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Motherboard Virtualization Support: Enabling Virtualization in The BIOS

written by: Nicholas•edited by: M.S. Smith•updated: 4/26/2010

Trying to figure out whether or not your computer has virtualization support? For the most part, all newer CPUs and motherboards have virtualization support. This article focuses on enabling virtualization in the BIOS, and lists some common reasons why you would need virtualization for a computer.

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    What is Virtualization and Why Do You Need It?

    Motherboard virtualization support is commonly needed to run virtualization software on your computer. Virtualization software is basically software that allows you to run a foreign operating system within your base operating system. For example, run Windows on a Mac, or run Mac OS X on a PC. Without virtualization support, virtualization programs cannot always operate, disabling a user from using the software all together. Some common virtualization programs are:

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    Virtualization FAQ

    Motherboard virtualization support can be difficult to understand. Here are some common FAQs that may answer some questions that you have regarding CPU/motherboard virtualization.

    • Q: Does my motherboard support virtualization?
    • A: The heavy majority of the time, yes. However, this is only if you have a CPU with virtualization support. If you have a motherboard that supports a CPU with virtualization, than your motherboard likely supports virtualization. The thing is, not all motherboards have a configurable option to toggle on/off virtualization. If your motherboard does not have an option in the BIOS to do this, there's a good chance that virtualization is on by default.
    • Q: Does my CPU support virtualization?
    • A: That depends. The heavy majority of newer CPUs do have virtualization support. For example, Intel's newer Core i3,i5, and i7 all have virtualization support. Intel Core 2 Duos and Quads also have virtualization support. For AMD, the Athlon II and Phenom II X2 and X4 processors should all have virtualization support. Some examples of CPUs that do not have virtualization support are Pentium 3, some older Pentium 4s, and some older Celerons. If you CPU does not support virtualization, you will likely need to upgrade to a newer processor to run virtual machine programs and applications.
    • Q: I believe my CPU is capable of virtualization, but Windows programs are reporting that 'your CPU does not support virtualization. How do I fix this?
    • A: In some cases, programs may not detect that your CPU is capable of virtualization. This could be due to several problems, but may actually be your motherboard. Motherboards, like processors, must have virtualization support in order for virtualization programs to run smoothly.
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    Checking If Your CPU Has Virtualization Support.

    If you are unsure whether or not your CPU has virtualization support, you can download the SecurAble program, install it on your PC, and run it to determine whether or not your computer has a processor capable of running virtualization programs. If your CPU does not support virtualization, your motherboard likely does not support virtualization either.

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    Motherboard Virtualization Support

    Intel Virtualization in BIOS In some cases, you may need to enable motherboard virtualization support for your computer to run certain programs properly. To do this, you will need to restart your PC and boot into the BIOS. This is normally done by holding down one of the F-command keys. For example, F5 or F12. From there, simply browse through the different BIOS options and look for a listing labeled 'Virtualization Technol' or something similar. You should be able to toggle motherboard virtualization support on or off using that feature.