Update- This post has been updated with the latest release of Windows 8.1 and Oracle VirtualBox 4.3 which supports Windows 8.1 officially. Do you want to upgrade your existing Windows 7 or 8 computer?, why don’t you try in virtual environment first?. As Microsoft gives trail version of Windows 8.1 for 90 days without a cost, better try it in desktop virtualization software VirtualBox before installing on physical desktop or laptop. This guide explains how to install Windows 8.1 (enterprise or professional) on VirtualBox and configure guest additions for better display experience.
If you get an error messages saying that “ Your PC need to restart, Please hold down the power button Error Code : 0x000000C4”, then you need to upgrade the VirtualBox version to 4.3.
Also as mentioned by earlier guide in Sysprobs, Hardware Virtualization Technology (VT) and NX/XD should be enabled on host computer.
Sysprobs earlier published an article about major new features in Windows 8.1 for home and business users.
The Error Message With Older Versions of 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 90 days trail ISO from Microsoft site here.
Other versions can be downloaded and created ISO as mentioned in this post. Select ISO file option as we will be attaching it to virtual machine’s CD drive.
2) Create a virtual machine with Windows 8.1 OS type. Leave the default settings of VM. Increase the RAM size ( I recommend 2GB) and processor cores.
Attach the ISO file you have download or created to CD/DVD drive of virtual machine.
3) If you still decided to go with older VirtualBox versions (before 4.3 or 4.2.18), the following command needs to be run from correct folder path before switching on virtual machine.
VBoxManage.exe setextradata "VM Name" VBoxInternal/CPUM/CMPXCHG16B 1
Make sure that the above command doesn’t return any error messages, successful execution will not return any messages.
If you have latest VirtualBox version, skip this step 3.
4) Power on the virtual machine, installation will start smoothly.
Note every installation steps are covered here.
Select the second option to install fresh copy.
5) You need to have or create a Microsoft online account to use Windows 8.1. Obviously internet connection should be available on physical host and virtual machine. The default settings of Network ‘Bridged Mode’ and connect it to physical network will allow internet connection inside virtual machine. So, you can login with your existing Microsoft account or create a new account from this screen.
6) As one of the new feature, you can connect and setup SkyDrive in next screen.
It will take sometime to finish the online updates, setting up apps and other configurations.
7) Here is a 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, installing guest additions will give improved display options and resolutions.
To start the installation, click on ‘Devices’ and ‘Install Guest Additions’ in menu bar. Once files are mounted to CD drive select the appropriate file version 32 bit or 64 bit.
I have selected 64 bit file as mine is Windows 8.1 64 bit enterprise version.
After rebooting the virtual machine, you can make sure the successful installation of guest additions by seeing few enabled menu options under View.
The full screen mode and auto resize display will work fine after VirtualBox guest additions installation in Windows 8.1.
The Display Performance Issues
Windows 8.1 may requires high performing and more video memory display cards, I’m not sure whether its a capability issue of my host machine, the full screen display is not up the standard. The Windows tiles come and go very slowly. When I move the curser fast inside virtual machine, the screen flicks and breaks.
By playing around with 2D, 3D and none video settings, I have found out the enabling only 2D video acceleration worked quite well for me.
It would be great if you could share your experience about running Windows 8.1 on VirtualBox, especially display performance.