[Guide] How to Install Windows 8.1 on VirtualBox With Guest Additions

Even though Windows 11 is available at the moment, if you still want to try Windows 8.1 as a virtual machine for testing/development purposes, this guide will be useful. Do you want to upgrade your existing Windows 7 or 8 computer? Why don’t you try it in a virtual environment first?

You can download the Windows 8.1 ISO file from the official website and try it on desktop virtualization software VirtualBox before installing it on a physical desktop or laptop. This article explains how to install Windows 8.1 (Enterprise or Professional) on VirtualBox and configure guest additions for a better display experience.

If you get an error message saying that “ Your PC needs to restart, Please hold down the power button Error Code: 0x000000C4”, then you need to upgrade the VirtualBox version to the latest one.

Also, Hardware Virtualization Technology (VT) and NX/XD should be enabled on the host computer.

The Error Message With Older Versions of VirtualBox

Error message for Windows 8.1 on VirtualBox

Read Also: How to install Windows 11 on VirtualBox

How to do a Proper Installation of Windows 8.1 on VirtualBox

1) If you like to install Windows 8.1 Enterprise, you can download the ISO file from the Microsoft site here.

Select the ISO file format to download since we will be attaching it to the virtual machine’s CD drive.

2) Create a new virtual machine with Windows 8.1 OS type. Leave the default settings of VM. Increase the RAM size and processor cores. I usually keep 2GB RAM and 2 processor cores.

Windows 8.1 VM configuration

Attach the ISO file you have downloaded to the CD/DVD drive of the virtual machine.

3) If you still decide to go with the older version of VirtualBox  (before 4.3 or 4.2.18), the following command should be executed from the correct folder path before powering on the virtual machine.

VBoxManage.exe setextradata "VM Name" VBoxInternal/CPUM/CMPXCHG16B 1

Windows 8.1 VB command

Thanks for this forum post

Make sure that the above command doesn’t return any error messages. Also, the successful execution will not return any messages.

If you have the latest VirtualBox version,  you can skip this step 3.

4) Power on the virtual machine, and the installation will start smoothly.

Installation screen

I’m not mentioning each installation step here, they are simple for any Windows user.

Windows 8.1 product key

Select the second option to install a fresh copy.

5) You need to have or create a Microsoft online account to use Windows 8.1. Obviously, an internet connection is required on the physical host computer and virtual machine.

The default VM network setting is ‘Bridged Mode’. This setup will allow the VM to connect to the Internet through the physical network of the host computer. So, you can log in with your existing Microsoft account or create a new account from this screen.

Create a MS account

6) As one of the new features, you can connect and set up SkyDrive on the next screen.

It will take some time to finish the online updates, setting up apps and other configurations.

7) Here is a working Windows 8.1 on VirtualBox.

Working Windows 8.1 on VirtualBox

VirtualBox Guest Additions for Windows 8.1

With the official support of Windows 8.1 in Oracle VirtualBox 4.3 and later versions, installing guest additions will give improved display options and smooth performance.

To start the installation, click on ‘Devices’ and ‘Install Guest Additions’ in the menu bar. Once files are mounted to a CD drive, double click the appropriate file version 32 bit or 64 bit.

I selected 64-bit since I installed Windows 8.1 64-bit Enterprise version.

Guest additions - Windows 8.1

After rebooting the virtual machine, you can verify the successful installation of guest additions by checking a few extra enabled options under View.

More options

The full-screen mode and auto-resize display options will work now.

The Display Performance Issues:

Windows 8.1 requires high performing display card with proper video memory. I’m not sure whether that was an issue on my host machine, the full-screen display did not work properly. The Windows tiles worked very slow and when I moved the curser quickly inside the virtual machine.

By playing around with 2D, 3D and other video settings, I found out that enabling 2D video acceleration worked well for me.

Enable 2D settings

It would be great if you could share your experience of installing and using Windows 8.1 on Oracle VirtualBox.

Dinesh is the founder of Sysprobs and written more than 400 articles. Enthusiast in Microsoft and cloud technologies with more than 15 years of IT experience.

13 thoughts on “[Guide] How to Install Windows 8.1 on VirtualBox With Guest Additions”

  1. Wow, this should be posted from MS! I had to Google 3 days and found this. Kudos and kisses to the fix!
    Windows 8.1 sucks still, company really looking to getting MACs now. 🙁 This is real push away from XP and 7 that millions love.

    WHAT ARE YOU DOING MICROSOFT!!!??

  2. Thanks for your solution … It’s really help to me … I was serching solution half day, but this is works on 100% …

  3. ALL I WANT TO DO IS PLACE THE ICON ON MY DESK TOP………..KEEP IT SIMPLE I NEED ANYTHING COMPLICATED……………….IF THIS IS PROGRESS GET ME BACK TO XP.

  4. How would I do this for a VM running on OSX? The bash commands aren’t the same for windows terminals right?

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