Running Hyper-V on a Laptop

Running Hyper-V on a laptop is great for performing off-site demos. Most laptops that can support running Windows Vista will also run Windows Server 2008, but be sure to install the Desktop Experience feature if you are going to use your laptop for more than just demos. Desktop Experience provides many client-side components including Themes and Windows Media Player so your laptop will feel more like it's running Windows Vista than Windows Server 2008. There are a few things that Desktop Experience doesn't provide however, see KB 947036 for details.

One problem you may face is that some drivers and/or utilities provided by your laptop vendor may not work properly under Windows Server 2008. If that's the case, check with your vendor for updates.

Once you've got everything set up, you want to ensure you have the best experience possible for those viewing your demos. Here are five tips to supercharge your demos:

1. Don't forget to install Integration Services on your virtual machines as this will give a big performance boost to them plus some user interface enhancements.

2. Configure your virtual machines so that you must manually start them up. Don't configure them to start automatically when you boot your laptop as that can lead to a slow wait to get your demo going.

3. Try using Windows XP video drivers instead of Windows Vista drivers—you may actually get smoother video performance in your Hyper-V environment.

4. Use Remote Desktop Connection instead of the Virtual Machine Connection tool to connect to the remote desktop of your virtual machines—you'll find it's a better experience.

5. If your laptop has a bay that supports adding a second internal hard drive, use it—putting your virtual machines on a separate spindle will significantly improve their performance.

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