Now that the Windows 8 Developer Preview has been released to the public, the easiest way to test this new OS is to install it in a virtual environment. Installing Windows 8 as your main OS or dual booting will allow you to fully take advantage of your hardware, but if you are looking to install Windows 8 without any major change to your system then VirtualBox is the way to go.

First of all, download Windows 8 Developer Preview from this link (32-bit or 64 bit depending on your system - the former if you're not sure):

While your ISO download is in progress, you can get VirtualBox installed. Use the link for the latest "windows hosts" version and install it to your system:

Once this is installed and the ISO downloaded, start VirtualBox and click "new":


Then, click next to proceed:


Now type in the Image name ("Windows 8" for example) and then choose "Windows " and "Windows 7" (x64 if you are using the 64-bit version) from the OS version dropdown. After this, click "next":


You can now choose how much RAM to allocate to the virtual Windows 8 installation. You need to allocate 1024MB RAM (32-bit) or 2048 GB RAM (64-bit) at minimum, but can select more if you wish. Once you've chosen, click "next":


The next step is to set up the virtual hard disk. 16GB (32-bit) or 20GB (64-bit) is the minimum amount, but higher is recommended if you are installing other applications. You can set this up to your own preferences, but we chose to create a 40GB dynamically expanding VHD using the following steps:







Once you have followed through the above steps to create your virtual hard drive, you'll return to the main VirtualBox screen. Please select the Windows 8 VM and click "start":


You'll now be presented with a "First Run Wizard" which leads you through the steps to booting from the ISO. First, click "next" to proceed:


Now click the folder icon to browse for your downloaded Windows 8 ISO. Click "next" once you've done this.


Finally your are presented with a confirmation screen with an overview of your first boot options. Click "start" to begin the boot process:


Congratulations... in just a few moments the Windows 8 installation ISO will boot and you will be able to install Windows 8! You can read this installation guide to guide you through the Windows 8 installation process.



I'd strongly suggest tweaking the standard configuration if your PC is relatively modern. Under settings, you can choose to enable 2D and 3D acceleration and check that hardware virtualization is enabled - this should speed up running Windows 8 in VirtualBox.
Ian, Sep 14, 2011