Windows 8 Consumer Preview is available for download, it is only a temporary test version of Windows 8. Maybe you’re interested to try to Windows 8 and don’t want to uninstall your recent Windows or Linux operating system. It is possible to run the Windows 8 Preview version on a virtual computer. With the test version you have the chance to get bugs or crashes and beside this the Windows 8 version is only for temporary use, after a while it’s no longer usable. So if you prefer to keep your existing Windows or Linux operating system you can try to use a virtual computer.
With this solution you can install Windows 8 on a virtual machine and keep your system intact and there are no worries about possible crashes. A virtual machine is a program that emulates a computer, which lets run other programs on it. There are quite a lot of virtual machines, one of those programs is VirtualBox which is free and good. VirtualBox makes it possible to run Windows 8 (or Linux) virtual under older Windows versions.
Download VirtualBox and Windows 8
Download VirtualBox and choose the platform you want to use, for example for Windows 7 is that Virtual 4.1.14 for Windows host. Download Windows 8 and burn the iso on a DVD. This file is about 2.5GB (32-bit) in size, so the download will take a while. Please note; if you have a 64-bit Windows version, for example, Windows 7 64-bit, you also need to install Windows 8 64-bi to get it working.
Microsoft gives the following minimum system requirements for Windows 8 so have a look if your computer can run Windows 8:
- 1 GHz or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor.
- 1 GB RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit).
- 16 GB available hard disk (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit) .
- DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher.
Installing VirtualBox on Windows 8
Once VirtualBox is installed, launch VirtualBox.
Click the New button and click Next in the window Create new virtual machine.
Enter a VM name for example Windows 8. When you choose for Windows 8 as the name also the operating system will change automatically into Microsoft Windows and the version changes to Windows 8.
Choose how much memory you want to make free. For example 1024MB and click Next.
In Virtual Hard Disk make sure that Startup disk is checked and Create new hard disk and click Next.
In Create Virtual Disk choose VDI (Virtual Disk Image). Click Next.
In Virtual Disk Storage Details choose Dynamically allocated and click Next.
In the Virtual Disk Location and Size choose the disk space that you want to use for Windows 8 and click Next.
In the Summary select Create.
Now it is ready to create a virtual disk, it takes a while (15 minutes or more) to complete the process and once it is finished it will return to the VirtualBox Manager window that includes Windows 8 in the list.
Go to the Settings window and tick Enable IO APIC in Motherboard tab and in the Processor tab Enable PAE/NX. In the Acceleration tab tick both Enable VT-x/AMD-V and Enable Nested Paging.
Go to Storage on the left sidebar and check Empty under IDE Controller. Click the CD icon next to CD/DVD Drive selection box in the attributes field and click Choose a virtual CD/DVD disk file. Browse to the Windows 8 iso file to open the Windows 8 installation wizard.
Choose the language, preference time/currency format and keyboard settings and click Next to start the Windows 8 installation.
After the installation you can using Windows 8 running on a virtual machine.