How to test-drive Windows 8 for free in VirtualBox

Want to dip your toes in Microsoft's modern UI before plunging head-first into Windows 8?

By Alex Castle, PC World |  Windows, virtualbox, windows 8

On the plus side, Windows 8 Enterprise packs some nifty features that you won't find in the vanilla version of Windows 8, including BitLocker encryption, Hyper-V virtualization, and the intriguing Windows to Go, which allows the OS to boot from removable storage. You also get IT-friendly tools such as BranchCache and AppLocker support. Though some of those tools are come with with Windows 8 Pro, Windows 8 Enterprise users can't download the Pro version's $10 Windows Media Center pack (sorry, CableCard lovers). Wikipedia has a handy chart comparing the features available for the different editions of Windows 8, including Windows RT.

While the Windows 8 ISO downloads, you should also download the latest version of VirtualBox for Windows. Run the installer, and choose the default settings for all of the install options. If you already have VirtualBox installed on your system, you can make sure that its current by clicking the Help menu at the top of the screen and selecting Check for Updates. Older versions don't offer native support for Windows 8, and VirtualBox's latest releases have greatly improved system usability while running Windows 8 on a virtual machine.

Set up your virtual PC

Youll need to create a new virtual PC for your Windows 8 installation. Start by clicking the Machine menu at the top of VirtualBox and selecting New. Next you'll walk through a couple of simple configuration menus that will define your virtual PC's "hardware."

The first menu will ask you to give your virtual PC a name, and to choose the operating system you'll be installing. Choose Windows 8, either '32-bit' or '64-bit', depending on the ISO that you downloaded earlier.

Next you must specify how much RAM to allocate to the virtual machine. To get good performance in the 64-bit version of Windows 8, Microsoft recommends having at least 2GB dedicated to it; we advise you to allocate at least 4GB, if possible. Bear in mind that VirtualBox will consume that memory while its running. If devoting that much memory to the virtual setup would cripple your physical PC, you may not be able to run Windows 8 smoothlyor you might do better to run the 32-bit version of Windows 8, which requires only 1GB of RAM.


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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