How To Install Windows 8 on Virtualbox

Install Windows 8 as a VirtualBox VM is a great option if you’re looking to test things out before jumping 100% into VM. Here’s how it works.

How to install windows 8 virtual machine using VirtualBox

If you don’t have a free Tablet from the Microsoft Build event, installing Windows 8 in a virtual environment is probably a good idea especially if you don’t have a spare tablet or PC lying around.  The first step is to download a copy of Virtual Box and getting it installed. The install is very straight forward so I won’t review the step-by-step on that.  From there, go download Windows 8 and copy the .iso file somewhere you won’t lose it because you will need it in just a few minutes.

Note: This was written during the launch of Windows 8 Developer Preview. You can run Windows 8 Consumer Preview on VirtualBox too. The steps are essentially the same.

Ok ready to get started?

Before we begin

In order to run a Windows 8 VM, your CPU must have built-in hardware-assisted virtualization technology.  For Intel this is VT-x and AMD it’s called AMD-V.  To test your CPU, download the Microsoft Virtualization Detection Tool and scan your system.

The first time I ran the tool, my system reported that it didn’t support VT-x.  Fortunatly I found a new BIOS upgrade for my mothboard which added the support to my system.  After updating the system with the new BIOS, enabling the VT-x support in my bios settings and rebooting, I was good to go with the How-To below.

How To Install a Windows 8 Virtual Machine using VirtualBox

First, Launch VirtualBox and Click New from the VirtualBox Manager Console.

VirtualBox settings windows 8

Click Next

VirtualBox Wizard windows 8

Give your Virtual Machine (VM) a name, Change the OS to Microsoft Windows and the Version to Windows 7.

Note – Don’t worry about x64 etc… be sure to choose Windows 7 for your OS Version or the install will die later on…

VirtualBox choose os windows 8

Assign your Windows 8 VM some memory.  My recommendation is at least 2Gigs / 2048MB as shown below.  More is always better however for a VM, less is probably OK.  Just don’t go under 1GB / 1024MB.

VirtualBox choose memory windows 8

As a new machine, leave the Hard Disk settings at defaultClick Next

VirtualBox setup hard disk size windows 8

Click Next

VirtualBox choose virtual box disk image type windows 8

For this next setting, 99% of you should choose Dynamically allocated.  If however you want… 5-15% more performance, choose Fixed Size.  Personally, I use Dynamic for everything but Virtual Servers.

Note – If you choose Fixed size, your Virtual Hard disk will expand to the full size at install vs. dynamically expanding over time.  That’s a lot of wasted space if you ask me…  Drop a note in the comments if your confused.

VirtualBox dynamic or fixed? windows 8

Choose the size of your Virtual Hard Disk size.  The default is 20GB however if you chose Dynamic above, I would recommend nothing smaller than 40GB.

VirtualBox disk size config windows 8

Verify your settings and Click Create.

VirtualBox summary Vm windows 8


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  1. Onamac

    Works fine for me, except I can’t get Metro to
    work as expected. If I move my mouse pointer
    over to the right side of the screen, the sidebar
    never slides out. If I select a tile like say “weather,”
    the weather app runs, but I can never get back to
    the “start” screen because I can’t get the sidebar
    to pop out. Any ideas? (this is on OSX)
    Maybe something to do with screen size, but I
    can’t install guest additions, and I am seeing the
    edge of the screen(based on desktop view.)

  2. Onamac

    OK, found Charms(hover mouse in lower left), and Win I(right Apple I)
    That solves my problems. But I still thought hover on right side
    would bring out the sidebar.

  3. dlearner

    Dude !! You rock :) Good work.. I was getting an error that “Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause.” but that was corrected after I enabled those options you told me..

    Thank you :)

  4. Chaitanya

    your post is very clear and explanatory. I have a quick question. I ended up with this error which you mentioned above.

    “”Click the Acceleration Tab and Check the box Enable VT-x/AMD-V if not already selected. If these boxes are greyed out… You’re in trouble. Your CPU does not support hardware virtualization which means you might as well stop.””

    Acceleration tab is grayed out. So what does that actually mean? Do I have any other option to run win8 on my system? or cant I?

    • MrGroove

      Bummer…. OK, basically what that means is your Intel or AMD CPU Processor is probably a little older and does not support built-in virtualization support on your CPU.

      All is not lost however. 6 months ago when I first got my laptop, the VT support on my Intel processor was disabled in my BIOS. Once I enabled it, everything was groovy. So reboot your PC and take a look in your BIOS. You might get lucky and find it’s just been disabled.

