How to install Windows 10 Technical Preview on a virtual machine

Windows 10 preview demo

The time has come to finally test drive the Technical Preview of Windows 10, and while there are various ways to install the operating system without having to change anything in your current system, using VirtualBox or VMware Workstation is the easiest and safest way to go to install a pre-release version of a new operating system.

For those unfamiliar with these products, VirtualBox is a free and open source project owned by Oracle, and it’s a piece of software that allows you to install an operating system, in this case Windows Technical Preview, inside your current system in a virtual environment, without having to modify anything and avoiding errors, crashes, and possibly data lose.

VMware Workstation works the same way, with the difference that this is a paid software (though, you can try it for free), but you get additional features and support from the VMware.

Requirements

Before you begin, you’ll need a copy of VirtualBox or VMware Workstation, at least 10GB of hard drive space, and a copy of Windows Technical Preview.

VirtualBox Instructions

1. Download and install VirtualBox.

2. While in VirtualBox, click New to create a new virtual machine, choose a descriptive name, and change the version of the operating system to Windows 8.1 (32- or 64-bit), and click Next.

3. Select the amount of memory you want to use for this virtual machine, 2GB will do the trick for a 32-bit installation. However the amount of RAM you can use will depend on the available memory in your system. Then click Next.

4. Choose Create a virtual hard drive now and click Create.

5. Use the VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image) option and click Next.

6. Because this is a demo, you use a fixed size for the virtual hard drive, select the option and click Next. In the next page set the amount of storage you want to assign for this virtual machine, and click Create.

Note: If you’re just testing the operating system 10GB of storage will work just fine.

7. Now the Windows 10 virtual machine has been created. Select the VM from the left menu, click Settings, navigate to Storage, and click the item below “Controller: IDE”. On the right, you’ll see an Attributes section, click the disc icon, and browse the location of the Windows Technical Preview ISO file, click Open, and then OK.

8. Run your newly created virtual machine and install Windows 10 as you would do it for Windows 8 or Windows 7.

9. Once the installation completes do not forget to install the Additions, which is a set of drivers and system applications that improves the performance and usability of the virtual machine.

To install the Additions, from the Windows 10 Technical Preview VM menu, click Devices, and select Insert Guest Additions CD image. Then go to File Explorer, open the CD drive with the virtual CD image, right-click VBoxWindowsAdditons, click on Properties, navigate to Compatibility, check the “Run this program in compatibility mode for” and choose Windows 8, and click Apply and OK.

Now install the Additions like you would with any software and restart the VM as necessary.

Below I have created a video with all the instructions.

VMware Workstation Instructions

1. Download and install VMware Workstation in your PC.

2. Go to File and click New Virtual Machine.

3. Use the default settings and click Next.

4. Select Installer disc image file (iso) option, locate the Windows 10 Technical Preview ISO file, click Open, and then click Next.

5. On Guest operating system select Microsoft Windows and on version choose Windows 8 or the 64-bit version, and click Next.

6. Name your virtual machine and click Next.

7. Assign the maximum disk size – to test the operating system, you’ll only need 10GB –, leave the rest as default and click Next.

8. Click the Customize Hardware button, and assign the amount of RAM for this VM and remove unnecessary peripherals, click Close and then Finish.

9. Now from the VM, click Power on this virtual machine, and complete the Windows Technical Preview installation process.

10. Finally, don’t forget to install the VMware tools, the drivers and system applications that improves the performance and usability of the operating system on a virtualized environment. To do this, go to the VMware Workstation menu, click VM then Install VMware tools. If the application doesn’t start automatically, simply go to This PC from the File Explorer and install the tools from the virtual disc.

Below I have created a video with all the instructions.

That’s all there is to it. Enjoy testing the Windows Tech Preview. And don’t forget to share your experience in the comment below.