How to install Windows 8 Consumer Preview in a virtual machine (VMware Workstation)

Install Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Step-by-step how to install Windows 8 Consumer Preview using VMware Workstation 8.

So Windows 8 Consumer Preview has been released and now is ready for download. This new version of the upcoming operating system from Microsoft will give everyone a chance to get a glimpse of a more stable version. 

Will users who tested Windows 8 Developer Preview see major changes? Probably not, but they will notice tones of fixes and improvements under the hood and in the user interface (over 100,000 changes). The “wow!” is only to come to those users that are going to try Windows 8 for the first time.

But you need to keep in mind that this is an unfinished product, there still a lot of work to be done and there is a good chance that things can go wrong, so the most effective way to test Windows 8 is by creating a virtual machine (VM). Many people may have found different ways to install this version of Windows, but I wanted to share the way it worked for me.


Before getting our hands dirty, I tried this installation on a dual-core AMD CPU, with 4GB of RAM and with Windows 7 running as the main OS. For the virtual machine, I allocated two of the CPU’s cores and about 1.4GB of RAM. The ISO image I used was the Windows 8 32-bit version number 6.2.8250 (a.k.a build 8250).

If you didn’t get the Windows 8 Consumer Preview ISO image, just head over to this previous article and grab the link to download a copy of your choice — this time around Microsoft added some additional languages compare to the Developer Preview.

Note: VMware Workstation a paid software, you can get a copy from this link — VMware Workstation 8.

Alright, now that you have the appropriate environment to install Windows, let’s go through the creation of the actual virtual machine, we have many NEXT buttons to go through.

Important: You’re going to need the product key to install this version of Windows 8. But don’t worry you can get them here.

1.  Open VMware Workstation 8, go to File and select New Virtual Machine.

VMware Workstation 8 - Create new virtual machine (Windows 8)

2.  In the welcome to the New Virtual Machine wizard, leave the defaults and click Next.

3.  In Guest Operating System Installation, select Installer disc image file (iso), click Browse, and locate the Windows 8 Consumer Preview ISO, then click Next.

VMware Workstation 8 - Installer disc image file ISO - Windows 8 Consumer Preview

4.  Select the guest operating system, in this case what you want is: Microsoft Windows and version Windows 7. Then click Next.

VMware Workstation 8 - Select operating system

5.  You can enter the Windows product key and the Personalize Windows information now or later. For this example, I am just going to skip this step and click Next. Then name your Windows 8 virtual machine with a descriptive name, choose the storage location, and click Next.

VMware Workstation 8 - Name your Windows 8 virtual machine

6. Specify how many CPU cores you want to use for this installation (this option always is going to depend on your hardware configuration), and then click Next.

VMware Workstation 8 processors - Windows 8 Consumer Preview

7. Specify the amount of RAM for the virtual machine, make it at least 1GB, and then click Next.

VMware Workstation 8 - Windows 8 Consumer Preview RAM

8. Choose how to connect to the network — I always use the option Use bridged networking , then click Next.

VMware Workstation 8 - Windows 8 Consumer Preview: Network Type

9. In the following 3 steps Select I/) Controller Types, Select a Disk, and Select a Disk Type, leave the defaults and click Next.

10.  Specify the disk capacity, Windows 8 Consumer Preview requires a minimum of 16GB of free space for the 32-bit version, so to be safe set the disk size to 20GB, which is the minimum requirement for the 64-bit version,, select Store virtual disk as a single file, and click Next. — the final installation only used 7.9GB in my installation, this is insanely awesome!

Windows 8 VM disk capacity in VMware

11. Save the virtual machine in a new location — you may find that saving the virtual machine in another hard drive will boost performance –, and click Next.

12.  Now click Finish in the VMware virtual machine wizard. The new VM is created and should start.

If everything went accordingly, you will have a functional Windows 8 Consumer Preview installation virtual machine using VMware.

Windows 8 Consumer Preview - Windows Setup

To finish the Windows Setup, head over: Walkthrough Windows 8 Consumer Preview installation (Windows Setup) step-by-step

Important: Make sure that after the installation, you’ll need to install the VMware tools as well. To do that go to VM from the file menu and select Install VMware Tools. If the installation doesn’t start, just go to Computer and double-click the drive with with VMware Tools.

Other notes

Windows 8 Consumer Preview has just been released, remember that this is the beta version of the operating system, and there still a lot of work to be done from Microsoft and from hardware manufactures and software vendors. 

Be the first and let us know if you had any issues installing ‘Consumer Preview’ in the comments below or just tell us what you think about Windows 8.

Useful Links

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows expert and the Editor-in-Chief who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He's also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 12 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows, software, and related technologies, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ & Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, and LinkedIn.