While there are many resources today listing one or the other approach to
install Windows 8 Developer Preview, there are barely few that tell you why or
when you should adopt which approach. Not everyone's hardware is alike,
therefore there is no “one size fits all” solution. Different folks need
different solutions. And that's what this post aims to do. It lists out all the
approaches for installation, describes when you should use which, and finally
points you to useful links on the Web that show how to actually install the
preview. So let's plunge right in.
Before you start, take a note of these things:
- The Windows 8 Developer Preview is a
pre-beta version of Windows 8 for developers. The prerelease software may
change without notice.
- You can't uninstall the Windows 8
Developer Preview. To go back to your previous operating system, you must
reinstall it from restore or installation media.
Now that you are sure, you still want to go
ahead, you can read on.
What to install
There are three downloads on the MSDN download page:
- Windows 8 Developer Preview with developer
tools English, 64-bit (x64)
Size: 4.8 GB
This includes the following:
64-bit Windows 8 Developer Preview
Windows SDK for Metro style apps
- Microsoft Visual Studio 11 Express for Windows 8 Developer Preview
- Microsoft Expression Blend 5 Developer Preview
- 28 Metro style apps including the BUILD Conference app
You must download this if you want to work with Visual Studio 11, which is
the next generation IDE, after Visual Studio 2010.
Your PC must have a 64-bit processor for this to work.
- Windows 8 Developer Preview English,
Size: 3.6 GB
This download does not include developer tools. You need to download the
Windows 8 Developer Preview with developer tools 64-bit (x64) if you want to
build Metro style apps.
- Windows 8 Developer Preview English,
Size: 2.8 GB
This download also does not include developer tools. You need to download
the Windows 8 Developer Preview with developer tools 64-bit (x64) if you
want to build Metro style apps.
What you will need
- 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86)
or 64-bit (x64) processor
- 1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM
- 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit)
or 20 GB (64-bit)
- DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or
- Taking advantage of touch input requires a
screen that supports multi-touch
- To run Metro style Apps, you need a screen
resolution of 1024 X 768 or greater
How to install
Now we come to the main part. There are several approaches for this.
- Using VirtualBox (Oracle VM VirtualBox)
Use this option you don't want to go in for VMWARE. The general opinion
among users seems to be that VMWARE is better on many counts than VirtualBox.
But since I haven't tested them myself, I cant vouch for that fact.
Our very own C# Corer hero, Dhananjay Kumar aka debugmode, provides a step
by step article on how to install Win 8 on a virtualbox:
Step by step installation guide to install Windows 8 Developer Preview on
- Install on VMWARE
For this, you will need VMWARE Workstation 8 as that's the one supporting
Windows 8 installations.
Use this option when you want to leverage the powerful features of
virtualization. You can work on Win 8 without losing your existing
data or OS. You just work in a virtualized environment.
Kunal Chowdhury demonstrates a step by step guide to do this:
Step-by-Step Tutorial to Setup Windows8 in VMWare
For this approach, it's essential that your hardware (CPU) supports
virtualization. You can verify that by checking your CPU (processor)'s
configuration. For example, in my case, I determined that my processor does
not support virtualization by going to the Intel site and checking the code
of the processor against the listings. There are also many tools and
utilities that can help determine this:
Microsoft Hardware-Assisted Virtualization Detection Tool
The Hardware-assisted virtualization (HAV) detection tool checks if the
computer processor supports HAV and if this setting is enabled.
CPU-Z is a freeware that gathers information on some of the main devices of
- Install on a Virtual Hard Disk (VHD)
Use this option when you can't use either of the two approaches mentioned
Scott Hanselman has written an excellent article on this approach.
Guide to Installing and Booting Windows 8 Developer Preview off a VHD
(Virtual Hard Disk)
- Install by booting through a USB key
Patrick Hines describes his experience using this approach:
Installing Windows 8 Developer Preview on Samsung XE700T1A
You will need a USB key with minimum 16GB. And also loads of patience in
case the process doesn't work and you need to troubleshoot it like Patrick
- Dual boot with Win 7 and Win 8
This is a great option if you want to keep both Windows 8 and Windows 7 on
the same machine, and you don't want to or can't use any of the above
Lifehacker.com describes a step by step guide to do this.
How to Dual-Boot Windows 7 and Windows 8 Side By Side
- Direct install on a HDD.
This is the riskiest of the lot and will erase all the existing content on
the HDD so do this only if you are willing to do a clean install. In my
case, none of the above approaches worked, I wanted to install Win8 as soon
as possible, and I had a spare HDD so I chose option 6 but I would strongly
recommend not to use this approach as the developer preview software is not
even in beta stage.
Once you have installed Windows 8 successfully and want to look at some
developer resources, these may come in handy: