How to Install Windows 8 On VirtualBox

So you want to try Windows 8, but you’re afraid that it might mess up your PC? Then worry not, because  the free VirtualBox software from Oracle will allow you to easily install Windows 8 virtually without affecting your PC.

Before starting, I recommend that you read this blog post first. It includes some important information regarding the installation of Windows 8 on a virtual machine.

For this tutorial, you will be needing VirtualBox which can be downloaded from here and Windows 8 ISO which can be downloaded from Windows Dev Center.

Before we begin, make sure that virtualization is enabled in your BIOS. Once that is done, we can proceed to the first step.

First, install and run VirtualBox. Click New for creating a new Virtual Machine. Click Next in the Virtual Machine wizard


Now type a name for your Virtual Machine under Name. As we are going to Install Windows 8, I’ve named mine Windows 8. Now select Microsoft Windows for Operating System and Windows 7 as Version. If you are installing Windows 8 64-bit, select Windows 7 64-bit as Version.


The next step is to choose the system resources of your Virtual Machine. For RAM, choose little bit less than half of your RAM.



For Hard disk, a 20GB dynamically allocated  VirtualBox Disk Image  would suffix.(If you want to use the same disk image with a virtualization software other than VirtualBox later, select VHD as the type of file for the virtual disk in virtual disk Creation wizard.)vb6

After you’ve created the virtual disk, click create to setup the virtual machine.

Now its time to tweak your virtual machine for optimum performance. In the VirtualBox manager, right click on the virtual machine that you just created and select Settings and make the following changes.

Select System from the left column. Now check Enable IO APIC.

Select the Processor   tab and check Enable PAE/NX.

Finally in the Acceleration tab, check Enable VT-x/AMD-V   and Enable Nested Paging.

Now start your virtual machine by right clicking and selecting start. As you are running it for the first time, a first time wizard will be shown. Click Next.

In the next step, you can select the Installation Media. Select the ISO file of Windows 8 that you had downloaded earlier. Click Next. Now your virtual machine will boot with the ISO file as the installation media and once the necessary files are loaded, you will see the below screen. Click Next.


After you accept the EULA, select the partition to install Windows 8 (The 20GB partition that we created earlier) and click Next.


Now click Install and the installation will begin.


Once it finishes, create a user account and configure the network, Windows Update settings etc.   Windows will take a few minutes to apply the configuration and that’s it!


You now have Windows 8 installed on VirtualBox.

Published by

Nithin Ramesh

Nithin is a blogger and a Windows security enthusiast. He is currently pursuing Bachelors in Electronics and Communication. Apart from technology his other interests include reading and rock music. His Twitter handle is @nithinr6

  • ray

    thanks! it worked!

  • Mandeep

    while trying to setup, when I get to the OS screen I just the option windows 7 in the drop down. I do not get option “Windows 7 64-bit”.

    I am using windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit

  • Mandeep

    Thanks for the info

  • Fred S

    I followed these instructions, although my accelerator tabbed was greyed out. But when I click on ‘Start’ it displays an error message,’The kernel driver could not be loaded’ And then this is the details with that message: Failed to open a session for the virtual machine Win 8.

    The virtual machine ‘Win 8′ has terminated unexpectedly during startup.

    Result Code: E_FAIL (0x80004005)
    Component: Machine
    Interface: IMachine {5eaa9319-62fc-4b0a-843c-0cb1940f8a91}

    • Fred S

      Correction: It says’cannot access kernel driver. Make sure kernel driver loaded successfully’

    • Looks like lots of users encountered this error after installing version 4.1.4 of VirtualBox. Check out this thread in VB forums

      • Fred S

        Ok, checked that out but I’m only running version 4.1.2, so haven’t upgraded yet. Maybe I should try going to 4.0 like another poster did there? Most sais they went down to my version and it was fine.

        • Fred S

          Ok, so I got past that by installing the older 4.0 version but now it brings up the window after I get the initial setup wizard where it says what it is, and then after it loads files it has some error codes preceded by ‘ you must restart your computer by holding down power button’. I did that but it just starts Win 7 up and brings me to my desktop

  • Fred S

    Another question, I know it’s not directly related to Virtual Machine installation, but if I install the iso image from a CD and do a direct installation of Win 8, will it erase my copy of Win 7 on the hard drive and can I revert back to Win 7 if I just installed it from a key and not a full CD with restore disks?