About Me

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Web person at the Imperial War Museum, just completed PhD about digital sustainability in museums (the original motivation for this blog was as my research diary). Posting occasionally, and usually museum tech stuff but prone to stray. I welcome comments if you want to take anything further. These are my opinions and should not be attributed to my employer or anyone else (unless they thought of them too). Twitter: @jottevanger

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Installing Windows 8 Consumer Preview as a virtual machine

Windows 8 Consumer Preview is out. By all accounts the new OS is a radical departure from the Windows UX paradigm of the last 2 decades and it's quite possibly going to be a very important OS, not least because of convergence it apparently shows between desktop and mobile, with the interface rethought with a focus on touch. I've not played with it yet because I've just completed the installation, but I thought I'd put up a couple of words about that process. So far it's evident that the look is very different indeed.
Most of these instructions are explained in more detail and with screenshots here so you might want to consult that too, but that was written for an earlier release and I found a couple of gotchas fow which I've gleaned answers so I thought it worth putting them here. I've used VMWare Player, which is free. There are alternatives, just pick your version carefully as not all will work with Win8. So here's a quick step-by-step.

Step 1
Grab the 32 bit ISO from here
Step 2
Install VMWare Player 4. Version 3.x doesn't work and will give you a "HAL_INITIALIZATION_FAILED" error (I know, I tried). VMWare Workstation 8 also works apparently, as do some versions of other virtualisation software.
Step 3
Create a new VM. Just point at the ISO, wherever you saved it, and VMWare will do the rest. Pick "Windows" and then "Windows 7", don't put in a licence key. Let it go.
If you get an error saying "Windows cannot read the setting from the unattended answer file", disable the floppy drive in your VM - it's an icon at the bottom right (see here).
Step 4
When you get to the licence key screen, use the following: DNJXJ-7XBW8-2378T-X22TX-BKG7J (see here)
Step 5
Set up your account. I'm not sure how optional this was but I did it anyway. They ask for a lot of compulsory info but it does open up SkyDrive and other interesting aspects of the new OS so it's worth doing, I think. You can always bullshit.

You're done. Then find your way around. Hint: the Windows key is useful.