How can I check if my laptop CPU has the capability to run Virtualisation?

That depends on what context you mean, lik Xen or quemu? If you mean virtualbox, vmware etc, then it will work with any cpu. If it’s only 32bit then you can only run 32bit virtual machines, 64bit can run either.

You can also check you system BIOS to enable it, if it’s an option, else check the output from the lscpu command, eg on this machine;


Architecture:          x86_64
CPU op-mode(s):        32-bit, 64-bit
Byte Order:            Little Endian
CPU(s):                2
On-line CPU(s) list:   0,1
Thread(s) per core:    1
Core(s) per socket:    2
Socket(s):             1
NUMA node(s):          1
Vendor ID:             AuthenticAMD
CPU family:            16
Model:                 6
Stepping:              3
CPU MHz:               2300.000
BogoMIPS:              4588.52
Virtualization:        AMD-V
L1d cache:             64K
L1i cache:             64K
L2 cache:              512K
NUMA node0 CPU(s):     0,1

The lscpu command Malcom describes is excellent to verify your machine is configured and “ready to go.” If “virtualization” doesn’t list AMD or VT-x, then you either need to enable if your CPU supports (and BIOS also, am disappointed for example that I had to junk a Toshiba because the CPU supported but Toshiba refused to enable in BIOS).

As for what types of virtualization you can run,

If lscpu does not return a CPU with virt extensions enabled, then ordinarily you can run “full emulation” using QEMU, but it’s supposed to be slower than paravirtualization which requires the CPU extensions. You might be able to run LXC (Linux Containers) which simply runs Guest processes in the same space as the Host.

If your CPU supports paravirtualization,
Then you can run any modern virtualization technology, including VMware, Virtualbox, KVM, Xen, (even Hyper-V if you’re running Windows).


VMware and VirtualBox both do work without hardware virtualization support.
But VirtualBox is limited to 32bit guests then. VMware can run 64bit guests even without AMD-V/VT-x (at least if you have a 64bit CPU).