How To Run Windows 10 Technical Preview On A Virtual Machine

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Windows 10 is currently out and it is buggy as heck. As it should be, as it is still in it's Technical Preview phase. But it is quickly growing in usage which is awesome to see. Over 1 million people have signed up to take the Windows 8 follow up for a spin and share their opinions on it. More surprisingly according to this latest Microsoft post is that many people are currently using the system heavily, as in not just taking it for a test spin on a spare laptop or Virtual Machine but more using it in their day to day activities. According to the numbers only 36% of install are currently on VM's and the rest make up full installs on PCs. It could be because most people have probably never heard of Virtual Machines, and if that is so, then read on as I'll be going through the steps to install and run Windows 10 Tech Preview on VirtualBox.

1. Download the Windows 10 Technical Preview ISO

To start off head on over to the Windows 10 Technical Preview download page and when given the options to install, select the option to download the ISO file instead. The ISO will run you almost 4GB of storage space however, so be sure to clear out some room for it, if you're like me and have everything ever on their hard drives. Save the file to somewhere that you can easily retrieve it for when we create our VM later on.

looking for iso files

2. Download Virtualization Software

I'm currently using Oracle's VirtualBox for my virtualization needs. It's a free and open sourced virtualization software that runs on pretty much on every platform and is pretty robust and can handle most of my needs. Personally I have it on my laptop to run Ubuntu whenever I need a break from Windows. Install VirtualBox and then fire it up. This is the way to go also if Mac users want to try out Windows 10. But feel free to choose your own software if you wish. VMWare is also another popular alternative.

3. Create A New Virtual Machine

create new virtual machine

After firing up VirtualBox click on the New button on the top nav and in the modal window give your new VM a name. For our task we'll be naming it "Windows 10". After that, leave the Type as it is on "Microsoft Windows" and the Version to Windows 8.1. You'll see two versions if Windows 8.1, one 64bit and one 32bit. Choose the one that matches the ISO you downloaded earlier.

4. Configure It Accordingly

Next we select the amount of RAM that we want to dedicate for this VM. By default, we're giving 2GB's worth, which is what I chose for my Windows 10 installation. You can do more, I wouldn't do less, but you don't want to to put so much that your actual OS comes to a halt. I did that the first time, and it was not a pretty sight.

configure vm

Next up we'll leave the "Create A Virtual Hard Drive Now" option in order to create our VM's hard drive. If you have an existing hard drive from a previous VM you might not be using then you can select it using the 3rd radio button option. But let's assume you don't and we're doing this from scratch.

The next option is really up to you. But for this technical preview I would just recommend "fixed size" as it will run faster and more than likely you won't be racking up too many GB's on it.

Next up you can select the size of the virtual hard drive that we just created. Again this one is up to you, but you'd of course want enough memory for the OS to run comfortably and for you to install applications and such. By default 25GB is selected, which is a good number I think.

We're almost done setting up our VM. Just select the Windows 10 VM we just created and click on "Start".

A dialog will appear asking you for the location of the OS. Simply navigate to your Windows 10 Technical Preview ISO file and you are good to go.

After a lengthy install process, that ran me about 20 minutes, you'll be greeted with Windows 10 for your testing pleasure. This is definitely my preferred way to test out Windows 10, because there's no risk to your data and OS if something goes wrong. You can always just delete the VM and spin off a new one if need be. But kudos to those people that did full installs directly onto their PC's and are using it as their day to day machine because they're the ones that are catching the majority of bugs and usability issues and shaping the next release of Windows.

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