After about a seven-month delay, Microsoft finally published the free Hyper-V Server 2019. As usual, the new version benefits from some innovations of the full product as well as add-ons for Windows Server. These include the Admin Center and Core App Compatibility, which allows Microsoft Management Console (MMC) execution.

Since the hypervisor innovations in Server 2019 were relatively few, the free Hyper-V Server core functions have seen hardly any improvements. One of them are shielded virtual machines (VMs) for Linux. In addition, updating to VM configuration version 9.0 achieves some improvements, including hibernation support.

Not the latest VM configuration version

However, Microsoft did not use the long break between releasing Windows Server 2019 and Hyper-V Server 2019 to update the latter's virtual hardware support. This command displays 9.0 as the maximum version:

Hyper V Server supports a maximum VM configuration version of 9.0

Hyper V Server supports a maximum VM configuration version of 9.0

The recently released Server 1903 in the semi-annual channel and the Windows 10 May update already support VM configuration 9.1. Therefore, this command results in an error on Hyper-V Server 2019:

New-VM -Name MyVM -Version 9.1

However, the minor update to VM version 9.1 does not include any new features. In addition, the risk of compatibility problems is low because virtual hardware 9.0 is still the default for the two latest OS versions.

General improvements to Windows Server

As with version 2016, which had significantly more new features, Hyper-V Server 2019 also benefits from several general improvements in Windows Server. These include, for example, Microsoft now also supporting data deduplication with Resilient File System (ReFS).

In addition, there are some improvements in the cluster feature, such as cross-domain cluster migration. This allows moving server clusters between domains in Active Directory (AD). Another new feature is the option to use a file share witness on a machine that is not an AD member.

MMC-based admin tools in the console

Essentially, Hyper-V Server is Server Core reduced to the role of Hyper-V. Thus, it benefits from an innovation Microsoft introduced specifically for this installation option.

This new feature on demand (FOD) is Core App Compatibility, which allows executing additional GUI applications. Basically, Hyper-V Server also supports graphical programs without this FOD, but their number is very limited. These include some applets from the Control Panel, Task Manager, or Notepad.

Thanks to Core App Compatibility, you can execute various MMC snap ins in the console

Thanks to Core App Compatibility, you can execute various MMC snap ins in the console

Core App Compatibility significantly increases the number of graphical management tools admins can run in the console. This applies in particular to mmc.exe with a number of snap-ins, including those for Event Viewer, Disk Management, or Failover Cluster Management.

No Hyper-V Manager

However, Hyper-V Manager is missing, although it would be most needed on a virtualization host. A look into the %windir%\system32 directory shows that the required file virtmgmt.msc has not been installed.

You can use the Server Manager to add Hyper V tools, but Hyper V Manager is not available with it

You can use the Server Manager to add Hyper V tools, but Hyper V Manager is not available with it

By adding roles and features, you can install the hypervisor management tools with Server Manager, but these are limited to the PowerShell module.

Remote management with Admin Center

Thanks to Core App Compatibility, the management options for Hyper-V 2019 have been extended by adding local tools to the console. They complement remote management using Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) or PowerShell.

But that's not all. Windows Admin Center (WAC) is now also available, which did not exist when Hyper-V Manager 2016 appeared (nevertheless, it is now also manageable via WAC).

The browser-based tools offer all the essential functions for configuring the host, virtual switches, and VMs. They are particularly suitable for simple tasks such as changing VM power states because you can perform them from any computer without having to install any software. Other activities such as creating VMs are relatively cumbersome with the web tools.

Windows Admin Center 1906 allows importing, exporting, and tagging VMs

Windows Admin Center 1906 allows importing, exporting, and tagging VMs

In Preview 1906, WAC received additional Hyper-V management functions also available for Hyper-V Server 2019. These include VM importing and exporting, both of which are limited to local drives on the host.

Another new feature is the ability to tag VMs. Don't confuse this feature with the VM notes assignable in Hyper-V Manager.

Availability and installation

As usual, Microsoft provides Hyper-V Server 2019 as an .iso file for free download in the Evaluation Center. Due to the license conditions for Windows Server, the free Hyper-V Server's primary application is to provision virtual desktops or Linux in the VMs.

If you want to operate Windows Server in VMs, you must acquire the required virtualization rights via the Standard or Datacenter Edition, which also allow the bare-metal installation of the full operating system including the hypervisor.

While Microsoft supports an in-place upgrade from Server 2012 R2 or 2016 to 2019, this does not apply to Hyper-V servers.

Microsoft supports n + 2 in place upgrades for Windows Server

Microsoft supports n + 2 in place upgrades for Windows Server

Nevertheless, a direct upgrade has been popular in the past, especially in lab environments, because it saves some work. If you start the setup of version 2019 in Hyper-V 2016, you can run through all dialogs and get no indication of possible problems.

