Installing Windows Technical Preview in a VMware Player Virtual Machine
Microsoft has made Windows Technical Preview, an early glimpse at Windows 10, available for download. In another post, Installing the Windows 10 Preview, the “upgrade” path was described. This article focuses on doing a clean install in a VMware Player virtual machine. Of course you need the virtual machine program on your host system. If you do not already have VMware Player you can download it from the VMware download page. This program is free for non-commercial use.
To create a virtual machine you need the installer disk image file, ISO file, of the Windows Technical Preview package. It can be downloaded from this Microsoft download site. It is available in several languages and in 32 and 64-bit versions. If your machine is of recent vintage the 64-bit version is appropriate and this article describes the installation of that version. Note that this file is quite large, around 3 GB, and thus may take some time to be downloaded.
Here are the steps for installing Windows Technical Preview in a virtual machine
Start VMware Player and click Create a New Virtual Machine.
The New Virtual Machine Wizard dialog opens. Since you have the downloaded ISO file, click Installer disc image file (iso): and then browse to the location of the file, most likely your Downloads folder. Click Next. In the next window give your new virtual machine a name and select the place on your host machine where it is to reside. VMware Player is very flexible and you can place the file on any drive, any folder where you have plenty of space. You can even create a new folder in this dialog.
Next specify the size of the virtual disk that will be used by your VM. The default will come up as 60GB, I like to give a VM at least 100GB of space. Although not all of that space will be used at once, do make sure that you have plenty of disk space available where you locate this virtual disk. I like the virtual disk to be one whole large file rather than a collection of little ones and check Store virtual disk as a single file.
Click Next and inspect the recap of your selections. The defaults picked by VMware Player will most likely create a fine, functioning virtual machine that will use you host systems resources, memory, audio, networking, etc. as needed. You can customize the “hardware” that will be used or simulated. You can modify any of these choices later on. Click Finish. You now have a virtual new computer without an operating system installed but with the ISO file loaded. This will be just like putting a DVD into the tray of a brand new machine. The Wizard finishes and you now see your new computer listed and selected, ready to be “turned on”.
Click Play virtual machine to proceed to the installation of the operating system. If you have every installed an operating system before, you will see the familiar sequence. This is a slow process. The virtual machine will reboot several times (not your host computer). There will a several places where the process stops for input from you. The first such stop comes very quickly. You see Windows Setup and need to click Install now.
Next come the license terms. You know that the only way to go on is to accept the terms.
Check the box I accept the license terms and click Next. Don’t worry about the banner you will see at the bottom about installing VMware Tools. We will get to that once Windows is up and running.
Next you need to make a selection Which type of installation do you want? The upgrade type is already selected, but that is not what you want. You are making a clean, new installation so click Custom: Install Windows only (advanced).
Next you will see the only disk that is available for the installation, it is selected, so just click Next. The the Settings options. Just click Use express settings.
Shortly you will be asked to sign in to you Microsoft account. This requires your email address and password. Go ahead and enter that information. Windows 10, like Windows 8 before, has you sign on on boot. It sets up your services and is a good security measure.
You likely will be asked to verify your account. The process will send you a phone text message or email (your host machine needs to be online for this to work).
The message will be a number that you type into the next screen. This has worked less than perfectly for me. Microsoft gives you an escape from this verification step. You can click I can’t do this right now and the process will continue.
If you already have a virtual machine using the same login credentials you may be asked if this new machine should replace the existing one or be set up as a new machine. Click Set this up as a new PC instead and then Next to continue.
A few more minutes as the Windows Technical Review sets itself up and – behold – the Windows desktop comes up. Congratulations, your installation succeeded. But you are not quite finished. Now is the time to take care of that banner at the bottom.
Click Install Tools in the bottom banner. Then click the blue banner, “Tap to choose…”.
Click Run setup64.exe. This will install some VMware support tools to provide smooth mouse operation, drag and drop between host and the virtual machine and other services. Nice! Follow the instructions and allow the program to make changes, accept the typical installation and finish the install process. The VMware Tools installer will ask to restart the machine. Allow it to do so.
Now your new Windows 10 preview will come up with the familiar lock screen and login screen. Now, finally you can try out the new world of Windows 10.
In my next article we will take a look at how Windows 10, or at least the Windows Technical Preview serve the needs of photography enthusiasts.
© 2014 Ludwig Keck