The different types of virtualisation

Mike Halsey MVP
Jun 30, 2011
Updated • Jan 1, 2013

Yesterday I wrote about new Type-0 hypervisors and how they're set to make a bit impact, not just for businesses with huge server farms, but also how that is going to filter down onto the desktop of home computers, perhaps as early as next year.  But what it a Type-0 hypervisor, indeed what are the Type-1 and Type-2 virtualisation I was talking about.  I thought I'd follow that article up with a quick guide for you.

Virtualisation, first of all, is the process of running an operating system on a computer that isn't natively installed there.  The whole OS is instead installed inside a file called a Virtual Machine (VM).  This file is comparable to a ZIP file on your compter in some ways, in fact this is probably the most useful analogy.

The contents of a VM aren't compressed as those in a ZIP file are, but what you have is a single file, say one called Win7Ult.VM for the sake of argument, that contains within it an entire copy of Windows 7 and additional installed software, with all the file and folder structures intact.

apple boot camp The idea is that you can do one of three things with a VM.  In its simplest terms, best epitomised by Microsoft's Virtual PC software or Parallels for the Mac, you can run a second operating system on your computer that resides in a window on your standard desktop.  In the second scenario you can boot from one of these virtual machines.  In this case it will appear that you're running a full operating system that's installed on your computer in the normal way.  Instead what you're really doing though is running the VM from within it's single data file.

Finally, and this is the most common usage now in servers, you can run virtualisation management packages, such as Microsoft's new Hyper-V in Windows Server 2008, that allows several virtual machines to be run concurrently, each one as if it had been booted from, and each one with it's own unique processor core and reserved memory.

This is the most common usage for virtualisation at the moment and it permits one server to perform multiple tasks.  It can be, to cite an example, a file server, an email server, a printer server and a web server simultaneously.  There's more than enough power in modern computers and processors to do all of this without breaking a sweat, so why just have a server run one of these tasks, when it can perform multiple ones simultaneously.

This brings me on to the different types of virtualisation.  For very first, Type-2 is best associated with Microsoft's Virtual PC.  This type essentially runs in an emulator.  This emulator pretends to be a computer, with its own processor, memory and such.  Instead, none of that hardware actually exists.  It's all virtual and the emulator interprets commands and sends the traffic back and forth with your real hardware.

This isn't very useful for many tasks as it is quite limited and won't easily give a virtualised OS access to hardware such as graphics cards, USB devices and printers.

This is where Type-1 virtualisation comes into play.  This type has full access to much of your computers hardware, including peripheral devices.  With Type-1 virtualisation though there is a driver which loads the virtual hard disk (VHD) but the virtual machine has full access to other hardware including the memory and processor.  Examples of Type-1 virtualisation are XP Mode in Windows 7 and Boot Camp on the Mac.  In the case of the latter, Type-1 virtualisation is required because the Mac uses a very different BIOS system to Windows.  Thus a driver is required to interpret traditional PC BIOS calls and translate them for the platform they're actually using.

Type-0 virtualisation is not available in many products but Windows Server 2008's Hyper-V (which is rumoured to also be making an appearance in some editions of Windows 8) is perhaps the best known example.  This type of virtualisation does away with the need for any interpretation layer between the hardware and the VM.  It won't work on every piece of hardware, for instance the Mac will always need a Type-1 interface for the reasons I explained earlier.  On Server systems though, and other computer systems where each VM is tailored for that specific hardware it the option that will provide the best performance and the lowest power consumption.

The world is now moving towards Type-0 virtualisation because the lack of any additional layers between the OS and the hardware will mean there's less for the computer to do.  This makes everything more efficient.  Type-2 VMs are now hardly seen and, with Type-1 VMs having made it to our desktops some years ago now, the future for virtualisation is looking very good indeed.


Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

  10. Anonymous said on September 28, 2023 at 8:19 am

    When will you put an end to the mess in the comments?

  11. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 9:36 am

    Ghacks comments have been broken for too long. What article did you see this comment on? Reply below. If we get to 20 different articles we should all stop using the site in protest.

    I posted this on [] so please reply if you see it on a different article.

    1. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 11:01 am

      Comment redirected me to [] which seems to be the ‘real’ article it is attached to

  12. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 10:48 am

    Comment redirected me to [] which seems to be the ‘real’ article it is attached to

  13. Mystique said on September 28, 2023 at 12:13 pm

    Article Title: Reddit enforces user activity tracking on site to push advertising revenue
    Article URL:

    No surprises here. This is just the beginning really. I cannot see a valid reason as to why anyone would continue to use the platform anymore when there are enough alternatives fill that void.

  14. justputthispostanywhere said on September 29, 2023 at 3:59 am

    I’m not sure if there is a point in commenting given that comments seem to appear under random posts now, but I’ll try… this comment is for

    My temporary “solution”, if you can call it that, is to use a VPN (Mullvad in my case) to sign up for and access Reddit via a European connection. I’m doing that with pretty much everything now, at least until the rest of the world catches up with GDPR. I don’t think GDPR is a magical privacy solution but it’s at least a first step.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.