How To Install Windows 8.1 On VirtualBox 6.1 In Less Than 10 Minutes

Windows 8.1 first released in August 2013 has been a widely used operating system by many individuals and organizations all over the world. It came with a completely new user interface design that featured a completely new WINDOWS START MENU with live tiles and widgets.  New features also included BOOTING TO DESKTOP that allows users to set Windows to go to the desktop and not the start menu when signing in, HOT CORNERS whereby each corner of the screen has different functions, an improved user interface for the WINDOWS STORE, support for 3D PRINTING, support for MIRACAST STREAMING, A revamped search function known as BING SMART SEARCH that combines Web search results with information stored on your PC. Windows 8.1 can be installed on many physical and virtual platforms. If you are a Mac or Linux user and would like to run Windows without having to restart your Mac or Linux PC, read this tutorial to learn how to create a Windows 8.1 virtual machine on Oracle VM VirtualBox 6.1 in less that ten minutes. If you prefer to watch a video tutorial click on the VIEW YOUTUTBE TUTORIAL button to watch it now! 

Requirements

In order to complete this tutorial successfully the following is a list of items that may be needed. Please ensure to have these items available before taking implementation action on this tutorial to ensure success:
1) A desktop or laptop with a dual core processor, 4GB RAM and atleast 50GB of free disk space
2) An operating system that is supported by VirtualBox (Windows , MacOS, Linux, Solaris)
3) The Windows 8.1 disk image file (ISO file) or physical DVD
4) An internet connection to download Windows Updates.

Overview

1) Download the Windows 8.1 disk image file from the Microsoft website alternatively, purchase a Windows 8.1 dvd from local IT store or on amazon.com
2) Download and install VirtualBox 6.1 
3) Create a new Windows 8 virtual machine and attach the Windows 8.1 disk image file or DVD
4) Install Windows 8.1 and install the virtualbox guest additions software
5) Restart the virtual machine then install Windows updates. 

Step 1: Download The Windows 8.1 Disk Image File From The Microsoft Website

1) Click HERE to go to the Microsoft download page where you can get a copy of the Windows 8.1 disk image file. On the SELECT EDITION drop down menu, choose WINDOWS 8.1 and click on CONFIRM.

You will be prompted to SELECT A PRODUCT LANGUAGE, choose ENGLISH or any other language you prefer and click on CONFIRM

There will be two download buttons that will be displayed for Windows 8.1 32 bit and 64bit. Click on the 64bit download button. Please note that the ISO file is about 4GB in size

Purchase A Windows 8.1 DVD From A Local IT Store Or On Amazon.com

2) If you face challenges downloading the Windows 8.1 disk image file, an alternative is to purchase an installation disk from an online store such as amazon.com or from a IT store in your area. 

 

Step 2: Download And Install VirtualBox 6.1

3) Click HERE to go to the VirtualBox 6.1 download page and click on the download link for you operating system on the VIRTUALBOX PLATFORM PACKAGES section. For MacOS the installation file is about 120MB in size. The VirtualBox installation file for Windows is 100MB and for Linux hosts the file size ranges from 85MB to 120MB

4)  The installation process of VirtualBox is not exactly the same for all operating systems however in this tutorial you will learn the installation process of VirtualBox on MacOS.

Open FINDER and go to the downloads folder or any other folder where the VIRTUALBOX.dmg file is located. Right click on the file and click on OPEN. 

Double click on the VIRTUALBOX.pkg file to open the VIRTUALBOX installer. Click on CONTINUE and click on INSTALL. Enter your password on the popup that appears and click on INSTALL SOFTWARE. 

Step 3: Create A New Windows 8 Virtual Machine And Attach The Windows 8.1 Disk Image File Or DVD

5) Open VIRTUALBOX and click on MACHINE > NEW to open the virtual machine creation wizard. Change the mode of the wizard from guided mode to expert mode by click on the EXPERT MODE button.

Type in a name for the WINDOWS 8.1 virtual machine on the NAME text box. Choose a folder to save virtual machine files on the MACHINE FOLDER folder selection box and set the TYPE option to MICROSOFT WINDOWS. 

Select WINDOWS 8.1 (64 BIT) on the VERSION drop down menu and click on CONTINUE

6) On the MEMORY SIZE dialogue box, select the amount of memory to be allocated to the Windows 8.1 virtual machine. You ca use the slider to set the amount of memory or you can manually enter amount of memory on the input box next to the slider. 

