Windows 8 Consumer Preview – VMWare Workstation

Posted on | Tyler

The Windows 8 start screen.

On Thursday, I decided to try out the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, on VMWare Workstation, and gee, it’s highly disappointing. Getting into my thoughts about the OS later, there are a couple things to note when using VMWare Workstation to run the Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

I was getting a bit frustrated with the program as I kept getting a certain error telling me that I could not run the virtual machine based on the configuration. I am running a 64-bit computer, and thought I’d try out the 64-bit version of Windows 8 (even though I can allocate only up to 2 GB of RAM on the virtual machine) and after setting up my VM (I’m going to abbreviate virtual machine as VM for the rest of this post) I get a error saying that it would not run the VM as configured. To myself I was thinking like “what the heck”, and after doing a somewhat tedious Google search, I found out about this post from Microsoft about configuring the BIOS for Hardware Assisted Virtualization. So I figured out that I had to go into my own BIOS, turn on the setting for that, rebooted, and tried to power on the VM again, and finally it worked, and I was able to successfully install the Consumer Preview on my VM, and got to try out Windows 8, which is disappointing in my honest opinion…which I will get to after this next paragraph.

If you are looking to try out the Windows 8 Consumer Preview on VMWare Workstation, you must download an ISO of your choice, and then follow the instructions below to add a new VM to Workstation.

  1. Choose “Typical” as the install type when adding a new VM.
  2. Choose “I will install the operating system later.”
  3. Select “Microsoft Windows”, and either “Windows 7” or “Windows 7 x64” from the dropdown menu.
  4. Give your VM any name you want.
  5. Leave minimum disk size to 60 GB, and check split virtual disk.
  6. Click “Customize Hardware…”
  7. Change the amount of memory to 2 GB if running 64-bit. If running 32-bit, leave it at 1 GB.
  8. Depending on how many processors you have, select the amount, and the amount of cores in it.
  9. Under “New CD/DVD”, check “Use ISO image file” and locate the ISO on your computer.
  10. Click Close, then Finish.
  11. Power on your VM, and the installation process for Windows 8 should start soon after you see the boot screen.

If you’re sure you done everything right, but everything went wrong, be sure that your computer can handle the type of OS you chose to download and install. Also make sure that you configure the BIOS if necessary. If your install was a success, then you’re good to go. Workstation will then recommend that you install VMWare Tools on your new Windows 8. I will recommend it as well, because before I installed VMWare Tools, there was no option available to change my resolution to the actual size of my resolution which is 1600×900. Now that I did install VMWare Tools, my Windows 8 Consumer Preview now fits my screen just fine. Now you may read on to hear about my Windows 8 first-time experience.

The desktop of Windows 8, bearing a resemblance to the desktop seen in Vista and 7, without the start button!

Okay so the biggest thing of all, the start button. No Windows OS is complete without a start button. I mean, sure you have the start key on the keyboard, but the start button is a icon of the Windows family. Why would you ever get rid of it? And yeah the “start menu” or start screen or whatever it’s called now, too much based off the Windows Mobile OS. Especially when majority of the OS is gesture-based. Okay, so this will work just fine for tablets, touch-based PCs and phones. But for netbooks, laptops and desktops, no not a chance. You literally had to discover for yourself (the hard way) how to navigate through the OS. For example, if you’re on the desktop, and hover over to the top right or bottom right corner, a little sidebar shows up and gives you a few options. You would never have known that was there, unless you literally like moved your mouse around those areas. That’s actually how you find the Control Panel. The only thing is that you’d only find the option for the Control Panel when you’re viewing the desktop, which is ridiculous.

Google as seen on the "app" version of Internet Explorer.

In regards to Internet Explorer, you actually have two different versions of it on one OS. IE from the apps place (or start screen/menu/whatever it’s called) and the IE found on the desktop view. Why need two?? Can’t you just have one? And when trying to install Adobe Flash Player for the app version of IE, it will seem like you installed it, but if you go to some other flash website other than YouTube and etc., it will not work at all. The desktop version of IE however will work just fine. I mean, I don’t like IE, never did like IE and never will, but this is just ridiculous. Me being myself, I’d just go with Chrome where everything (flash and java) is taken care for me. I also tried to install Firefox, and that works just as fine and better than IE as expected. At least with Firefox, you can install Flash just fine and have flash applications, sites and YouTube work just fine there. Any other browser that is not IE is certainly better.

The lockscreen of Windows 8.

One last thing that ticked me off, was the “lock screen”. Pretty much when you lock your computer, a type of screen saver comes up, pretty much a lock screen you would see on a phone. And to unlock it, is the most ridiculous thing ever. You have to click and drag the darn thing up just to enter your password and log back in. Oh yeah, on a side note, you can link a Live account to your Windows 8 OS, but in my personal preference, I would not do that and create a local account. Well, just for this Consumer Preview, I used my old hotmail account to setup my Windows 8 OS, not like it’ll matter at this point anyway. But yeah, the lock screen is highly ridiculous, and the way that it’s touch-based, it’s really not smart, and a bad idea. Again, good idea for tablets, phones and touch-based PCs, bad idea for desktops, laptops and netbooks.

That’s pretty much all I have to rant about Windows 8. If you had trouble getting your VMWare Workstation to run your 64-bit version of the Consumer Preview, hopefully I helped you out there. If Windows 8 changes, hopefully it’ll be for the better, but at this point, I’m not liking it at all, and Microsoft has A LOT to change.

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