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Windows 8 Consumer Preview running in Workstation 8

It’s been a fun day running the Windows 8 Consumer Preview in VMware Workstation 8.  I’m finding Windows 8 very exciting as I consider the possibilities and it definitely changes they way you think about using Windows. 

Windows 8 CP Start Page

For the past day, I’ve been reading a lot of the tweets regarding questions people have about installing Windows 8 in Workstation 8 so I thought I’d quickly document a few key points. 

Easiest Way to Install Windows 8 CP

Watch the video below and please note the following points when using the new virtual machine wizard to install Windows 8 CP.

1) Select “Custom” for type of configuration

2) Select “I will install the operating system later” on the “Install From” screen

3) select “Microsoft Windows” as Guest Operating System and “Windows 7” or “Windows 7 x64” as the version depending on the rev of Windows 8 CP you are installing.

4) After the wizard completes, go to the VM settings and point the virtual DVD drive to the Windows 8 CP ISO and then power on the machine. 

5) Follow the prompts to install Windows 8 CP.  Enjoy!

<I recommend watching in HD and expanding the video size for clarity>

VMware Tools is not installed

When workstation installs Windows 8 CP the VMware tools are not automatically installed. To install VMware Tools manually, follow this simple process.

1) From the Windows 8 Start Screen, select the “Desktop” panel

2) From the Workstation 8 “VM” menu, select “Install VMware Tools…”, This will mount the install files as a disc in the DVD Drive.

3) Run “Setup” from the virtual DVD drive and follow the prompts. Once Tools is installed, it will prompt you to reboot the VM.


“Windows cannot read the <ProductKey> setting from the unattend answer file.”

I’ve seen a lot of people, including myself, get the following message when trying to use the easy install for Windows 7 to install Windows 8 CP.


There is an easy fix.  After you see this message, click “Ok” and power down the VM. Then go to the VM’s hardware settings and remove the floppy drive and then power on the VM.  After you power on the VM, the Windows 8 CP setup proceeds normally. 

Can I run Windows 8 CP as a guest in VMware Workstation 7

No, Workstation 7 can not run Windows 8 CP as a guest operating system.  If you try it, you will see this screen.

Win8 on WS7


For additional information, see Microsoft’s explanation regarding why Windows 8 will not work on older virtualization products. If you do not have VMware Workstation 8, now is a great time to download a free 30-day trial so you can try out Windows 8 CP.

Discuss Further

If you would like to discuss this in more detail, please join us in the VMware Workstation community.

29 thoughts on “Windows 8 Consumer Preview running in Workstation 8

  1. Netbob

    Nice work. It worked great after getting the unattended error a couple of times on my own.


    Please say, how to install the driver for the ethernet controller?
    Windows 8 CP
    physical controller – NVidia
    Thanks 😉


    Michael Paiko – In the list of network adapters, no matches installed. The list of equipment – Ethernet controller is listed as having no drivers. Sorry for bad English.

  4. michal zobec

    @Michael Paiko: no, after install vmware tools and restart i see only blue screen and i can’t log on to server (not see text or anything information).

  5. Anas

    Thank you! I have earlier installed Win 8 developer preview in VMWare WS 8. I could easily troubleshoot some errors there.

  6. Amit Singh

    On my vmware windows 8 is up and running, but i can’t detect network adapter………….

  7. Leon Zandman

    When I tried to install the Windows 8 Consumer Preview on VMWare Workstation 8, it failed during the VMWare Tools installation. More specific the VMWare display driver failed and caused a black screen / freeze.
    This looks like the exact same issue I experienced when installing the Windows 8 Developer Preview. Fortunately the solution is simple: reduce the VM’s memory to 2GB, install VMWare Tools and then increase the memory to the desired size.

  8. vlab

    Windows 8 CP is working OK under Workstation 8.0.2 until I play a video in media player on the desktop or in metro. After a few minutes of a video playing (MP4), Workstation 8.0.2 itself comes to a screeching halt, and is very unresponsive. It looks like the video driver of Windows 8 runs out of resources, as the video loops the last few frames over and over progressively faster and faster and I have to end task Workstation 8 to recover.

