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.

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

  • Thank you for the answers I will try installing it on the latest version which seem to be VirtualBox 4.1.2
    – Alpine
    Commented Sep 16, 2011 at 11:16
  • 1
    Not a direct answer, but I'm running a vhd: hanselman.com/blog/… Commented Sep 17, 2011 at 17:16

6 Answers 6


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.


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.

  • 3
    The guest additions I don't think is a virtualization error, but rather a restriction on the dev build: source Commented Sep 14, 2011 at 20:38
  • 3
    You can install the guest additions by running the installer in Compatibility Mode for Windows 7. It doesn't work perfectly though.
    – nhinkle
    Commented Sep 16, 2011 at 16:35

From the Windows 8 blog posted 9/16:


  • 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

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.


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.


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.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .