How To Install Windows 8 on a Virtual Machine

Now that Microsoft released Windows 8 Developer Preview build officially this Tuesday, want to see and test all new features right from your machine without disturbing existing operating system? Read on..

Interesting part about Windows 8 is that Microsoft is foreseeing an OS that scales right from small form factors, tablets and all the way to big servers. Major updates in this new operating system include Tablet Optimization, Picture Password, New Start Screen with ‘Tile’ (apps), Metro UI, Charms, IE 10.




In order to test out Windows 8 Dev Preview in a virtual machine, I tried installing it in Microsoft’s Windows Virtual PC and as well as VMWare. Unfortunately, installation failed in both virtualization technologies with random blue screen errors. And here is the screenshot of all new re-imagined version of blue screen in Widows 8.

Windows 8 BSOD


Even I tried installing on Oracle’s Virtual Box with default settings. It failed in that too. Finally, after tweaking some settings in Virtual Box, I was able to install and run Windows 8 Developer Preview 32 bit version on my laptop with host operating system running Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit.

Before starting out following steps, make sure your PC supports hardware virtualization and enabled in BIOS (most of the PCs come preloaded with this option disabled in BIOS). Also, I would recommend you to allocate at least 1.5 GB of RAM to the virtual machine.


  1. Download and install VirtualBox (its free!) from here
  2. Download Windows 8 Developer Preview (pick either 32 bit or 64 bit or both) from MSDN. I have tested 32 bit Developer Preview (2.8 GB) for this tutorial
  3. VirtualBox installation is pretty much easy and after that, create a new VM
  4. In the step by step wizard, select Windows 7 as OS type, allocate 1.5 GB of RAM and desired HDD space
  5. Once the VM is created, click ‘Settings’ of this newly created VM and modify following settings
  6. Under System, in the Motherboard tab, check Enable IO APIC and make sure chipset is selected to PIIX3
  7. In the Processor tab under the same System, check Enable PAE/NX
  8. If  you want, you can enable 2D acceleration and other video settings under Display and try out after installation is completed
  9. Once  you start the VM, it asks you to point to the Windows 8 ISO location downloaded in step 2
  10. The process is all same even if you are running on a Mac (of course, I mean host operating system)



Enjoy Windows 8 and discover all new features in it. Finally, here is a quick tip – if you want to disable the Metro UI, go to the registry settings in your Windows 8 and change the value of RPEnabled from 1 to 0 under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer

New Task Manager –



Leave a comment below if you face any issues in installing and configuring.