Windows Server 8 & VMware Workstation ~ My blog about Active Directory and everything else

Friday, September 16, 2011

Windows Server 8 & VMware Workstation

In a previous post I outlined installing Windows Server 8 Developer preview and all the current testing and screenshots have been done in a virtual box environment.

I also run VMware workstation and was running VMware workstation 7.1. I currently don't have a dedicated Hyper-V box at home but that will change in the future when I'm running Windows 8 as my desktop OS.

I tried installing Windows Server 8 on VMware 7.1

Initially it looked like it was going to start installing. Since Windows 8 was not an option I chose Windows 2008 R2 as the OS.

As you can see I also tried Windows 7 with no luck. I also tried other scenarios and they all didn't work. I figured this was a pre-beta release of Windows 8 so no big deal but I was a bit disappointed. If anyone has gotten this to work please comment.

On Septmember 14 VMware released Workstation 8

I decided to spend the $99 for the upgrade. Once I received the verification email I went to the download site and noticed there was only one executable for the full version and no upgrade version.

I wasn't sure if the full version would work or even let me download it. The VMware workstation team on twitter was really helpful and let me know to install the full version. It would uninstall 7.1 and then install 8.0 without losing any virtual machines. That worked fine so now the moment of truth would VMware workstation 8 support Windows Server 8 Developers Preview.

I started off with a typical install

This version still could not detect the OS but I'm guessing that will change in future release and as Windows 8 gets close to RTM.

I chose Windows Server 2008 R2 as my guest OS.

There is no license key for this version of Windows 8 so that is left blank.

I named my machine and set the location. I just use an external drive attached via USB 3.0. I would like a better storage system but I also don't want to break the bank.

I gave myself 40 GB and finished the process of configuring the virtual machine.

After reboot I was stuck in an endless loop telling me that the product key could not be read from the answer file. This had me worried as there is no product key

The endless loop was no fun so I shut the machine down and looked at the configuration again. I noticed the floppy drive there and I definitely don't need that. I removed the floppy drive

After removal of the floppy drive the installation proceeded with no issues.

There are some features such as cloning that I like in VMware that I don't get in Virtualbox but both are adequate for testing Windows 8 right now.

Thanks to the @vmw_workstation guys for their tips.

The normal caveat applies and that is that this is still a pre-beta release of Windows 8....but have fun.

Not sure if I'll be going to VMware workstation 9 down the road. I may have all Windows 8 boxes with Hyper-V by then :)


  1. Hi Mike, after I read this post, I'm sure I still will be using Oracle Virtual Box :) it's free and works fine. In the latest version, Oracle also implemented simple cloning feature for virtual machines:]

    Do you know when Microsoft plans to release Win Server 8 for non-MSDN users? I think it would be very good server OS.


  2. I'm not sure when it is coming out for non-MSDN. I'd guess the beta will be available for TechNet subscribers but not sure and I don't know dates.

    It is interesting that Ned said he thinks TechNet subscribers did have access (in the comments of this blog

    I think his account must have MSDN access too.

  3. I think his account has MSDN access. I used link provided by Ned in his post (by the way, very intresting materials), I logged on with my credentials, still "Unavailable" in download section :/ What a pitty :( But I will patiently wait, this OS is worth awaiting :)

    Thanks for your answer.


  4. Thank you, I almost said screw it because of the product key error

  5. @Jake, no problem, glad to help!