Microsoft released their last beta version of Windows 8 which is called ‘Release Preview’. To be honest, I do not see much changes on this release compared to earlier consumer preview version. But, still its a good experience to install the latest release and play around with it. This guide shows how to install Windows 8 release preview on VirtualBox with working guest additions tools, so you will get better performance (including more screen resolutions) inside virtual machine.
It is always a good practice to install beta versions inside a virtual machine, because you can safety stay away from modifying some important settings on physical Operating System and boot sectors which will cause issues.
What’s new in Windows 8 Release Preview?
Technically there are more changes on this version, also if you are trying Windows 8 as first time now, then you will see plenty of changes and improvements from Windows 7 or Vista. Release Preview version includes latest Internet Explorer 10 (beta) with in-built flash support. More information and release note about Windows 8 release preview available here at official site.
How to Install Windows 8 Release Preview on VirtualBox
1) There are few unsuccessful installation user comments available on internet, but for me it worked straight away. So, here is the requirement.
a) You should have latest VirtualBox version ( which is supporting Windows 8 as guest OS. I’m using Oracle VirtualBox 4.1.6 on Windows 7 host, you can download the latest version of VirtualBox from official site here.
b) Processor with Hardware Virtualization Technology (VT) and NX/XD enabled. If you are getting installation error ‘Your PC’s CPU isn’t compatible with Windows 8’, then this is the possible reason.
You must enable VT on physical computer’s BIOS. Read our earlier guide on how to enable VT on BIOS.
NX/XD will be available somewhere under processor security in BIOS. It should be enabled as explained in this article. Normally, if these two settings are already set in the BIOS, you do not need to modify anything else in BIOS or Virtual machine’s configuration settings.
2) Download Windows 8 Release Preview ISO from here. Make sure you are downloading the correct file for the PC architecture ( 32bit or 64bit).
The product key is: TK8TP-9JN6P-7X7WW-RFFTV-B7QPF
3) Create a new virtual machine and select Windows 8 as guest OS.
The above built-in support will enable the all required configuration on virtual machine. Therefore you do not need to modify virtual machine’s settings in processor or motherboard except RAM size and to mount ISO.
Mount/add (by browsing ) the download Windows 8 ISO file.
Next steps are very simple and similar to our earlier guide how to install Windows 8 Consumer preview on VirtualBox- Click here to read.
Anyhow, here are few important screen shots,
4) Once installation is completed and Virtual machine rebooted. You need to go through a basic initial setup.
You can login without using or creating online live ID, as I did below.
5) That’s it, you must land on beautiful desktop with tiles as icons.
Install VirtualBox Guest Additions on Windows 8 Release Preview
As I said earlier, the official support for Windows 8 guest OS in latest VirtualBox release makes the guest additions installation easy.
6) Click on ‘Install Guest Additions..’ as shown below. It will mount the built in guest additions ISO file to Windows 8 virtual machine’s CD drive.
7) Open windows explorer by pressing ‘Windows key + E’ and look for the mounted guest additions tools.
Double click and start the installation. Reboot the virtual machine to see the effect.
Full screen mode and other extra features will work with better display experience.