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How to Install Windows Server 8 Beta VM on VirtualBox

Ready to start playing with the new Windows Server 8 Beta that was released today?  I know I am!  I was happy to find out that, in addition to being able to download the Windows Server 8 Beta DVD, Microsoft has also made a Windows Server 8 Beta virtual machine available for download.  The virtual machine (VM) is in VHD format and can be accessed using Oracle’s VirtualBox VM software.  In this article, I show you how to run Windows Server 8 Beta VM on VirtualBox.

How to install Windows Server 8 Beta VM on VirtualBox

These directions are for setting up a Windows Server 8 VM guest on a Windows 7 Ultimate Host using VirtualBox. These instructions may work on other platforms.

1. If you haven’t already, download and install Oracle VirtualBox.

2. Download the Windows Server 8 Beta Virtual Machine from Microsoft.  Note that you may be required to register.  This is how my download looks:


3. Run this file to create the Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) containing Windows Server 8.  Take note of the VHD’s location on your hard drive.  You will need this later.


4. Open VirtualBox.  Click “New” virtualbox-new-vm to create a new virtual machine.

5. Enter a name for the VM.  Select “Microsoft Windows” for the operating system and “Windows 8 (64 bit)” for the version. Click Next.


6. Select the amount of memory to allocate to the Windows 8 Server VM.  How much ram should you use for the Windows Server 8 VM? I’m starting out with 2GB.  If I find that I need more ram, I’ll report back here. Click Next.


7. On the virtual hard disk (VHD) screen, select “Use existing hard disk”. Click the folder icon virtualbox-open to locate and select the VHD you created in step 3. Click Next.


8. Click “Create” to create the new virtual machine.


9. Right click on your new VM and click “Settings…”.


10. Click “System” in the menu on the left. See the settings I used below.  These settings may or may not be required for your set up.



Note that you may have to enable VT-x or AMD-V support in your computer’s BIOS.


11. Click “Storage” in the menu on the left. Below is what I saw by default.


Please note that the first time I attempt to start the Windows Server 8 Beta VM, VirtualBox kept experiencing crashes.  I got the error, “Oracle VM Virtualbox Manager has stopped working“. To get around this error, I deleted the virtual disk above from the SATA Controller pictured above and added the VHD to the IDE Controller. Below are the steps I performed:

  1. Right click on the VHD under the SATA controller and select “Remove Attachment”.
  2. Right click on the IDE Controller and select “Add Hard Disk”.
  3. Click “Choose Existing Disk”.
  4. Locate and select the VHD you created in step 3.
  5. Click “OK” to save your settings.

12. Right click on your new VM and click “Start”.


After a few step up steps, you should now have Windows 8 Server VM installed and running in VirtualBox!


I think that Windows Server 8 virtualization will be very popular.  I’m looking forward to setting up some Windows 8 server VMs at work.

I hope you found this VirtualBox Windows 8 Server tutorial helpful.  If you have questions about these instructions, please post them in the comments section.

About Quentin Moore

Quentin Moore is the creator and senior editor of Tech Blog TV. He's a self proclaimed Tech Guru and spends most of his non-working hours playing with or blogging about tech gadgets. Check out Quentin's Google Plus Page.


  1. I had issues and adding the VHD to the IDE worked like a charm.
    thanks for the help.

  2. when i click on start it shows an error. dat is “Fatal: could read from the boot medium !System halted.”

  3. Got everything Server 2012 installed on Windows 7.  On boot is want me to press CTRL+ALT+DEL to sign in. When I do that, it takes me to the Windows 7  CTRL+ALT+DEL screen.  How do I get around this?

  4. Great, thanks a lot.

  5. After following all of the steps, I launch the Virtual machine and just a picture of a fish sits on the screen.  It never makes it past that. 

    •  When I’ve experienced this, I switched the VHD from the SATA controller to the IDE controller.  That fixed it.  Let us know what happens!

  6. Followed instructions but goes into a boot loop after the start.

    •  Are you getting an error at all?  Try attaching your VHD to the IDE controller instead of the SATA controller.  See step 11 for instructions.

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