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How to Install Windows 8 alongside your primary OS

Windows 8 is ready for download. Windows 8 is fast, stable and very responsive. Since it is still pre-beta, sadly, we cannot use it as our primary operating system.

If you try to install Windows 8 without doing it the right way, the installer will simply rewrite over your existing operating system. Let us see how we can have both operating systems existing side by side.

The trick is to create a virtual computer on your hard drive. Not only does it let you install Windows 8, it will also allow you install Linux alongside another existing operating systems if you have the disk space for all of them.

If you have a good computer, VirtualBox can run on it. It only needs 30 MB of disk space. However, you must have enough disk space for each virtual machine you want to install. We recommend disk space of at least 70GB for each virtual machine to accommodate your applications, files, and whatnot.

The bad side of VirtualBox is that your system memory will be divided into two while it is running. Windows 8 will use about 2GB of system memory and this will not be available to your primary operating system. Therefore, you must have a large amount of system memory before continuing.

Download the latest version of VirtualBox for your operating system at Run the download on regular installation. Choose a destination and continue.

Note: Your network will disconnect for a while until the installation is complete before re-connecting.

Next, download the Windows 8 installer. It is available as an .iso image file. To run the installer normally, as you did with Windows 7, you would have to burn it to a disc. To do this, you must first extract the files. Thankfully, VirtualBox sees the .iso file as an installer, therefore, no need to burn the download to a disk.

Download and place the Windows 8 file on your desktop. You can find the pre beta developer versions at:

Open VirtualBox. Click New to create a new virtual machine and give it a name. Set the memory to at least 1GB.

Set the disc space to dynamically located or fixed size.

Next, click on the VirtualBox Manager tool and launch the First Run Wizard. Point it to your download (the .iso image file on your desktop). Click Start.

Follow the instructions to set up Windows 8 on your computer. You will need to activate Windows 8 over the Internet. The pre-beta does not need a serial number.

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