Easiest way to setup a new virtual machine with Windows 8 Developer Preview 64 bit

#bldwin was an overwhelming experience. The keynote session, demos and content – all are awesome!!! I just can’t wait my PC to have the new bits. I started the Developer Preview download around 30 minutes back. Lets see how long it takes.

It took around 1 hour 25 minutes for me on a 6Mbps connection. The wait is finally over and my download shows as finished. I download the one which has the base image and Metro Style App Tools and Samples.

If you are looking to get Windows 8 Developer Preview bits, you can download it from http://developer.microsoft.com.

Once you download it (as I did in the first place), you can either install it on a fresh machine or setup a dual boot or run it as a virtual machine on your Win7 machine. I don’t have an additional machine and neither I want to dual boot the OS. I am more interested in running it as virtual machine and that’s what I finally did. I created the VHD and then used it to power up my virtual machine.

In this post, I am going to share the steps that I have taken to create my VHD and configuring it as a new virtual machine.

Step 1: 

Download the iso image. We need to access the install.wim file within the .iso file. To do that you must mount .iso images or burn them to physical media to access the .wim files within the .iso file.  I choose to mount it. 

How do I mount it?

If you already have some of the freewares like Deamon tools or Windows AIK, you can use them or else you can get one Virtual CloneDrive from here: http://www.slysoft.com/en/download.html

Once you install the software, you can go to your iso file and right click. You will see a mount option there. That’s all you need to use.

Step 2:

To create and attach a VHD (Virtual Hard Disk)

You can find various ways to do this here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg318049(WS.10).aspx

I decided to use the command line approach i.e. Create and attach a VHD by using Diskpart. Here are the steps:

  1. To start the DiskPart command interpreter, open an elevated Command Prompt window (click Start, right-click Command Prompt, and click Run as administrator), and then type:


    The following example creates a dynamically expanding VHD that has 25 GB maximum size and saves the VHD file in the folder, C:\vhd.

    create vdisk file=C:\VHD\test.vhd maximum=25000 type=expandable

    select vdisk file=C:\VHD\test.vhd
    attach vdisk
    create partition primary
    assign letter=v
    format quick FS=NTFS label=VHD

    Please note that every line here represents a command that you need to type one time each. If you copy everything and paste in command prompt, you may get some errors. Have some patience and type one by one. Once you complete this command, you can see a new drive V: in your My Computer view.

Step 3:
Apply the install.wim to newly created VHD.

I chose to use the Install-WindowsImage.ps1 Windows PowerShell script. Windows PowerShell is included in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

1. First download this script at Install-WindowsImage PowerShell Script (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=204240).

2.  Now I have to open the PowerShell command prompt and run this script

  1. Click Start, and type PowerShell in the Start text box.

  2. In the results pane, right-click Windows PowerShell, and then click Run as Administrator.

  3. Type  C:\vhd> Install-WindowsImage.ps1 –WIM d:\sources\install.wim -Apply -Index 1 -Destination V:


We’re done. The VHD is ready for use. Last step is that you need to set this as a boot option.

Here is how you do it:

Open a command prompt with elevated rights and navigate to the Windows\System32 folder of your existing Windows 7 installation (not the one of the mounted VHD!). Then use the following command:


 1: bcdboot.exe V:\Windows

This of course assumes that you’ve also used “V” as drive letter for your VHD. Also note that you should enable the Hardware Virtualization in BIOS settings to boot from VHD.

And that’s it! The next time you reboot, you will be presented with a nice new boot menu that let’s you choose between your existing system and the Windows 8 VHD.


I also looked at the virtual box solution as I had 64 bit machine and I download the 64 bit version of iso.


Another post which details out the options in much greater details can be found here:


Wish you happy playing with Windows 8 Developer Preview. Don’t hurt yourself. Play carefully. Things are bound to change so make big assumptions. Play big guesses.

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Comments (1)

  1. Rahul Johri says:

    Excellent Article Sandeep!!