  9. Michael Paiko

    Thank you everyone for your posts and links to community site. We are going through the feedback and trying to reproduce so we can suggest a workaround if one exists. I will continue to update the blog and community forum as thing progress.

  10. AaronClark

    Those Using Windows 7 vm settings won’t have this problem after tools installation.
    Those trying windows 8 server using 2008 r2 settings.. After Tools install and screen comes up empty green background.
    To resolve it, I went into the virtual machine settings and for the display properties enabled “Accelerate 3D Graphics.” That did the trick for me.

  11. Dirk

    I have also the issue with the black screen during (and after) installing vmware tools. Installation runs well until the screen drivers will be installed. In this moment the screen becomes black.
    Using the vmware tools setup file in windows 7 compatibility mode does not resolve the problem and also changing the vm memory size does not help.

  12. @AaronClark

    Thanks! That bit of info has seemed to resolve my server 8/tools install issue as well.

  13. kcrow

    @AaronClark. Previous Post Fail.
    Anyway. Enabling 3d Acceleration seemed to fix my Server 8/Tools Install woes as well. Thanks!

  14. LabManager

    I am evaluating VMware Workstation Version 8.0 in conjuction with WMware Vcenter Converter Standalone to see if I can convert serveral physical machines to virtual machines.
    Workstation V8 was installed on a server that will be used to host all conversions and the converted file copied to that server.
    The P2V conversion seems to have completed OK and Worstation 8 is able to start the converted machine. The conversion boots up and everything looks OK but I am not able to configure the Network cards using bridged to connect to the host systems network.
    It looks like the conversion is still using the adapters from the converted server and does not connect to the network adapters on the host server.
    I have tried removing and adding the network adapters and applying new mac addresses.
    When I configure the Network adapters on the converted machine everything seems to be OK and they take on a connected status but I cannot ping the adapters (in/out) from other worstations on the network.
    It appears that converted machinesadapters are configured but not really connected to the host machines adapters.
    Is it possible that Workstation will not function with a converted system? Any thoughts welcome.

  15. Jason Joel

    If you select Windows Server 2008 when creating a VM for Windows 8, Workstation does not enable graphics acceleration because we expect servers to use the inbox SVGA driver and not need this capability. However, when VMware Tools installs the guest drivers it treats Windows 8 as a desktop OS and installs our WDDM driver which requires the hardware acceleration. Thanks to everyone who posted this issue.

  16. Jason Joel

    The HAL initialization problem should not be occuring on Workstation 8 – if it is, please let us know. In the initial post, Mike provides a link to Microsoft’s site explaining why this happens in Workstation 7 and earlier versions of our product.

  17. tripl3

    I have installed Windows 8 CP on my laptop (HP 2560p with SSD). I have installed the Hyper-V feature and creates a virtual machine placed on my external SSD drive, connected with eSataP. After a minute or two, the disk I/O to the external disk freezes, and it can do so for several minutes, and the start working again, just to freeze again. It is exactly the same behaviour in Vmware Workstation 8. Any idéas? If I Place the virtual Machines on local disk it works fine.

  18. steve

    when I try to load, I get windows boot manager ; windows failed to start. File: \windows\system3\boot\winload.exe
    status: 0xc000035a
    This 64-bit application couldn’t load because your pc dosent have a 64-bit processor.
    I am running windows 8 workstation, on top of windows 7 64bit on an HP EliteBook 8560w.
    Any ideas?

  19. Martti K.

    There are two other options which both worked for me (32 bit)
    – convert an existing physical W8 PC to VM
    – upgrade a W7 VM to W8
    Martti K.

  20. Cloutierj

    This workaround worked for me: RE: SVGA driver issues
    Server8 Beta
    1) Base O/S install (set to W7-64bit)
    2) VMWARE tools except SVGA Reboot
    3) Shutdown and Snapshot
    4) Reset memory to under 2GB (1.6Gb)
    5) Windows Update Reboot
    6) Start up install SVGA driver
    7) Reboot
    8) Shutdown and set mem to what you want
    9) Boot back up and good to go!

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