How To Run Windows 8 Without Installing It

Upgrading the current OS to Windows 8 or even dual-booting is not required to take a sneak-peek into Microsoft's newest creation. If the only thing you want is a test drive, there are ways of doing it. The one we are going to present today uses VirtualBox, a program that basically creates a virtual machine, relying on the hardware configuration. It's not the easiest method but, once you close the program, the current operating system remains as it was and you won't have to be frustrated about any unresolved bugs that Windows 8, the developer preview version, has.

Using VirtualBox is like creating another PC, within. The new virtual machine will use some amount of your existing RAM and hard drive space so be sure you have enough to spare. In the steps presented below we are going to assign 2GB of RAM and 20GB as storage. Using less it's possible, but not recommended. Also, to make sure that the computer is up to the task, use this Microsoft tool.

How to preview Windows 8 in VirtualBox

First, download Windows 8 and VirtualBox. Install the last one using the simple Next->Next procedure.

Once downloaded, launch VirtualBox and go to Machine->New, then click next on the notice window.

Choose settings as shown below, where you may change the name of the machine. All other fields should remain as shown.

Now, select the amount of RAM you want to assign the virtual Machine. As we stated before, 2GB should be enough. You can use less, around 1.5GB, if you are installing the 32-bit version.

When creating the virtual hard disk, use the default options (Boot hard disk and create new hard disk). In the next window, go for fixed-size storage to avoid any kind of problems.

Afterwards, choose how much storing space you are willing to allocate. A minimum of 20GB is required so any number beyond that is safe. Click next and the "creating" process will begin.

Once finished, return to the main VirtualBox window and the Windows 8 machine should appear. Select it, press CTRL+S and go to the System menu, from the sidebar. Under the motherboard bar, check the "Enable IO APIC" box. Now go to Processor and check "Enable PAE/NX". Under the Accelerations tab, check both VT-x/AMD-V and Nested Paging boxes. These options will smooth the operation.

Go to the Storage section (from the sidebar) and click on the CD symbol marked in the picture.

Now click on "Choose a virtual CD/DVD disk file" and then browse to the Windows 8.iso file that was previously downloaded and select it.

Return to the main VirtualBox menu, right-click on the Windows 8 virtual machine and click on Start. The installation process will begin and everything should work by itself from now on. Make sure you choose the Custom Installation option and the HDD you want to install it.

That's it. To quit the session simply close VirtualBox and you are back to the old, plain Windows 7.