How to Install Windows 8 / 8.1 in VirtualBox on Windows 11

This article will supply a comprehensive guide on the setup and operation of Microsoft Windows 8/8.1 within a new virtual machine utilizing the Oracle VM VirtualBox 7.0 virtualization program executed on the Windows 11 or 10 operating system.

How to Install Windows 8 / 8.1 in VirtualBox on Windows 11

How to Set Up the Microsoft Windows 8 / 8.1 on Windows 11 PC using VirtualBox 7.0

Microsoft released the NT-based Windows 8.1 operating system on April 8, 2014, as an upgraded version 8, feeding improved features and improvements. Mainstream update support for Windows 8.1 was terminated on January 9, 2018, but extended support will be entirely completed on January 10, 2023.

The Windows 8/8.1 OS dramatically enhances the desktop experience, particularly with the improved Metro interface. Allowing high resolutions, this distribution of Windows has new technologies such as 3D printing functions, Wi-Fi Direct and Miracast.

Today, although Windows XP or Windows 7 systems are still used on personal or corporate computers, Windows 8x versions have been included in newer-generation desktop/laptop computers.

Since Microsoft offered a free upgrade to Windows 10 Home or Pro editions for users who held product keys for original legacy systems, several users worldwide have upgraded to the latest versions of Windows.

We recommend using virtual machines if you want to use a great-looking version of Windows 8x instead of Windows 10 or 11 on your physical computer. Using Microsoft’s latest distribution Windows 11 system on your host computer offers you security and performance and protects you on online platforms.

By utilizing the Oracle VM VirtualBox program, you gain the ability to efficiently run operating systems such as Windows, Linux, and even macOS on your PC, expanding your computing possibilities. It also provides a powerful virtualization solution for business and home users, supporting Intel and AMD-powered systems.

VirtualBox software is exhaustively consistent and works seamlessly with multiple software platforms, including Windows, Linux, Macintosh, and even Solaris. If you have a Laptop or Desktop computer processor that supports virtualization technology, you can use this virtual machine software.

Typically, when installing a virtual operating system using VirtualBox, the ISO file of the respective operating system is employed. In addition, installing an operating system with your physical computer’s DVD/CD drive is possible.

First, you must create a new machine using Oracle virtualization software to run the Windows 8.1 system. Then, after completing the system setup, you need to install the Guest Additions software to use the virtual pc in full-screen resolution or to transfer files between the host and the VM.

How to Create a New Virtual Machine for Windows 8 OS

After installing VirtualBox on your host computer, install the Extension Pack software. Suppose you install one of the Windows 8 or 8.1 versions after running the virtualization program later. In that case, you must select the relevant system version in the virtual machine wizard.

Before building the Windows 8 system on your PC using a virtual device, please download its ISO file from and keep it on your computer.

Step 1

Start the virtual machine wizard on the homepage of the Oracle VM software with the Machine / New (or Ctrl+N) shortcut from the tool menu or by clicking the New button.

Starting the Virtual Machine Wizard

Step 2

After opening the virtual machine preparation wizard, type Windows 8.1 in the Name field. After typing the name of your system, the operating system’s platform will be automatically selected in the Type and Version section.

You can change the location of the VM you will install with the Machine Folder option. Suppose you are going to install it on your host’s disk device. In that case, you will experience performance problems using an NVMe or SSD storage device. Therefore, you can improve performance by installing your virtual appliance on a storage apparatus with an external USB 3.0/3.1 or Type-C interface.

To add a Windows 8.x ISO file to the virtual pc, click Other from the drop-down menu in the ISO Image section.

Specifying the Name and Installation Location of the Virtual Machine

Step 3

Within the opened window, choose the Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro x64 ISO image that you previously downloaded to your computer and proceed by selecting it.

Adding Windows 8/8.1 ISO File to Virtual Machine

Step 4

With the unattended installation feature in the 7.x versions of VirtualBox, you can make faster system setups faster. However, as there is no need for such an operation, check the Skip Unattended Installation option and click Next.

Skipping Unattended Installation

Step 5

Set the minimum RAM size for the Windows 8x system according to the RAM capacity supported by your host computer. If your host computer possesses 16 GB of RAM and you intend to utilize the Windows 8.1 virtual appliance on your system exclusively, you can configure the RAM value to 8 GB.

Enabling EFI and Configuring RAM Size

Step 6

Within the machine’s hard disk settings window, you can add an existing virtual disk that you previously set up with VirtualBox or create a new vdisk, depending on whether you intend to establish Windows 8 from scratch.

To create a new virtual HDD for a clean system installation, continue with Create a virtual disk now selected by default.

Creating and Sizing a New Virtual Disk

Step 7

After creating the Windows 8.x guest machine, check the virtual hardware devices and close the window.

