What’s the difference between Hyper-V, Virtual Machine Platform, Windows Hypervisor Platform

Here are the differences between the virtualization features on Windows 11 and when you should use each one.

Windows 11 virtualization features
Windows 11 virtualization features
  • “Hyper-V” is a hypervisor that allows you to create virtual machines. The “Virtual Machine Platform” is usually used for WSL, while the “Windows Hypervisor Platform” is used by other virtual platforms to connect with Hyper-V.

UPDATED 11/17/2023: When you have to enable virtualization on Windows 11 (or 10), you will find multiple options on the “Windows Features” page, including the “Hyper-V,” “Virtual Machine Platform,” and “Windows Hypervisor Platform,” which makes enabling the feature confusing.

Hyper-V vs. Virtual Machine Platform vs. Windows Hypervisor Platform

If you need help understanding these features, you should know that each component is completely different.

  • Hyper-V: This component adds the management tools and platform to create and run virtual machines on Windows 11.
  • Windows Hypervisor Platform: Enables the user-mode API components to allow third-party virtualization stacks and applications (Docker, VirtualBox, and QEMU) to connect and interact with Hyper-V.
  • Virtual Machine Platform: This component enables virtualization support to run virtual machines, and you must turn on this feature to use the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). In addition, the component can also help to create MSIX app packages for an MSI or App-V.

In other words, if you want to create virtual machines on Windows 11, you want to enable the Hyper-V option, and if you plan to set up WSL on your computer, you want to install the Virtual Machine Platform.

Update November 17, 2023: This content has been updated to ensure clarity.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and About.me. Email him at [email protected].