Windows 8 is already here and making some waves in the PC and tablet world. It has been the first time since Windows 95 that I have seen Microsoft radically revamped windows UI and did it for good. Not just that, it’s a solid operating system at its core, bringing the best of tried and tested Windows 7 and beautiful UI which bridges the gap between mobile, tablet and PC.
To understand what a fun it is to explore Windows 8, you have to get yourself in the waters of Windows 8. To install it, you have 3 options:
1. Upgrade your existing OS to Windows 8
2. Install Windows 8 on separate partition (dual boot)
3. Install Windows 8 on virtual machine
If you just want to play with Windows 8, the safest option of all is to install it on a virtual machine. That way you can ensure that your favorite OS and personal data remains intact and still get to play with Windows 8 as if it was installed on physical machine. That is the option I went for!
Which Virtual Machine Software is the Best?
After bit of googling I came to know that Windows 8 is supported on below platforms:
1. Hyper-V in Windows 8 Developer Preview
2. Hyper-V in Windows Server 2008 R2
3. VMware Workstation 8.0 for Windows
4. VirtualBox 4.1.2 for Windows
The quickest and easiest of all is to download VM player from VMWare site, the non-commercial version of which is free of cost.
Creating Virtual Machine
VM player provides New Virtual Machine wizard which takes you step by step through the process of creating virtual machine. So let’s get started!
Step 1. Select the option I will install the operating system later
Step 2. Select the Guest operating system as Microsoft Windows and version as Windows 8
Step 3. Give virtual machine a name and location where VMWare will store the virtual machine files
Step 4. Keep the recommended disk space as it is i.e. 60 GB and select the option Store virtual disk as a single file. Don’t worry if you don’t have 60 GB of free space. VMWare won’t allocate 60GB when creating a virtual machine, it is just maximum disk space. In other words, VMWare will occupy more space as and when needed, max being 60 GB.
Step 5. VM wizard will show you the setting you chose for confirmation. Press Finish to create the virtual machine
Installing Windows 8
Well done! Now that you successfully completed the important step of creating virtual machine, let’s get to the installing Windows 8 on it without further ado. I can assure you that it is even simple than creating virtual machine.
Step 1. Select the virtual machine you created in VMware player and click on Play virtual machine
Step 2. Once the VM starts, it checks for the presence of bootable device to load OS. You have two options to start the installation:
a. Insert the bootable Windows 8 installation disc in physical CD-ROM OR
b. Click on the Change CD/DVD Settings popup at the bottom of the VM
In the dialog box, select Use ISO image file option and select the Windows 8 image file
Click on Restart VM button
Step 3. Now WMware will start installing Windows 8 on your virtual machine.
Step 4. Select the language and keyboard layout.
Step 5. Click on Install Now button
Step 6. Click on Accept on License Terms screen.
Step 7. In the type of installation screen, click on Custom: Install Windows Only (Advanced)
Step 8. Installer will present you with the drive on which to install the Windows. Since we have only one drive, click on Next
Step 9. Windows will start the installation. You can enjoy reading a book or play some nice movie as it will take approximately an hour for Windows 8 installation to complete.
Step 10. Once the setup has installed the core OS, it will present you with personalization options starting with Color and PC name.
Step 11. In the next step, you can either choose express settings to accept default settings or customize the options as you like.
Step 12. This is the major change when it comes to Windows 8. Everything in Windows 8 is linked with an email account. So when login to Windows, you need to use Windows live account or create new if you don’t have it already. Of course, you could sign in without Microsoft account, but it’s better to have one as you won’t be able to use services like SkyDrive or Windows store without it.
Step 13. Sign in with your windows email address and password.
Step 14. In this step, you will provide some security information like phone number, alternate email address, security question and answer. This information will be used in case you forget your login password.
Step 15. Voila! Windows 8 is ready at your service.
It’ easy as pie, isn’t it? I would love to hear about your experiences or problems with Windows 8. So start exploring Windows 8, I bet it will be fun and yes, keep geeking!