So as you all probably know by now Windows 8 Developer Preview was released yesterday by Microsoft as part of the BUILD conference. Windows 8 revolutionises windows with the redesigned start screen and metro style applications. It’s also had massive performance improvements over Windows 7 in terms of RAM usage so it should run much better on netbooks.
As soon as I heard it had been released I headed straight to download and got it running in VirtualBox. There are lots of blog posts already covering how to install it so I’m not going to cover that here. What I’m going to do is review the options you have for installing Windows 8 and the caveats that go with them:
- VMWare – Sadly VMware Workstation 7 does not support ACPI 2.0 which Windows 8 needs. The only option here is to use the newly released VMware Workstation 8 which is available for a $99 upgrade fee if you own Workstation 7.
- VirtualBox – Windows 8 installs fine on VirtualBox – simply create a VM and use the Windows 7 settings. The caveat here is that the VirtualBox additions are not supported meaning you cannot get a graphics driver. This is quite annoying because you cannot fullscreen the VM or put it in a decent screen resolution. This is a killer for me.
- Boot to VHD – Windows 8 supports booting from a VHD. This is the method that I plan to use – its a great way to boot it alongside your Windows 7 environment without having to use it as your main OS (probably not a good idea at the moment). Check out this post by Scott Hanselman describing how to do this – http://www.hanselman.com/blog/GuideToInstallingAndBootingWindows8DeveloperPreviewOffAVHDVirtualHardDisk.aspx.
- Install natively or dual boot – The last option here is to install Windows 8 as you would normally and either dual boot or use it as your main OS. I plan to do this on my netbook (Acer Aspire 521) – I will report back on how well it runs.
One more thing to mention is that if you intend to install Windows 8 from a USB drive you a 10GB one or larger to install the version with the Developer Tools. This is nearly 5gb in size and will require a Dual Layer DVD if you wish to install it from disc.
I am downloading the 64-bit version without the dev tools and will boot that from a USB drive (only needs a 4gb one). You can download the dev tools later if you want.
So there you have it – hope this helps and doesn’t re-invent the wheel. I would love to hear from anyone who has managed to get the VirtualBox guest additions working in Windows 8 or got it working in VMware Workstation 7 somehow (hope we get an update to this).