be activated or deactivated on the command line with VboxManage. You must position yourself in the folder where this tool is located (VirtualBox installation folder):
cd 'C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox\'
Then, activate the option by indicating the name of the VM:
.\VBoxManage.exe modifyvm "Windows 11 22H2" --nested-hw-virt on
This very easy manipulation allows you to activate nested virtualization on a Linux or Windows virtual machine within VirtualBox! Remember to inflate the RAM, disk and CPU of the VM in question to distribute enough resources inside the VM concerned.
Note: For VMWare users, be aware that the procedure is similar (the option has almost the same name).
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