Hardware Summary of Virtual Machine

Step 8

Click Settings further to configure the hardware settings of the virtual machine.

Opening the Virtual Machine's Settings

Step 9

Configure the Shared Clipboard and Drag and Drop features to Bidirectional in the General / Advanced settings of the virtual pc.

Enabling Shared Clipboard and Drag and Drop Options

Step 10

In the System / Motherboard settings, untick the Floppy sign from the devices in the Boot Order list and click the down arrow to lower it to the bottom row.

Also, enable Secure Boot to make your virtual computer more secure.

Changing the Boot Order

Step 11

Specify the number of virtual CPUs your host can support for the Processor virtual hardware, and enable the Nested VT-x/AMD-V feature if you plan to run virtual systems on your VM.

Configuring Number of Virtual Processors and Enabling Nested VT-x/AMD-V

Step 12

Enable Nested Paging for better memory management between the virtual system and your host.

Enabling Nested Paging

Step 13

For the Display / Screen device, enable the 3D Acceleration option and configure the Video Memory value to 256 MB for better graphic images.

Enabling 3D Graphics Acceleration

Step 14

To improve the performance of your virtual PC, enable the Host I/O Cache feature of the Storage device’s controller.

Enable Host I/O for SATA Controls

Step 15

Since you will install Windows 8 on the NVMe virtual disk, delete the VDI disk from the SATA controller.

Deleting Windows 8.vdi Disk File

Step 16

Add NVMe controller to your Win8 virtual machine.

Adding an NVMe (PCIe) Port

Step 17

After adding the NVMe disk controller, add the Windows 8.vdi virtual disk and enable Host I/O.

Connecting VDI Disk to NVMe Port

Step 18

Enable Solid-State Drive (SSD) to adapt the VDI disk to SSD performance.

Editing VDI Disk File as SSD

Step 19

Ensure the 3.0 (xHCI) controller is enabled to use your USB 3.x storage devices or flash drives in your VM.

Selecting the USB 3.0 Controller

Step 20

To install the system on NVMe disks in VirtualBox without problems, you must configure MSI support and MemBufSize. Otherwise, you cannot see the virtual disk during installation.

Open PowerShell or CMD in the location where the virtualization program is installed and execute the codes below.

.\VBoxManage setextradata 'Windows 8' "VBoxInternal/Devices/nvme/0/Config/MsiXSupported" 0
.\VBoxManage setextradata 'Windows 8' "VBoxInternal/Devices/nvme/0/Config/CtrlMemBufSize" 0

Fixing NVMe Error

Step 21

To initiate the Windows 8.1 installation process, click the Start button to run the VM and commence the setup.

Running the Windows 8 Guest Machine

How to Install Windows 8

Once you have booted your virtual pc using the ISO image, the Windows setup wizard will guide you through installation. Similarly, the installation wizard can establish it on a physical computer.

Step 1

Upon reaching the Windows 8 format screen, proceed by selecting your desired system language, time zone, and keyboard layout, then click on the “Next” button.

Windows 8/8.1 Setup Screen

Step 2

Click the “Install Now” button within the Windows Setup window to resume installation.

Starting Windows 8 Setup

Step 3

If you have a genuine Windows 8/8.1 product key, type your relevant license key and click Next.

Entering the Product Key

Step 4

To proceed, accept the license deal of the Windows 8.1 platform by hitting on the “Next” button.

Accepting the License Agreement

Step 5

Since you will be installing a system from scratch on the virtual PC, click Install Windows Only in this window.

Installing Windows Only

Step 6

Choose the preferred disk on which you wish to install Windows and move by creating a new partition. You will only see Drive 0 because you have added a disk to your virtual appliance. After clicking the New button to create a new section on Drive 0, click the Apply button to use the disk size automatically set by the system.

Finally, when the information window opens that Windows will create additional spaces on your system, click OK and continue.

Partitioning a Virtual Disk

Step 7

Select the partition of the newly created disk drive and click Next.

Drive 0 Partition 4

Step 8

Please be patient as the Windows wizard prepares the necessary files for the installation process.

Preparing Files for Installation

Step 9

Windows will restart your computer when the timer expires.

Restarting the Virtual Computer

Step 10

Kindly remain patient as the system proceeds with the device preparation process.

Preparing Devices

Step 11

You can determine the user interface and theme color of the Windows 8.1 system on the Personalize screen. In the PC Name field, type a name for your guest computer and click Next.

Typing PC Name

Step 12

For a swift configuration of your virtual system, you may opt to click on the “Use Express Settings” button. As another option, if you select to modify the system’s controls according to your choices, click the “Customize” button to access and adjust the appropriate options.

Use Quick Settings

Step 13

Click Create a new account in the window where the Windows wizard prompts you to sign in with a Microsoft account.

