Installing Windows 8 on VirtualBox

Date September 20, 2011

Windows 8 is scheduled to be the next workstation release of Windows, following the path of Windows 7, Vista, and XP before it. The developer preview became available the other day, and I just now got time to download and play with it. If you want to, you can pick it up here. It's free, and doesn't require registration.

Because I had a couple of problems getting it to work on my platform of choice (VirtualBox), I thought I'd do a write-up with some screen shots.

After you download the ISO, go to VirtualBox, and create a new VM:

On the next screen, enter whatever you want as the name of your new VM, select "Microsoft Windows" as the OS, and "Other Windows" as the version:

I gave my OS 2GB of RAM, but you can adjust this as you need. There are examples of it running with under 300MB of RAM. I think I'd only do that if you want to punish the system to see what it can take. Give it at least a GB just to get a baseline.

Create a new startup disk of whichever format you want. I also make mine dynamically sized (thin provisioned) so I have some diskspace left, but you don't have to. Basically, however you're used to making VMs is fine for this part. I gave the system disk 20GB (but since it's thin-provisioned, it'll only use what it needs).

Click "Create" at the end of the process to make the shiny new VM.

Before we fire it up, we've got to change some settings. First we'll add the ISO to the VM's CDROM by clicking storage:

Then in the Storage tree, click the empty CD-ROM icon, then on the far right, click the CD icon next to "IDE Secondary", then select "Choose a virtual CD/DVD disk file", then browse to the DVD ISO you downloaded from Microsoft, and select it.

Now, if you are like me, and start the VM right now, you'll have a problem. Namely this:

Status: 0xc0000225
Info: An unexpected error has occurred

Yep, that was unexpected.

If you research that error, you find that in Windows 7, you got that message when you used a RAM disk on a UEFI-enabled computer. Since Windows 8 is undoubtably using a RAM disk to install itself (because there's no ACTUAL disk available yet). So to fix that, we need to alter the VirtualBox settings.

Click on the Settings box:

Then under "Extended Features", make sure "Enable IO APIC" is enabled:

Now, if you were to boot up, it would install, but you would have no network connection. To fix that, lets change the virtualized network card. Click the "Network" box, like you did the "System" box above, then check the "Advanced" settings on Adapter 1.

Pull the dropdown menu on "Adaptor Type", and select "Intel PRO/1000 MT Desktop (82540EM)":

After that, boot up the VM, and you'll be installing Windows 8 in no time!