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I want to preview Windows 8 and decided to install it on a virtual machine as I don't want to format an existing partition.

Installing Windows 8 by mounting the .iso results in the primary partition getting formated and losing the current operating system.

Can anyone who has tried installing Windows 8 in a virtual machine suggest which virtual machine is preferable to run Windows 8 Developer Preview from among the following virtual machine softwares.

Edit:
It is not necessary to restrict to the above list, I would like to know about any other virtualization software available.

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Thank you for the answers I will try installing it on the latest version which seem to be VirtualBox 4.1.2 –  Alpine Sep 16 '11 at 11:16
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Not a direct answer, but I'm running a vhd: hanselman.com/blog/… –  Ritch Melton Sep 17 '11 at 17:16
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6 Answers

up vote 13 down vote accepted

I would say that my favourite has to be VMware Workstation. However, restricting it to just your list:

  • VirtualBox
    It works fine with the latest version. Follow this guide for a walk through on how to do it.

  • VMware Server
    I can't find anywhere that specifically says no, nor I do have a way to test it, but I highly doubt it can; if it could I wouldn't like to use it. Remember that Windows 8 is heavily graphically accelerated - this is completely against what VMware Server is good at!

  • VMware Workstation
    If you upgrade to the latest version (8.0.0 Build 471780) - released today as part of the Workstation 8 release - it can run Windows 8 fine.

  • Microsoft Virtual PC
    Currently cannot run Windows 8; HAL error.

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I have successfully installed the Windows 8 Developer Preview in a VirtualBox (4.1.0) Virtual Machine. You cannot, however, install the Guest Additions as it errors with:

This version of Windows is not supported.

You therefore won't get shared folders, mouse pointer integration, etc. The graphics driver seems to be okay, though, and I can get it to 1280x1024 no problem. I've not tried playing videos or any of the included games.

I'd recommend running it with at least 1GB RAM. A clean install on a dynamic 120GB Virtual Hard Disk takes around ~6.3GB.

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The guest additions I don't think is a virtualization error, but rather a restriction on the dev build: source –  KronoS Sep 14 '11 at 20:38
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You can install the guest additions by running the installer in Compatibility Mode for Windows 7. It doesn't work perfectly though. –  nhinkle Sep 16 '11 at 16:35
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From the Windows 8 blog posted 9/16:

Functional:

  • Hyper-V in Windows 8 Developer Preview
  • Hyper-V in Windows Server 2008 R2
  • VMware Workstation 8.0 for Windows
  • VirtualBox 4.1.2 for Windows

Non-functional:

  • Microsoft Virtual PC (all versions)
  • Microsoft Virtual Server (all versions)
  • Windows 7 XP Mode
  • VMWare Workstation 7.x or older
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I installed it with no problems using Hyper-V on Windows Server 2008 R2. I wasn't able to use RemoteFX 3D Video Adapter, however. I gave it 8 GB of RAM and 120 GB hard drive space. The RAM was probably overkill, but I wanted to have fun with it.

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Running Windows 8 Developer Preview on Parallels Desktop 6.

It works fine on the whole but there are graphics problems when you install parallel tools.
There is a workaround to this which you can find here.
This also has a few graphical limitations but will resolve the blank screen issues that you get after installing parallel tools.

I decided not to install Parallel Tools and have been using Windows 8 Developer Preview non stop for 5 days now with very little problems.

One problem I am having however is after ejecting a disc from the D drive, the D drive still thinks the disc is in the drive and will not recognize any other discs I insert.
This is a pain when trying to install multiple software from discs. I have to restart Windows 8 Developer Preview to fix the problem.

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In Scott Hanselman's blog on this topic, he has an interesting virtual approach. Instead of using a virtual machine inside of your booted machine, he creates a virtual drive (VHD) and configures a dual boot with an option to boot off the VHD. He has instructions and links on the blog article for both the consumer and developers win8 versions.

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