      Option 2 – continue with the how-to and see if it lets you continue with the install. I’ve been doing more reading and it appears….. you might be able to install (I can’t test this unfortunately) the VM anyway using VirtualBox however things will be a little slow. Some are saying the limitation of not have VT technology is only going to impact you once you install Windows 8 on your machine THEN try to install Hyper-V on it.

      Honestly, if you should test this and report back here, that would be great! I’ve been wanting to find a way to test this out.

      Let me know!


  5. Chaitanya

    Thanks man for the quick reply.
    Yeah even I came to know the same things which you mentioned now in my research.
    I guess my intel processor does not support virtualization support. I even checked in BIOS but it is of no use, coz i dint find any option like that.

    Then I searched in some other forums and came to know that VMware will not give us any probs regdn virtualization. It takes care of everything by itself. So finally got windows 8 running in VM Work station.

    PS: All editions of VMware are not capabale of handling Win8. Only VM workstation 8.0 has that capacity. But it is damn slow. I dont know if it is due to my system config or anything else. More over VM 8.0 is is just 30day free trial or 99USD. So looking for some other way out.

    Thinking to directly upgrade my win7 to win8.

  6. Shockersh

    Instructions works flawless. I never knew Oracle made virtualbox. Funny. That must make Microsoft pretty happy hehehe

    One problem however, when I try to run things like the Weather App inside the Windows 8 metro start desktop, it won’t start. Neither will stocks or news etc….

    Any ideas? Just cant get them to start or run. Control Panel and IE work fine tho…???

  7. Phillip Krause

    Great Job Steve,

    Running Windows 8 Developer Preview in a virtual environment

    • Hyper-V in Windows 8 Developer Preview
    • Hyper-V in Windows Server 2008 R2
    • VMware Workstation 8.0 for Windows
    • VirtualBox 4.1.2 for Windows

    • Microsoft Virtual PC (all versions)
    • Microsoft Virtual Server (all versions)
    • Windows 7 XP Mode
    • VMWare Workstation 7.x or older

    • MrGroove

      Thanks Phillip!

      Have you tested Windows 8 on Hyper-V yet? How did it run? I’ve heard some ppl were having problems with it which I can’t understand…

  8. Juan

    Awesome directions…making Microsoft proud!

    • Steve Krause

      @534985385024a419e05e1bc002b591b5:disqus Thnx and Welcome to groovyPost. Spread the word about my blog :) :)

  9. Greg

    Thanks man, I was getting an error before I changed the settings you recommended. Helped a bunch!

    • Steve Krause

      @0ee4548c7204def328e9665f7da1a508:disqus Awesome! I’m glad it worked out for ya!

  10. Arturo Araya


    Thanks for your instructions, they are very good. Unfortunately I’m hitting a roadblock on this one. I’ve followed each of the steps but no matter what I try the installer hangs while “Expanding Windows files”. I have tried this with 2 separate iso images and the same thing happens. The installer proceeds normally until it reaches 76%, or 77%, occasionally 79%. Then it just sits there indefinitely, hard drive spun down doing nothing. The most recent time I received the error message “Windows cannot install required files. Make sure all files required for installation are available, and restart the installation. Error code: 0x8007045D”.

    I’m not sure if you’ve run into this, or know how to fix it but I’ve run out of ideas.

    Thanks again!

    • Steve Krause

      @d7f47c7b3707e2b6b516fced68768bbf:disqus how much drive space do you have? Make sure you have enough disk space for the install.

      Also, when you create the Virtual Hard drive files, make sure you’re making it large enough. 40 Gigs (GIGS Not Megs) should be plenty.

  11. Alexander Johansson

    Hello guys.

    i did as this guide say. and i got lost of one problem with the VT-x/AMD-v.
    but now i get a new problem that tells me this:

    64-bit: my computer doesnt have a 64-bit processor, but i have it.
    your computer needs to restart
    please hold down the power buttom
    Error code: 0x0000000A

    • Gilles RIAND

      Alexander, I’ve got the same Error.

      • Alexander Johansson

        good someone els got it

    • Steve Krause

      Hi @a9f919dae025a3b4ea60928c67145946:disqus Did you run the Intel VT Tool to check to see if your CPU supports x64 and the Intel VT settings?

      BTW – Sorry for the late response….

  12. Alexander Johansson

    did you solve the problem?

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