Installing Windows 8 Consumer Preview as a Virtual Machine


Installing Windows Consumer Preview (32-bit)

Using VMware Player 4.02

Before you begin, make sure you have these two key items:

If you already have VMware Player, make sure it is the latest version — or expect issues. As of now, Player is version 4.0.2.

Once you have Player installed and a Windows 8 CP ISO downloaded, continue with the following directions:

Open up VMWare Player, and Create a New Virtual Machine.

On the next screen, choose the option “I will install the operating system later”, because Windows 7 is the latest OS that VMWare currently recognizes.

Choose “Microsoft Windows”, and “Windows 7” (as shown, UNLESS you are using a 64-bit ISO of Win8 which I would not recommend) for your Guest Operating System and Version. Choosing “Other” gave issues when it came to virtual hardware, but choosing Windows 7 here eliminated problems.

On the next screen, name it what you wish. I kept it basic here: Windows 8.

You can also choose an alternative folder for saving the virtual machine, otherwise the default save location is in User>>Documents>>Virtual Machines>>[vm name]

On the last screen, choose “Customize Hardware”

In the window that appears, select the CD/DVD drive, and along the right-side you should see what is pictured.

Make sure instead of “Use physical drive” that you select “Use ISO image file” and browse to where you saved your Windows 8 32-bit ISO.

At this screen, I would also recommend removing the virtual floppy drive, and adjusting the RAM if wanted (I extended the RAM to 2GB on mine).

Click “OK” at the bottom, and then “Finish” on the next screen.

Power up your blank Virtual Machine.

After a small bit, you will come to a “Windows Setup” screen.

  • NOTE: If Windows 8 gives you a massive sad face, then Power Off the virtual machine and double-check the version of your Player/Workstation to make sure you are using the latest version.

Otherwise, just click “Next” and then click “Install” on the screen after.

A product key activation screen will come up, in which you enter this key that is posted on Microsofts Windows 8 page:


Note: I wasn’t able to copy/paste it into the VM, so you may need to simply type it.

Accept the license terms on the next page and continue. When you are asked which type of installation you want, choose “Custom: Install Windows only (advance)” and you will be brought to the following screen.

You should be at a screen similar to this, based on whatever size you chose as the maximum when you made the VM. On the bottom right, select “New” and “Apply”

  • NOTE: If you have more than one disk showing or anything other than an unallocated Drive 0, select it, and choose “Delete” first

A pop-up will bother you, just click “OK”

You should now have a Drive 0 with 2 partitions, and the second one selected. Click “Next” on the bottom.

Windows 8 will now go through the motions of installation. This may take a while, so sit tight as it installs. It will automatically restart your computer in order to complete the installation.

Once completed, the next steps are up to you for personalization. Including:

  • Personalized theme color
  • PC Name
  • Basic Settings Setup
    • Use “Express Settings” of “Customize” and disable features. I would suggest features such as sharing information with applications, and if you are not on a home network, do not share or connect to devices.

Go to the next page in this tutorial once you come to the “Sign in to your PC” page

On the bottom left of the page, as circled in the image, select “Don’t want to sign in with a Microsoft account” unless you really want to make it right now. You can always make it later.

  • NOTE: If you already have a Microsoft account, go ahead and login

On the page that pops up, choose “Local Account” on the bottom right and then continue onward with a username setup. Once you type everything in and finish, Windows 8 will finally start logging you in!

The new interface that greets you is what replaces the Windows 7/Vista/XP Start menu. It is called Metro. The reason it looks and feels like a tablet OS is because it is meant to be used on both tablets/mobiles AND desktop PCs.

If all is well, the virtual network adapter should be working fine under NAT. So if you are connected to the internet, you can go ahead and launch whatever you would like.

To get to this screen, the desktop you are used to (without the Start menu) from Windows 7, select the bottom left box with the fish. From here, you can explore file directories with the folder icon on the bottom left.

How do you get back? What used to be the Aero Peek feature of Windows 7 now brings up a menu with the option to go back to Metro Start. Just hover your cursor on the very right side of your bottom taskbar, or top-right of your entire screen.

  • NOTE: The top/bottom-left of your screen will show preview windows to choose from, such as Metro Start, or other windows you have open in the background.

From here, you can just experiment. Running Windows 8 is like running two interfaces ontop of each other. You may be using internet explorer in Metro, but find it isn’t in sight when you make your way to the Desktop. Within either interface, moving your cursor to the bottom/top-left of your screen will reveal a second hidden taskbar-like side with preview windows of what is open. From Metro, you can go to your Desktop this way, or vice-versa. You can also restore IE windows, windows explorer windows, etc. that you opened perhaps under one of the other views.

If launching from within Metro, you may be more limited visually. On the Desktop you can run multiple items/windows side-by-side.

Here are some pointers on what to do and know in Windows 8:

  • Once you restart, you may notice there is no logon screen. What happened? Scroll with your mouse or hit the spacebar, and your login screen will appear. This will also happen when you lock the computer
  • Make sure to update your Windows 8 right away by going to Desktop view, then hover over the bottom right taskbar (or top right of screen) for Settings>>More PC Settings>>Windows Update
    • In the “More PC Settings” you can find many other customizable configurations, including the ability to create the Microsoft Account if you wish.
  • How to shutdown your computer:
    • Desktop>>Settings>>Power>>Shutdown/Restart
    • Metro Start>>Top-right Username>>sign-out/lock>>scroll/spacebar>>bottom-right power button

Otherwise, take a look for yourself! Keep in mind that this is a limited preview edition of what isn’t yet completed, and Windows 8 may go through changes before it is released.

Have fun,

Derek Ardolf


You can download this tutorial as a pdf, just download it from here.

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