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Try Out Windows 8 on VMware First, Save with Upgrade

Windows 8 on VMwareWindows 8 has been out for a couple months now. Perhaps you’re considering upgrading, but you don’t want to risk it on your primary operating system. Consider trying out Windows 8 on VMware first to see if it works well on your machine.

If you’re running VMware on your PC, chances are you’re no stranger to setting up alternative operating systems. Virtual machines are a great way to compare different operating systems, test functionality and access programs that would otherwise not be available to you on your primary OS. Virtual machines are an ideal way to test-drive Windows 8, especially given its spotty reviews. PC World recently ran an article about how to use VirtualBox to try out Windows 8 for free; if you’re new to virtualization, VirtualBox might be a good place to start. Today we’re going to look at how a Windows 8 install works with VMware.

In a recent discussion on Experts Exchange, a member who wanted to test out the compatibility of Windows 8 was looking for tips installing Windows 8 as a virtual machine using VMware Workstation. Two of our top technology experts, Gary Case and Andrew Hancock, chimed in to offer a few tips.

Supported: Windows 8 on VMware Workstation 9.0

“If you are installing in VMware Workstation 9.0, Windows 8 is compatible and supported by VMware Workstation 9.0,” explains Hancock, a 2012 VMware vEXPERT. He advises checking the VMware hardware compatibility lists, which are available here:

Use Windows 8 Pro upgrade to save on your VMware Install

Former Microsoft MVP Gary Case also had a few hints for people looking to install Windows 8 on VMware.

“Windows 8 installs fine on VMware 8 or later,” says Case. “VMware 9.0 has native support; with VMware 8 you simply select Windows 7 as the OS, but it installs and runs perfectly. You can run either the x32 or x64 version under VMware, I have both installed with a VMware 8.0 as host.”

Case also offers a helpful way to save money using the Windows 8 upgrade.

“If you install any upgradeable OS (XP, Vista, or Windows 7) in a VM, you can then use the inexpensive Windows 8 Pro downloadable upgrade and still do a clean install,” he explains.

Case notes that the system needs to recognize the installed OS, but by selecting the option to reformat the disk and save nothing from the old OS, it should work fine. Bonus: it will only cost you $39.95.

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