The setup of Hyper V Server 2019 will offer you an in place upgrade that, however, will fail

The setup of Hyper V Server 2019 will offer you an in place upgrade that, however, will fail

At the very end, the installation fails with this message:

0x80070490 - 0x2000e "The installation failed in the SAFE_OS phase with an error during SET_PRODUCT_KEY operation."

This does not seem to be strictly an upgrade problem but a bug of the sloppily adopted Windows setup for Hyper-V servers.

  1. Ricardo Vianna 4 years ago

    Could someone confirm that Hyper-V Server doesn't have DSC? I tried to run a (very simple) configuration and it gives me an error (somewhat like "PSDesiredStateConfiguration namespace not found")


    If this is true, I would really like to understand the motivation behind this: a console-oriented version of an OS which doesn't work with console-oriented tools


    (also, the lack of Hyper-V manager when other GUI tools where added in this version is really, really interesting — and makes someone think about Microsoft ideas about this product)


    I downloaded the latest HyperV Server 2019 image available at Microsoft evaluations page.

    • Chris Knight 3 years ago

      Nope, no DSC. No System Insights as well.

      I'd say Hyper-V Server is now just an afterthought, only there to satisfy the Free Hypervisor tickbox comparison when compared with VMWare offerings.

      • Leos Marek (Rank 4) 3 years ago

        I guess that if you use a free version, you cant expect everything… its the same with VMware, you cant od much with the hypervisor without vCenter, basically you can run VMs and create snapshots… no cluster with free ESXi, while you can create one with free Hyper-V…

        Honestly Im not sure why would someone want to use a full GUI hypervisor. I only user the core version and manage it remotely as usual.

  2. Pedro 2 years ago

    Does this version bring any improvement to the difficulties using free Hyper-V without a Windows domain? Having only a Workgroup set-up caused a notoriously difficult set-up of replication, for example.

    Is this version any better?

    • Leos Marek (Rank 4) 2 years ago

      I dont think there is any change in such case as replication. It has still the same requirements for authentication between the servers.

      Except from replication and VM move, I dont see any difficulty or limitations of having Hyper-V not in domain. 

  3. Federico 2 years ago

    Can i create a host cluster between 2 physical server running free Hyper-V Server 2019?

    Can i also use storage space direct? i've read that only datacenter edition can use  s2d 

    I'm planning to create an host 2 nodes cluster hosting some vm and a guest cluster… is it possible?


    Thank you

  4. Federico 2 years ago

    Thank you for your replay.

    Can I create a guest cluster without having a host cluster? I should have to make a sort of shared storage and I think can't create s2d at guest level..

    probably it sounds strange to you but in my actual configuration I have a lot of SAS HD 2.5" in raid mode an no ssd.

    I've just read in spec you link me that S2D needs SSD + HDD with no raid (or a raid pass-through and I don't know if mine can do this)

    Thank you

  5. Chris Knight 2 years ago

    For completeness, here's the output from Get-WindowsFeature on one of my Hyper-V Server 2019 installs, so you can see what features are available. As you can see, there's a huge cull from Standard/Datacenter Editions.

