How to install Windows 8 Consumer Preview on VirtualBox [Virtual Machine]

VirtualBox Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Learn step-by-step how to install Windows 8 Consumer Preview on VirtualBox avoiding scary errors.

Even though Microsoft recommends to install Windows 8 Consumer Preview on a physical machine, many people only have one computer, the one they use everyday for work, email, browsing, banking, etc., and installing a pre-release operating system in a primary machine is not a wise idea — if you have a spare machine lying around in the house, go ahead with that option and follow these instructions to successfully complete the Windows Setup, but if you don’t have it, do not risk it.

One solution for these users will be using a virtual machine, and you can use VMware Workstation, you can also use VirtualBox (the one we are going to use today), which is a virtualization software from Oracle that works in the same way as VMware, or other type of virtualization solution.

Now Consumer Preview is more stable that previous releases, so this time around it’ll be easier to create a virtual machine using VirtualBox that how it was in the past with Developer Preview.

Important: Make sure that your computer BIOS is enabled to use virtualization such as VT-x/AMD-V to install this version of Windows. If not you might end up running into some issues.

Instructions

Before we start, you’ll need to download and install VirtualBox if you haven’t done so. When you done with this installation continue with the process:

1.  Open VirtualBox, to create a new virtual machine, click New and in the welcome wizard, click Next.

Windows 8 - VirtualBox - Create new virtual machine VM

2.  In the VM Name and OS Type step: name your virtual machine with a descriptive name, and in the OS Type make sure that Operating System is on Microsoft Windows and the version to Windows 8. Then click Next.

VirtualBox Windows 8 - VM Name

3.  Set the amount of memory to at least 1024MB and click Next.

Windows 8 - VirutalBox set memory

4.  In Virtual Hard Disk leave the default settings and click Next, a new dialog box (refer to the second image below) will appear, which will guide you in the creation of a virtual disk, select VDI (VirtualBox Disk IMage) and click Next.

Windows 8 - VirtualBox: Create virtual disk. Step 1

Windows 8 - VirtualBox: Create virtual disk. Step 2

5.  Now in Virtual disk storage details, leave the default setting Dynamically allocated and click Next.

Windows 8 - VirtualBox: Create virtual disk. Step 3

6.  The next step is Virtual disk file location and size, there do just that: choose the location where to store the virtual machine — you may find that saving the virtual machine in another hard drive will boost performance — and don’t forget the name of the folder that will contain the VM. 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, then click Next.

Windows 8 - VirtualBox choose disk size. Step 4

7.  Then you’ll get a summary of your virtual machine in VirtualBox, click Create and Create one more time.

Windows 8 virtual disk summary

8.  Select the VM that you just created, click Settings and navigate to Storage, under IDE Controller, select Empty, and on the right, click the CD icon to browse and locate the Windows 8 Consumer Preview ISO image, and click OK to finish with the settings customization.

VirtualBox - System settings Storage

4. Next start the virtual machine and if everything went according to plan, you will see the Windows Setup for Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

If you need some help going through the Windows Setup head over to this article — Walkthrough Windows 8 Consumer Preview installation (Windows Setup) step-by-step.

VirtualBox Windows 8 Consumer Preview Desktop

Enjoy Windows 8 Consumer Preview on VirutalBox!

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, 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+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and About.me.