Monday, March 5, 2012

Install Windows 8 Consumer Preview on Oracle VirtualBox

With Microsoft releasing Windows 8 Consumer Preview at MWC in Barcelona a few days back, I could not wait to give it a try. And as you might have expected, my best bet is to get it installed on Oracle VM VirtualBox. So, lets get started.

If you do not have the VirtualBox installed, you can get it from here. I have Oracle VM VirtualBox version 4.1.8 on my machine. Next, I have downloaded the consumer preview of Windows 8 from here, and you should choose the one that suits your machine. I got the 32 bit one. Now, we are ready to go.

Creating a new virtual machine
The first step is to create a new virtual machine for Windows 8. Click on the obvious New button and the wizard starts.

Follow the wizard, where you need to specify a name for the virtual machine and allocate the memory size (minimum 1 GB suggested). Then it asks for creating the virtual hard disk. Choose "create new hard disk". In the following screen choose the file extension as VHD.

You can either choose the memory to be dynamically allocated or keep it fixed size and then choose the recommended disk space. Keeping the default option of 20 GB is fine, if you have that much to spare. The wizard should then create the virtual machine.

Note: After the machine is created, you have to go to Settings > System > Processor and check the option "Enable PAE/NX". Skipping this step might result in error "Your PC needs to be repaired" when installing the OS.

Installing Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Now, we can start with the installation of Windows 8 using the .iso file we downloaded form the link above. Start the Windows 8 virtual machine and it displays the First Run wizard.Specify the path of the .iso as installation media and let the installation begin. The rest of the installation is pretty straight forward, if you have installed Windows before.

The product key for the installation can be found at the same link mentioned above from where the .iso file was downloaded (DNJXJ-7XBW8-2378T-X22TX-BKG7J).

Because it is just a preview, you have limited options to play around with. When the installation asks for it, don't forget to create a Microsoft account. You will need it to access multiple features later on. When the installation is done, you are greeted by the new start screen.

Lot of things have changed, and I have to get into a habit with this OS. But there are two obvious things that I can already share: Windows 8 clearly looks like an OS targeted primarily for tablets and touchscreens, and the preview is not clean and the finishing touch are missing (well, that's why it's a preview).

Now off to play around with it, and wait for another post I would write if this preview really falls worth of it. So, before signing off, a quick tip: you can click the Windows logo button to get the start screen back at any point of time!