How to Try Windows 8 Consumer Preview without using your own Personal PC as the Guinea Pig

Choice of Virtualization Appliance

Since none of us are made out of money and the whole point of trying out an evaluation of something is not to put any cash up front we will be concentrating on two Virtual appliances from two different vendors that are absolutely free and fully functional Virtual Appliances for Home Use. Along with these Virtual Appliances I am also including links to tutorials that will help you configure and install the Windows 8 Consumer Preview for whatever Virtual Appliance you may choose.

VMware Player

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This Virtual appliance can be downloaded directly from the VMware site after registering with VMware for a free account. You must download at the very Minimum Version 4.0.0 of the player for Windows 8 Consumer Preview to work. Once you have downloaded the executable file just double click on your mouse to start and click on all the default options to install on your PC, when your PC has completed rebooting click on these following links below to take you to the tutorials on installing and configuring the Windows 8 Consumer Preview on VMware Player.

How to Install the Windows 8 Consumer Preview on VMware Player by Brink from EightForums.com (Very Detailed)

Install Windows 8 Consumer Preview on VMware Player by Kubleo (You Tube Video How to Guide)

Oracle’s (Formally Sun’s) Virtual Box

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Downloading Virtual Box is allot more direct and easier than it was for VMware. What is also nice about Virtual Box is that you can download the installer for either Windows or Mac. When you have gone to the download link you can choose between either the Windows host or OS X hosts download link. Along with the Virtual Box installer insure to download the “VirtualBox Extension Pack – All Platforms” as well. The Downloaded version of Virtual Box and the extension Pack has to be at least version 4.1.2 for Windows 8 Consumer Preview to work. Once both executables have been downloaded double click on the virtual box executable first and like VMware player just accept the default settings until the installation is finished (No Reboot required). Upon completion of the Virtual Box install double click on the extension pack and install the add-on as well, just accept the defaults selected. When both executables have completed being installed click on these following links to take you to the tutorials on installing and configuring the Windows 8 Consumer Preview on Virtual Box.

How to Install Windows 8 In Virtual Box – What Do You See? By J. Dinesh from Sysprobs.com

How to Install “Windows 8 Consumer Preview” In Virtual Box by Brink from EightForums.com (Very Detailed)

What happens if I use a Virtual Appliance Version that is not covered in this Article?

You will then see Microsoft’s new re-incarnation of the Blue-Screen of Death as pictured here…

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Pretty Slick on Bill Gate’s part, anyways I’m going to post which Virtualization Appliances (Free and paid) that will not support the Windows 8 Consumer Preview…

· VMware Player 3.X and older

· VMware Workstation 7.X and older

· Microsoft Virtual PC (All Versions including Windows XP Mode on Windows 7)

· Microsoft Virtual Server (All Versions)

· Oracle’s Virtual Box 4.1.1 and Older

With that being said here are the Virtual Appliances (Free and Paid) that will Support the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, two of which I have already covered in this article…

· VMware Player 4.X or Higher

· VMware Workstation 8.X or Higher

· Oracle’s Virtual Box 4.1.2 or Higher

· Hyper – V in Windows Server 2008 R2

· Hyper – V in Windows 8 (Please Note this will work only if you install Windows 8 on a Hardware based machine, It will not work in a Virtual appliance)

For More information concerning Virtual Appliance Compatibility please check out the following link from Microsoft.

When Does the Windows 8 Consumer Preview Expire?

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As with all good things including the Windows 8 Consumer Preview it will expire as of this writing January 13, 2013. This will be basically about 2 to 3 months when the commercials editions are released for consumer purchase. If these dates change I will update this section accordingly.

In Conclusion

You should now have a fully functional Windows 8 Consumer Preview on your Personal Computer and you did not have to remove your existing Operating System to try it on. Please share your experiences and of course if there are any questions please feel free to leave a comment here or in the Connected Digital World Forums.

Acknowledgements – I would like to thank J. Dinesh from Sysprobs.com, Brink from EightForums.com, and Kubleo for their detailed how to guides on Installing and Configuring the Windows 8 Consumer Preview on Virtual Box and VMware Player. With their valiant efforts it took me allot less time to write this article.

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John has been in the IT profession for over 20 years along with being certified in both Comptia Security + (2008 edition) and a MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional) on Both Windows XP & Server 2003 Administration, He currently works as an Windows System Administrator for Northrop Grumman in the Greater Los Angeles Area and manages 3 Windows Active Directory Private Networks (Two 2008 R2 and One 2012 R2) along With 2 VMware EXSI 5.5 Servers in the US. He has been an avid fan and follower of Windows Home Server (Now the Essentials Role of Windows Server) and Visualization Since 2009. He is currently trying to exploit the full potential of Microsoft's Windows Server Operating System to the Home & Small to Medium Business Community along with the power of Visualization. When not being a Nerd and a Geek he likes to watch Movies, Read Comic Books, and most importantly spend time with his family.