7) On the HARD DISK dialogue box, click on the CREATE A VIRTUAL HARD DISK NOW radio button and click on NEXT

8) Next, choose the type of file that you would like to use for the new virtual hard disk. File formats that VirtualBox supports are VDI (virtualbox disk image) , VHD (virtual hard disk) and VMDK (virtual machine disk). Select the VDI option and click on CONTINUE.

9) Next, choose whether the new virtual disk file should grow as it is used or if it should be created at its maximum size. Select the DYNAMICALLY ALLOCATED option as a dynamically allocated disk only uses up space o your computer as it fills up. Click on CONTINUE to proceed to the next step

10) On the FILE SIZE AND LOCATION dialogue box, select the size of the virtual disk, choose a folder to save the virtual disk and click on CREATE

Attach The Windows 8.1 Disk Image File To The VM

11) To attach the Windows 8.1 disk image file, right click on the newly created virtual machine and click on SETTINGS. Click on the STORAGE tab and click on the ADD OPTICAL DRIVE button.

Click on the ADD button, browse to the folder were the Windows 8.1 disk image file is located and click on OPEN. 

From the list of NOT ATTACHED ISO files, select the WINDOWS 8.1 ISO file, click on CHOOSE and click on OK

Step 4: Start The Virtual Machine And Install Windows 8.1 And VirtualBox guest additions software.

12) Right click on the virtual machine and click on START > NORMAL START. 

Once the virtual machine boot process completes, a program called WINDOWS SETUP will open. Select a LANGAUAGE TO INSTALL, TIME AND CURRENCY FORMAT, KEYBOARD OR INPUT METHOD and click on NEXT

13) Click on the INSTALL button to proceed to the next step

14) Next, enter your product key to ACTIVATE Windows 8.1 if you do not have a product key you may need to purchase one from an authorized Microsoft dealer. However if you are creating the virtual machine for learning purposes or in a non production environment, click HERE for a list of free product key that you can use.

15) The MICROSOFT SOFTWARE LICENSE AGREEMENT for WINDOWS 8.1 will be shown, to proceed with the installation you need to accept the license terms. Click on the I ACCEPT THE LICENSE TERMS check box and click on NEXT.

16) Next, Windows 8.1  will be installed on the virtual hard disk that was created in the previous steps. Click on the CUSTOM: INSTALL WINDOWS ONLY (ADVANCED) option to proceed.

17) Select the virtual hard disk labelled as DRIVE 0: UNALLOCATED SPACE and click on NEXT to start the Windows 8.1 installation process

18) Windows Setup will show a progress bar indicating the installation progress. Wait for the installation process to complete. 

Post Installation Setup

19) Once the installation process is complete, you need to complete the post installation setup. 

On the PERSONALIZE screen, choose a color and enter a computer name on the PC NAME text box then click on NEXT.

20) On the SETTINGS screen, you can customize things such as choosing whether to turn on or to turn off DO NOT TRACK in INTERNET EXPLORER, whether to install WINDOWS UPDATES automatically and more. If you would like to make any changes click on the CUSTOMIZE button however if there are no changes you would like to make, click on the USE EXPRESS SETTINGS button.

21) On the YOUR ACCOUNT screen, enter a username and password that you will use to log into Windows 8.1. Be sure to also enter a password hint that will help you remember your password if you forget it in future. 

Once done, click on the FINISH button. 

Step 5: Install The VirtualBox Guest Additions Software

22) VIRTUALBOX GUEST ADDITIONS is software that enables improved performance and functionality in virtual machines. You install Guest Additions inside the virtual machine and this allows for features such as FULL SCREEN MODE.

To install VIRTUALBOX GUEST ADDITIONS, from the VIRTUALBOX menu bar, click on DEVICE > INSERT GUEST ADDITIONS CD IMAGE. 

Open WINDOWS EXPLORER and double click on the VIRTUALBOX GUEST ADDITIONS cd drive.

23) On the VIRTUALBOX GUEST ADDITIONS SETUP welcome screen click on NEXT until you get to the CHOOSE COMPONENTS stage

24) Click on the START MENU ENTERIES check box and click on the INSTALL button. When the installation process is complete you will be prompted to restart the virtual machine for the changes to take effect.

Step 6: Restart The Virtual Machine And Install Windows Updates

25) Once the WINDOWS 8.1 virtual machine restarts, click on START then click on PC SETTINGS. Click CONTROL PANEL > SYSTEM AND SECURITY.

26) Proceed by clicking on WINDOWS UPDATE > CHECK FOR UPDATES. If there are any updates available WINDOWS 8.1 will prompt you to download and install them. 

You can make changes to how and when WINDOWS UPDATES  are installed on the WINDOWS 8.1 VM by clicking on CHANGE SETTINGS option.

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