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

Windows 8 Developer Preview and VirtualBox

If you are an early adopter and you want to install Windows 8 Developer Preview, the best way to do it is by creating a virtual machine, and you can use VMware Workstation — check this article to learn more –, you can also use VirtualBox (the one we are going to use today), which is a program from Oracle that works in the same way that VMware, or other type of virtualization software.

Alright, bad news first, I have been doing some testing and it appears to be that you need to have a CPU that supports hardware virtualization technology such as, VT-x/AMD-V to install this preview version of Windows. If you don’t have these settings enable, you’ll get some nasty errors and you are more than likely not to be able to run Windows 8 — but you can still try with VMware Workstation with the link I mentioned before.

Quick Tip: If you are using a computer with average hardware that has the support for hardware virtualization, when Windows 8 is loading the files, this should be a really fast process, if it is taking a long time expect errors.

Other than the support for hardware virtualization technology, after you crate the virtual machine, you’ll need to configure some custom settings, and you will hopefully be running Windows in not time.

To install Windows 8 Developer Preview on VirtualBox follow this steps:

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 7. Then click Next.

Windows 8 - VirtualBox: Name VM and choose OS type

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 and don’t forget to the name of the folder that will contain the VM. Windows 8 Developer Preview requires a minimum of 16GB of free space, so to be safe set the disk size to 20GB, 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 - VirtualBox: VM Summary

Up to here with some simple steps, you have created a new virtual machine. Next you’ll need to customize the settings in order to run the Windows 8 installation process successfully.

1.  Select the VM that you just created, click Settings and navigate to System.

2.  In System customize the settings this way:


  • Set Boot Order to use CD/DVD-ROM and Hard Disk
  • The Chipset should be at PIIX3
  • Extended Features should be selected

VirtualBox - System settings motherboard tab


  • In Processors choose 1 or as many CPUs that is allowed
  • Extended Features Enable PAE/NX should be selected

VirtualBox - System settings Processors tab


Here is where you need to pay close attention, if you CANNOT access this tab, it means that your CPU either doesn’t support hardware virtualization technology or it is disabled in which case you’ll need to get the motherboard manual and see how to enable this feature.

  • Hardware Virtualization: Enable VT-x/AMD-V and Enable Nested Paging, both should be selected.

VirtualBox - System settings Acceleration tab

3.  Now navigate to Storage:

  • Under IDE Controller, select Empty, and on the right, click the CD icon to browse and locate the Windows 8 Developer 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 correctly to plan, you will see Windows 8 installation process.

After the installation is finished enjoy your Windows 8 Developer Preview on VirtualBox. 

Windows 8 running on VirtualBox

That’s it!

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 Email him at [email protected].