Sample Windows 8 in a VM!

July 19, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Windows 7 is barely new but already Microsoft is in the advanced testing stage of Windows 8, a new version of the operating system that is set to be a massive diversion from previous versions.

Whereas Windows 7, Vista and XP were designed purely for use on desktop and laptop computers, Windows 8 will be optimized for use on tablet devices as well as desktop computers, netbooks, notebooks and even games consoles!

Featuring a user interface based on the Zune/Windows Phone 7 Metro UI, Windows 8 is also scalable, meaning that it can be installed on many different devices regardless of their hardware architecture. Aware of the success of Android tablets, Microsoft has opted to make Windows 8 ready to install on tablets powered by ARM processors as well as the usual desktop and laptop computers equipped with Intel and AMD CPUs.

Sample Windows 8 in a VM!

However, the release of Windows 8 is some months away right now, and unless you are able to use internal beta releases you won’t be able to test the new OS until the public betas are released.


Some enterprising insiders have released beta versions of Windows 8 for use in virtual machines, specifically VMware Fusion and VMware Workstation. This means that the wait is over, and you can try out Windows 8 today!

Download Windows 8 Beta

In order to run the Windows 8 beta, you will need a copy of the latest version of VMware Fusion VMware Workstation (depending on your host operating system). Before doing this, however, you should get your hands on a copy of the Windows 8 internal beta VM.

There are several of these doing the rounds, and your best bet is to try the torrent sites. The legality of using a leaked beta is open to question, but strictly speaking as there is no EULA released with the software then there would be no risk of action. Obviously if this was a full release of the finished operating system we wouldn’t be suggesting you download the virtual machine.

Once you have found the VM in question, download it with uTorrent or whatever your preferred torrent downloader is. This may take a while depending on your Internet speed and the other leechers and seeders downloading the file.

Running the Windows 8 Beta VM

Next, head to and download an evaluation copy of the new VMware Workstation 8 or VMware Fusion 4, which you will need to install. Once this is up and running and you have unzipped the downloaded Windows 8 beta virtual machine, all you need to do is open the VM file via File > Open. Browse to the extracted Windows 8.vmx file, select it to open and in a few moments time you will be enjoying some Windows 8 flavored goodness!

Note, however, that this is an early beta, and as such you won’t find the new user interface that is likely to become the star of Microsoft’s new operating system. What you will find is an OS that isn’t that different to Windows 7!

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