UPDATE: 25 August 2012 – VMware just released a new version of VMware Player and now fully supports Windows 8. See more: VMware Player 5 for Windows 8
Installing Windows 8 into an existing virtual machine running Windows 7 or the Windows 8 Developer Preview is straightforward, quick, and uneventful.
VMware Player is a popular virtual machine, but even the latest update (Feb 2012 to version 4.0.2 build-591240) does not yet know about Windows 8, so installing Windows 8 as a new machine is a bit tricky.
VMware Player wants to know what operating system you are installing, with Windows 8 not an option, selecting “Other” works up to a point. It installs fine, but without drivers for networking (among others). So this is quite useless. Selecting Windows 7 also works, but you wont get very far. Whether you tell VMware Player a product key or not, it will come to an error message complaining that it “.. cannot read <product key> ..”. It will restart when you close or accept this message only to reach the same point.
So here is the procedure for installing Windows 8 Consumer Preview as a new virtual machine in VMware Player.
Download a Windows 8 Consumer Preview ISO image. Note and copy the product key from the download page.
Start VMware Player, click Create a New Virtual Machine. In the next dialog click “I will install the operating system later.” On the next page select Microsoft Windows and Windows 7 in the drop-down menu.
Select the file location for the virtual machine, disk and other parameters – the defaults will work fine and those items can be changed later.
Click on Change CD/DVD Settings and then click Use ISO image file. Browse to your downloaded ISO image file, and click OK.
Click Custom: Install Windows only (advanced).
There will be a variety of items to be entered, but the installation will only take a few minutes.
Pretty soon you will be logged in and at your Start screen.
There is one other chore you should take care of before getting into Windows 8, that is installing the VMware Tools. Click on the Desktop tile (just to get a less cluttered screen). Then from the Virtual Machine dropdown menu (top VMware Player bar), click Install VMware Tools. In the upper right area you will see a notice. Click it.
Again there will be some additional items to enter or accept.
Once the VMware Tools are installed working with you virtual machine is much easier. The first thing you might want to do is to resize the window in which Windows 8 runs. You can do so by just dragging the VMware Player window (lower right corner).
That’s it – have lots of fun!
© 2011 Ludwig Keck