Creating a New Microsoft Account

Step 14

On the Microsoft account creation screen, click Sign in without a Microsoft account.

Signing In Without a Microsoft Account

Step 15

Type your username and click the Finish button to continue.

Typing a Usernamev

Step 16

Wait while your system’s store apps are loaded.

Installing Apps From Store

Step 17

Upon reaching the desktop screen of your guest system, you can conveniently access and review detailed information about your system. To accomplish this, right-click the “My Computer” symbol inside the start menu and select the “Properties” choice from the following context list.

Windows 8.1 System Properties

How to Install Guest Additions

After installing Windows 8 using VirtualBox, the next step is installing the Guest Additions. After the Guest Additions installation, you can use the virtual machine as full screen. Furthermore, you can effortlessly utilize USB 3.0 or 3.1 devices and exchange files with your host computer.

Step 1

First, right-click on the start menu, then open Device Manager and check the drivers not installed on your system.

You will see that the driver for one unknown hardware is not installed, as in the image below, and you will also see that the video card driver of VirtualBox is not installed correctly under Display Adapters.

Viewing Device Manager

Step 2

To install the Guest Additions driver package, in the Windows 8.1 VM window, click Devices / Insert Guest Additions CD image.

Installing Guest Additions

Step 3

If the system does not automatically recognize the image file, open My Computer and click VBoxWindowsAdditions-amd64.exe in the content of the image file. If you are installing a 32-Bit Win8, you should select VBoxWindowsAdditions-x86 here.

VBoxWindowsAdditions-amd64

Step 4

Continue by clicking the Next button in the Oracle VM VirtualBox Guest Additions installation window.

Guest Additions Installation Wizard

Step 5

Keep the installation location as the default option and proceed by clicking Next.

Leaving the Installation Location as Default

Step 6

To install the virtual machine guest add-ons, click the Install button.

Selecting Components

Step 7

When the Windows Security window opens, check the Always Trust software from the “Oracle Corporation” option and click the Install button.

Confirming the Always Trust Oracle Software Option

Step 8

To apply the changes, please restart your virtual machine.

Restarting the Virtual PC

Step 9

When your guest system restarts, this time, you will be able to see all drivers installed in Device Manager.

Checking if All Drivers of Virtual PC Are Installed

Step 10

After installing your Windows machine, you should check that the local network settings are working correctly. By default, NAT is selected for the network adapter type in the VM creation wizard. You can use Bridge mode to get an automatic IP address from your local network’s ADSL modem or Router.

To test your Internet link on your Win8 guest machine, open the CMD command prompt and enter the command “ping 8.8.8.8” to ping the Google servers.

Testing Internet Connection by Pinging Google Servers

Step 11

If the ping test is successful, visit the Google website via a web browser.

Visiting Google Homepage Via Web Browser

Step 12

You can click View / Full-Screen Mode from the tool menu to adapt your Windows 8.x virtual system to the full-screen resolution of your host.

Controlling Full Screen Resolution

Step 13

You can transfer your files to your VM by drag-and-drop method from your host’s desktop or another location.

File Transfer Between Host and VM

How to Configure Shared Folder

You can provide a more straightforward file transfer method with the host by creating a Shared Folder on a Windows 8/8.1 VM.

Step 1

Click Devices / Shared Folders / Shared Folder Settings on the Win8 guest machine.

Shared Folder Configuration

Step 2

After opening the Shared Folders settings, click the Add button and open the Add Share window. First, create a folder on your host computer that you will use in common with the VM and add the folder’s location in the Folder Path section.

Specifying the Shared Folder Between Host and VM

Step 3

Configure the public folder as a network drive in the VM by enabling the Auto-mount and Make-Permanent options.

Checking Auto-Mount and Make Permanent Options

Step 4

When you view My Computer, you can see that the shared folder has been added to network locations.

Checking the Public Folder on My Computer

Step 5

Likewise, when you click on network and view VBOXSVR content under Computer, you can see Shared Folder.

Checking Public Folder over Network

Step 6

Create any file or document in the folder you specified in the Shared Folder structure and check whether it appears in the shared folder on the host and VM.

Checking the Shared Folder

How to Use USB Flash Memory

To use a USB stick or a portable storage drive in your VM, you need to enable VirtualBox’s USB hardware.

Step 1

Start by connecting your USB flash device to your host machine. Once connected, navigate to “My Computer” to verify if the device is successfully recognized and listed there.

Attaching USB Flash Memory to Host Computer

Step 2

Click Devices / USB / Kingston DataTraveler (Name of Your USB Device) on VirtualBox.

Enabling USB Device in VM

Step 3

The USB memory installed on the host will automatically connect to the virtual computer.

Checking Flash Memory in Virtual PC

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Installing Old Versions

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