Symantec Corp.

Using VirtualBox To Install Windows 8 Release Preview

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When it comes to previews of operating systems, many of us love to see what has changed and what hasn’t.

At the same time, not everyone accesses these previews the same way. For people like myself, I like to really dive into the full experience and ditch the current OS as my primary OS, instead using the test version. This gives you the rawest, truest experience when it comes to overall performance.

Of course this is also the least stable way to experience a new OS. For those of us that need a stable machine but want to try a OS out, such as Windows 8 Release Preview, the solution is generally either dual-booting or Virtualization.

Virtualization is without a doubt the easiest way to try Windows 8 Release Preview since you just put it over your existing OS (probably Windows 7 for most of us) and can play around without worrying a whole lot.

If this sounds like the right option for you, please remember that you need a good machine if you want to get even close to as good as virtual experience as you would a true install.

There are many virtualization programs out there, with VMware probably being the most popular. With that it mind, I popped open VMware in a Windows 7 build and gave it shot installing Windows 8 Release Preview. My VMware software hasn’t been updated for a while, and that was likely the problem, but let’s just say it hung there and didn’t install.

Doing some research, I’ve found some users have had great luck getting Release Preview to run, and others got Consumer Preview to install flawlessly but couldn’t repeat the success with Release Preview.

Instead of updating and experimenting, I decided to turn to VirtualBox, which I use a lot in my Ubuntu laptop. In Ubuntu it works great with Windows 7 but I couldn’t get it to run Windows 8 Release Preview. I think my older hardware might have been at fault because with Windows 7 I didn’t have a problem.

Okay, so without further ado, here are the simple steps involved in getting Windows 8 Release Preview up and running using VirtualBox, which can be downloaded for free for Solaris, Linux, OSX and Windows.

  1. You need to first make sure your PC can run this method. You need VB 4.1.6 and a processor that has NX/XD enable and VT. Obviously, you also need a copy of Windows 8 Release Preview and a Product Key.
  2. Go into Virtual Box after installing it and create a Windows 8 virtual machine. You can pretty much click through this stuff with ease, but you can also customize the exact RAM of the virtual machine and more if you want to go more into detail with your virtual build.
  3. When you start the machine for the first time you will directed to point to the Disc image.
  4. After this all will start and you will follow through easy install prompts.
  5. If your PC is fast like mine, this only takes about 15 minutes to install.
  6. Install Guest Additions. Play around.

That’s really it. If you’ve never used Virtual Box before and aren’t a super-nerd like myself, you might need to look at the documentation for VB to better figure out where options and settings are for getting your VM up and running, but honestly, it is NOT difficult.

Already running Windows 8 Release Preview and used virtualization to do it?

What program did you use and how simple did you find the overall install process?

Share your thoughts below.

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