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I'm trying to install Windows 8 on my pc via Microsoft Virtual PC. However I get this annoying, non-descriptive error:

enter image description here

I'm looking to find out if Microsoft Virtual PC supports Windows 8, and if so how do I solve this issue?

NOTE: I'm NOT trying to ask for alternatives to Virtual PC, but rather trying to figure out if it's possible, and if so how, to use Virtual PC.

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I'd say "HAL INITIALIZATION FAILED" is descriptive, if not terribly good at narrowing it down. :) – Shinrai Sep 14 '11 at 20:42
gotta love the new-style BSOD – Sathya Sep 15 '11 at 5:06
@techie007 I've added a note to caution users to answer the actual question I'm shooting for, and not the dupe. – KronoS Sep 15 '11 at 16:20
Do we need to coin a new acronym for the new version of the BSOD? I'd say BSOF, "Blue Screen Of Fail", should be a contestant. – music2myear Sep 28 '11 at 19:57
up vote 60 down vote accepted

Windows Virtual PC is unable to host a virtualized install of Windows 8. Windows Virtual PC is being depreciated in favor of Hyper-V.

Steven Sinofsky, head of Windows, wrote a blog post titled Running Windows 8 Developer Preview in a virtual environment where he goes into the subject in detail. It's a good read. Halfway down he says:

"... our baseline assessment is as follows:


  • 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


  • Microsoft Virtual PC (all versions)
  • Microsoft Virtual Server (all versions)
  • Windows 7 XP Mode
  • VMWare Workstation 7.x or older"

So no, Microsoft Virtual PC does not official support Windows 8. If an unofficial hack comes out and gets it running it will almost certainly be a sub-par experience.

The new official virtualization solution from Microsoft is Hyper-V and it will be available not only on the server but also on the desktop.

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Weird that Microsoft's own virtual machine doesn't support one of it's products. – KronoS Sep 28 '11 at 17:28
Not in the slightest really. Microsofts 'OLD' Virtual machine software does not support this. Its 'NEW' one works fine. You want it to work... upgrade. It's how they drive upgrades. – Joe Taylor Jul 17 '12 at 11:20
Note, we now have a blog post on this topic: Super User Review of Hyper-V for Windows 8. @KronoS goes into quite a bit of detail on how Hyper-V works and how to set it up. – nhinkle Oct 19 '12 at 19:35
Hyper-V is awesome. – Ryan Clarke Nov 8 '12 at 17:02
Hyper V > Virtual PC. VPC is like six years old now. – MDT Guy Jul 15 '13 at 14:13

Windows 8 requires a new ACPI functionality mode (ACPI 2.0) which is not supported at all in many virtualisation products.

Thus far, I have only been able to get it working inside of VMWare Workstation 8 (which for some coincidence was launched today!).

I have just tested and it will also work in the newest version of VMWare Player (Version 4.0.0 build-471780).

If you want a free solution, I found a guide (located here) earlier today with instructions on how to get it working in Virtual Box.

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It also works in Hyper-V on Windows Server 2008 R2. – William Jackson Sep 14 '11 at 20:53
It works in VirtualBox – Joel Coehoorn Sep 28 '11 at 1:32

I set it up in Virtual Box the latest version choosing Windows 7 64 bit as the "Version" under "VM Name and OS Type". It installed first try. I hope this helps.

You can not run Windows 8 in Virtual PC because it (Windows 8) does not support VPC. MSDN

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Its a shame VirtualPC doesnt work, but I can also attest that at this time, VirtualBox is a great alternative and has worked wonderfully: – ewitkows Jun 13 '13 at 19:13

You can use a Virtual HD.

Scott Hanselman's baby-steps solution here:

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It is reported to work using Virtual Box 4.1.0

Which virtual machine software is preferable for running Windows 8 Developer Preview?

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I can confirm that it works under VirtualBox 4.1.12. I installed the developer preview of Win 8 with VirtualBox under Ubuntu 12.04, and I have since upgraded to a full license under the $40 deal. I can't think of any reason why this wouldn't also work on a Windows system. My only advice is to give your virtual machine access to plenty of RAM (I'm giving it 8GB out of 16GB) as it ran like a dog with 4GB. – Aaron Newton Oct 28 '12 at 11:42

Yes. You will be able to install a virtualized instance of Windows 8 (provided you have a working, valid copy), in virtual applications like VirtualBox (free) and VMware Workstation 8 (paid).

Note: Previous versions of VMware Workstation are not able to run Windows 8, you will need the newer version, which currently is VMware Workstation 8

Also note that to virtualize Windows 8 Developer Preview you need hardware acceleration supported by your hardware.

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You could solve this problem by turning off the virtual machine and changing the configuration:

  • Lower the number of processors from 2 to 1
  • Lower the memory from 8 to 3 * 1024 * 1024.

After that, I applied the settings and virtual machine started normally.

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