    Display Name                                                    Name                               Install State
    ------------                                                    ----                               -------------
    [X] File and Storage Services                                   FileAndStorage-Services                Installed
        [X] File and iSCSI Services                                 File-Services                          Installed
            [X] File Server                                         FS-FileServer                          Installed
        [X] Storage Services                                        Storage-Services                       Installed
    [X] Hyper-V                                                     Hyper-V                                Installed
    [ ] Remote Desktop Services                                     Remote-Desktop-Services                Available
    [X] .NET Framework 3.5 Features                                 NET-Framework-Features                 Installed
        [X] .NET Framework 3.5 (includes .NET 2.0 and 3.0)          NET-Framework-Core                     Installed
    [X] .NET Framework 4.7 Features                                 NET-Framework-45-Features              Installed
        [X] .NET Framework 4.7                                      NET-Framework-45-Core                  Installed
        [ ] ASP.NET 4.7                                             NET-Framework-45-ASPNET                Available
        [X] WCF Services                                            NET-WCF-Services45                     Installed
            [X] TCP Port Sharing                                    NET-WCF-TCP-PortSharing45              Installed
    [ ] Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS)              BITS                                   Available
        [ ] Compact Server                                          BITS-Compact-Server                    Available
    [ ] BitLocker Drive Encryption                                  BitLocker                              Available
    [ ] Data Center Bridging                                        Data-Center-Bridging                   Available
    [ ] Enhanced Storage                                            EnhancedStorage                        Available
    [ ] Failover Clustering                                         Failover-Clustering                    Available
    [ ] I/O Quality of Service                                      DiskIo-QoS                             Available
    [ ] Media Foundation                                            Server-Media-Foundation                Available
    [ ] Multipath I/O                                               Multipath-IO                           Available
    [ ] Remote Server Administration Tools                          RSAT                                   Available
        [ ] Feature Administration Tools                            RSAT-Feature-Tools                     Available
            [ ] BitLocker Drive Encryption Administration Utilities RSAT-Feature-Tools-BitLocker           Available
            [ ] DataCenterBridging LLDP Tools                       RSAT-DataCenterBridging-LLDP-Tools     Available
            [ ] Failover Clustering Tools                           RSAT-Clustering                        Available
                [ ] Failover Cluster Module for Windows PowerShell  RSAT-Clustering-PowerShell             Available
                [ ] Failover Cluster Automation Server              RSAT-Clustering-AutomationServer       Available
                [ ] Failover Cluster Command Interface              RSAT-Clustering-CmdInterface           Available
        [ ] Role Administration Tools                               RSAT-Role-Tools                        Available
            [ ] Hyper-V Management Tools                            RSAT-Hyper-V-Tools                     Available
                [ ] Hyper-V Module for Windows PowerShell           Hyper-V-PowerShell                     Available
    [ ] SMB 1.0/CIFS File Sharing Support                           FS-SMB1                                Available
        [ ] SMB 1.0/CIFS Client                                     FS-SMB1-CLIENT                         Available
        [ ] SMB 1.0/CIFS Server                                     FS-SMB1-SERVER                         Available
    [ ] SMB Bandwidth Limit                                         FS-SMBBW                               Available
    [ ] SNMP Service                                                SNMP-Service                           Available
        [ ] SNMP WMI Provider                                       SNMP-WMI-Provider                      Available
    [ ] Telnet Client                                               Telnet-Client                          Available
    [X] Windows Defender                                            Windows-Defender                       Installed
    [X] Windows PowerShell                                          PowerShellRoot                         Installed
        [X] Windows PowerShell 5.1                                  PowerShell                             Installed
        [X] Windows PowerShell 2.0 Engine                           PowerShell-V2                          Installed
    [ ] Windows Server Backup                                       Windows-Server-Backup                  Available
    [ ] Windows Standards-Based Storage Management                  WindowsStorageManagementService        Available
    [ ] Windows Subsystem for Linux                                 Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux      Available
    [X] WoW64 Support                                               WoW64-Support                          Installed

  6. Chris Knight 2 years ago

    It's also worth mentioning that you can install Server Core App Compatibility FOD on Hyper-V Server 2019. Instructions are here –

    This gives you MMC, Event Viewer, Performance Monitor, Resource Monitor, Device Manager, File Explorer, PowerShell ISE, Disk Management and Failover Cluster Manager (need to install Failover Clustering feature first). No Hyper-V Manager though – you'll need to use it or Windows Admin Center remotely. Otherwise you can use the Free or Pro version of ProHVM (

  7. Federico Mapelli 2 years ago

    I've just two server single host running free hyper-v 2019 and I'm using RSAT or WAC to manage them without any problem. One DC in any host, and most of the other services have HA integrated at applications layer. 

    Sure I want a thin system to use  resources for VMs.

    I haven't  any problem about these aspects. 

    My goal is to create a Host Hyper-v failover cluster without buy a SAN… so I try to figure me hot to do this goal.

    S2D works only with datacenter (core or guide installation) and it could be expensive… 2 datacenter license and I should have to change my configuration from several raid 5 15k hdd arrays  to HBA + SSD + SAS HDD.

    I think Solarwind VSAN is the cheapest option I try  (free or not free licenses). it seems less expensive than change hardware and buy datanceter license. As Chris Knight suggest.

    I'm on the right way?

    I've just read Chris Knight articles about Azure Stack HCI and certificate hardware, perhaps it can be another option

    Thank you for all of reply

    • Leos Marek (Rank 4) 2 years ago

      OK clear. This topic has been discussed dozens of times, see this Technet post. If you scroll down a bit you will find detailed answer from Taras Shved. I guess that StarWind is your good way to go.


  8. Alex 1 year ago

    I know this is an old post, but does free Hyper-V server 2019 support TPM?
    I can enable it on a newly created machine without any errors but I am unable to start any VMs with TPM enabled.

    Error is “The key protector could not be unwrapped”
    HostGuardingService-Client log shows the following error:
    “System.IO.FileNotFoundException: Could not find file ‘C:\Windows\system32\config\VSMIDK”

    Just wondering if anyone knows if this is also a limitation of the free Hyper-V server or if I messed up my configuration somehow.

  9. Federico 1 year ago

    Tpm work perfectly on Windows VM but can cause some problems on Linux.

    I get the same error when i move an existing vm to a new host or between cluster nodes. You have to use the same certificate key on all hosts. I Found different posts around about this problem.

    If you are using bitlocker in the vm + tpm, you could decrypt the disks on the vm runnimg, disable vTPM on the old host, move it to the new host and then enable vTPM and bitlocker

    Another Solution could be create a new vm and link the exisisting vhd file

    • Alex 1 year ago

      In my case it was all new VMs created on a single host so none of the typical cert/encryption issues apply.
      I solved my problem by enabling secure boot on the host. I wish Microsoft came up with a clearer error message for such a trivial config issue.

  10. morrion 2 months ago


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