Thursday, 29 March 2012

Installing Windows 8 using VirtualBox by Oracle

Unless you've been living under a rock you'll have heard the buzz regarding Windows 8, the new operating system coming out from Microsoft that attempts to ditch the usual start menu/desktop and use the Metro interface as seen on Windows Mobile and the Zune.

They've recently released the consumer preview so that you can give it a go and see what you think of the new operating system, however for obvious reasons you might not be willing to upgrade your entire computer to the new OS, so how to try this out?

A simple solution that I've been using is to use Oracle Virtual Box, this sets up a 'Virtual Computer' this keeps the new OS completely separate from your environment and is easy to remove too, and with just a few tweaks is relatively easy to set-up:

1. First of all you'll need to download the Windows 8 Consumer Preview - head over to and download the iso file for the version of Windows you have on your machine (either 64 or 32bit, you can check this my right clicking Computer and choosing properties).

2. Next up head over to the Virtual Box web site and download and install the latest version.

3. Open up VirtualBox, and choose New > Next to open the Create New Virtual Machine wizard.
You’ll be prompted to give the Virtual Machine a name, Windows 8 or Win 8 Consumer Preview would be two of the obvious choices! And from the drop down boxes choose Microsoft Windows as the Operating System and Windows 8 or Windows 8 64 Bit depending on which you are installing.

4. Click Next, and using the slider choose how much RAM you would like to allocate, a recommended guide would be 1024mb for the 32 bit version of 2048 for the 64 bit version.

5. The next three screens have default options that are perfectly acceptable, so choose next through these (these are for the Hard Disk, Default VDI format and Dynamically Allocated).

6. Next you choose the hard drive space you’d like to allocate, at least 16Gb for the 32 bit version of 20Gb for the 64 bit version.

7. Now Click Create – Your Virtual Machine is now installed, but we’re not finished just yet – it’s time to set-up Windows!

8. After selecting your VM, go to Settings and Storage, click the disk icon and select ‘Choose a Virtual CD/DVD disk file’ and point to the ISO File that you downloaded earlier (with the Windows 8 installation).

9. Next up choose System in the list on the left, and click the Processor Tab, ensure that Enable PAE/NX’ is ticked and Click OK.

10. That’s it! Just click Start and this will load up your Virtual Machine, the first time you start this you will go through the Windows 8 set-up, so just follow the dialogues as they appear on screen, but  you can now have a play with Windows 8 to your hearts content and it’s all separate from your main computers environment. Enjoy!