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How To Install Windows 8 On VirtualBox

So you downloaded Windows 8 and now want to try it out on VirtualBox but are constantly getting errors? You are not alone. Installing Windows 8 on VirtualBox is tricky but not that hard once you get to know the basics. In this guide, we will explain the step by step procedure to installing Windows 8 on VirtualBox 4.1.2 (which is the latest version). Advanced users might want to skip the first few steps and directly go to settings.

This guide is a part of our detailed coverage of Windows 8’s new features and improvements.

  1. How To Install Windows 8 On VirtualBox (Currently Viewing)
  2. What’s New In Windows 8 Desktop, Start Search, And Start Menu
  3. The Complete Guide To Windows 8 Explorer, New Ribbon Tools And Options
  4. The Complete Guide To Windows 8 Task Manager, New Features And Options
  5. Windows 8 PC Settings [Complete Guide]
  6. How To Refresh Or Reset Your Windows 8 PC [Complete Guide]
  7. All About Windows 8 FileName Collisions And Copy/Move Dialog Box
  8. The Complete Guide To Windows 8 Startup Menu
  9. Sync Windows 8 User Settings Between PCs & Tablets via Windows Live ID
  10. Quick Overview Of Windows Lock Screen
  11. The Complete Guide To Windows 8 File History Backup 

Important Note: Before we begin, make sure your processor supports Virtualization Technology and is enabled. Windows 8 will not work if your processor does not support Virtualization Technology. Most processors support Virtualization Technology but the option is not enabled by default. You can enable Virtualization Technology option from the BIOS. Now let’s begin!

First grab VirtualBox (link given at the bottom of the post) and install it. You will get few Oracle permission pop-ups where you have to click Allow. Once installed, launch VirtualBox and click New. The New Virtual Machine wizard will open up, click Next.

create new virtual machine

Type the name of the Virtual Machine, we named it Windows 8, select Microsoft Windows as Operating system, and select Windows 7 as version. Important Note: Even if you are running VirtualBox on Windows 7 x64, you still have to select Windows 7 from version. Do not continue if Windows 7 (64-bit) is selected, otherwise VirtualBox will crash. When done, click Next.

Create new virtual machine name

We will recommend allocating at least 1GB memory if you are installing Windows 8 32-bit, and at least 3GB memory if you are installing Windows 8 64-bit. I have allocated almost 4GB of RAM as you can see in the screenshot below. When done, click Next.

create new virtual memory

VirtualBox provides options to either create a new hard disk or use an existing hard disk as a Start-up Disk. By default, it is set to Create new hard disk. Leave it as it is and click next.

create new virtual hard disk

In this step, make sure VDI is selected. VDI stands for VirtualBox Disk Image. Click Next.

VDI Virtual Box Disk Image

In this step, select Fixed size or Dynamically allocated based on your needs, so that it does not eat up more virtual disk as allocated by the user. We selected Fixed size but most users prefer Dynamically allocated.

virtual disk storage details

By default, VirtualBox allocates 20GB hard disk space for new machine. You can increase or decrease this amount. We would strongly recommend not to allocated less than 20GB. When done, click Next.

set virtual hard disk size

In the last step, you will be given a quick summary of the settings you have selected. Click Create to begin creating virtual disk file.

sumary virtual disk

It will take anywhere from 5 minutes to 30 minutes to create a virtual disk space, i.e, a fixed medium storage unit. Please note that it can take more than 30 minutes if you have allocated more than 20GB hard disk space for new machine.

creating fixed medium storage

Once the process is complete, in the final step, click Create and you will be taken to the main interface where the Virtual machine will be ready.

windows 8 virtual box main

Now go to Settings, click System from left sidebar, and make sure that Enable IO APIC is checked in Motherboard tab. You can uncheck Enable absolute pointing device since it is not used by most users.

Virtual settings

When done, move to Processor tab and make sure that Enable PAE/NX is checked.

virtual processor settings

Finally move to Acceleration tab and make sure both Enable VT-x/AMD-V and Enable Nested Paging are checked.

virtual acceleration settings

Checking all these settings are important, otherwise Windows 8 will not install on VirtualBox.

Now go to Storage from the left sidebar and click Empty under IDE Controller. Click the CD icon next to CD/DVD Drive selection box and click Choose a virtual CD/DVD disk file. Now navigate to the Windows 8 developer build ISO file that you downloaded and select it. When done, click OK.

select virtual disk file

You will now be back on the main interface. Click Start to begin installation of Windows 8 and follow the on-screen instructions.

windows 8 virtual box

After the installation is complete, you can start using Windows 8.

Windows 8 on virtual box

The next time you run Windows 8 virtual machine inside VirtualBox, it will boot straight to the OS. We tested this on VirtualBox 4.1.2 running in Windows 7 x64 system.

Visit VirtualBox

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