Microsoft provides virtualization recommendations for Windows 8 developer preview

By Tom Warren, on 17th Sep 11 8:56 am with 11 Comments

Microsoft revealed on Friday that nearly a third of all Windows 8 developer preview copies are being run in a virtual environment.

The software giant clocked up 500,000 downloads of Windows 8 in less than 24 hours and is expected to announce further impressive download stats in the coming days. Microsoft’s Windows 8 telemetry systems indicate that one-third of the early installations were completed in a virtual environment. However, some virtual technologies do not fully support the Windows 8 developer preview and this has led to a frustrating experience for some early adopters.

“We apologize for not giving guidance up front on testing the Windows 8 Developer Preview in virtual machines,” said Microsoft group program manager Sue Bohn in a blog post on Friday. Bohn explains that for the ideal Windows 8 experience, a dedicated machine is essential. “Windows 8 takes advantage of hardware acceleration to enable a fast and fluid user interface,” she says. If a dedicated machine is not available then there’s a variety of virtualization options available to Windows 8 developer preview users:


  • Hyper-V in Windows 8 Developer Preview
  • Hyper-V in Windows Server 2008 R2
  • VMware Workstation 8.0 for Windows
  • VirtualBox 4.1.2 for Windows


  • Microsoft Virtual PC (all versions)
  • Microsoft Virtual Server (all versions)
  • Windows 7 XP Mode
  • VMWare Workstation 7.x or older

Microsoft warns that some virtualization products only provide a basic display driver that will not support the new Windows 8 user interface. “As a result, you get a noticeably slower, less responsive experience when compared with running the OS natively,” warns Bohn. Despite the recommendations, Windows chief Steven Sinofsky admits that the company could have done things better. “The full breadth of our testing was not done (or intended to be done) for the Preview,” explains Sinofsky. “Obviously this one was found early and we could have done a bit better,” he admits.

  • Bas Koene

    And VMWare Player doesn’t work… I’ve tried that.

    • Laurențiu Roman

      if it is the VM player  that comes with Workstation 7 (3.1.4 build-385536) it sure as hell won’t work.

  • Alique Williams

    Off topic but since C# will talk directly with the WinRT, is it still considered a managed langauge? Will it still be compiled to IL and jited at runtime? I don’t get it. Someone explain, thanks.

    • Ondra Moravek

      InterOP calls to native libraries, which will be in system of course, compiled for the target architecture. Sure it will be managed :).

    • Tom

      All .NET objects are still managed.  It’s only the WinRT objects that are unmanaged.

      The nice thing is that because WinRT objects are reference-counted, you can just treat them like standard .NET objects.  In either .NET or WinRT, you as the programmer can simply leave the objects behind once you’re done with them.  The runtime will then deallocate the memory for you — immediately in the case of WinRT, and opportunistically in the case of the .NET GC.

  • Phil Achleman

    No VM for me, have it running my 6 or 7 yrs old Inspiron 1521 and couldn’t be happier with it!  It reminds me a lot of the Win 7 beta days where I sat in awe of it being a beta!  Nice job MS!  Looking forward to beta!

  • Chethan S Karkala

    Works fine for me on VirtualBox 4.1.2 on Ubuntu 11.10 Beta.

  • Sent from my toilet

    I’m waiting until the next release to install. We’ll see how long I can hold out though. Lol

  • Maciej Kuczara

    The best option form me was to convert iso to vhd mount it as set as dual boot with Win 7. It works perfectly with minimal overhead.

  • David Johnson

    I want my start menu back.. metro is nice, the apps are ok.. Guess I have to code up a Metro Explorer but they’ve added so much stuff to windows explorer that the more I use it the more features I find. For example the checkbox to limit the search to this directory and not the children.. there seems to be limited .rar compatability, which unfortunately is why I winrar’d or .zipx’d the directories in the first place I don’t want them searched. The autobackup feature is another item I’ll be turning off as 300G of space disappeared off of a drive that I was short on space.. now to find that setting again! I love everything except the dang metro start menu as I had to spend a good couple of hours unpinning stuff that was automagically added when I installed other applications… Why would I want the uninstaller right on the desktop right next to the application! one miss click and bye bye app. and I need LASTPASS on the metro Internet explorer. Have to check to see if there is a right click view on regular ie 10.. I think I did see it somewhere..

  • Anonymous

    YES i knew that Virtualbox will make windows 8 work