Windows 8 is Microsoft’s upcoming operating system. If you want to try out this new OS, then you can download and try out the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. At this time, its not recommended to install and use this as a primary OS, since its still in beta phase. A good idea to try out Windows 8 is to install it using Oracle VirtualBox. Once you know the basics, the process is not that complex as it seems. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll explain the procedure to install Windows 8 on VirtualBox 4.1.8. Each and every step is explained clearly with screenshots. Click on the screenshots to enlarge.
Before proceeding further, make sure that your processor supports Virtualization technology. Most new processors support this feature and is enabled by default. You can check this setting from BIOS or enable and disable it from there.
How to Install Windows 8 on VirtualBox
First things first. Download and install VirtualBox. You’ll get permission related pop-ups where you have to click on “Allow”. Once installed, click on the shortcut of Oracle VM VirtualBox from the desktop. Click on the New button from this screen. This will start create a new Virtual Machine wizard. Click on Next.
Type the name of the new Virtual Machine. In the screenshot you can see that we have named it as Windows 8, select Microsoft Windows as Operating system, and select Windows 7 as version. If you’re using Windows 7 64-bit, then also you need to select just Windows 7. Click on Next.
In this step, you need to allocate the memory to the new Virtual Machine. If you’re installing Windows 8 32-bit, then allocate at least 2GB memory and if you’re installing Windows 8 64-bit then allocate at least 3GB memory. Don’t allocate the full memory that your system have, else your system will run slow. That’s because the host and guest OS, both require memory (RAM). When done, click on Next.
From this screen, you can either create a new virtual disk or use an existing hard disk as a start-up disk. By default, create a new hard disk option is checked. Click on Next by leaving the default option as it is.
By default, VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image) is selected. Leave the option as it is and click on Next.
In this step you need to select whether the new virtual disk file should be allocated as it is used or if it should be fully allocated. Select “Dynamically allocated” if you don’t want to eat up more virtual disk space or select “Fixed size” if you want to fix the size of this new disk. We have selected fixed size. Click on Next.
VirtualBox allocates 20GB disk space for the new machine. You can increase or decrease this hard disk space depending on your needs. Do not allocate less than 20GB space. Click on Next.
This is the last step. You will be presented with a summary of the settings that you have selected. If you think that these settings are correct, then click on “Create” to begin creating a new virtual disk file.
VirtualBox will start creating a fixed medium storage unit. This process will take 5-20 minutes to complete depending on the hard disk space that you have allocated for the new machine.
Once the process is complete, you’ll be presented with a final screen which will display virtual machine parameters. If the displayed information is correct, click on Create.
Now you will be presented with the main interface of VirtualBox. Its time to do some settings before installing Windows 8. Do not skip this part as it is very important phase for installing Windows 8.
Click on settings button. Click on “System” from the left sidebar and check mark Enable IO APIC from Motherboard tab.
Now move to the “Processor” tab and check mark Enable PAE/NX.
Finally click on the third tab, that is “Acceleration”. Make sure Enable VT-x/AMD-V and Enable Nested Paging are checked.
Click on Storage from the left sidebar and then on “Empty” under IDE Controller. From the CD/DVD drive drop-down box, click on Choose a virtual CD/DVD disk file. Browse to the downloaded Windows 8 ISO file that you have downloaded and select it. Click on OK.
Windows 8 will auto-run. The installation process will start and now you have to just follow the on-screen instructions to install Windows 8.
After the installation process is complete, you can start using your brand new Windows 8. Welcome to a whole new world.
To shut down Windows 8, press Win + I to bring the Charms menu. Click on “Power” button and then you can see the options to shutdown, restart and sleep.
Next time when you want to run Windows 8, open VirtualBox, click on “start” button and the OS will start loading. This tutorial is created on Windows 7 64-bit running VirtualBox 4.1.8.