How to install Windows 8.1 step by step in a virtual machine with VirtualBox

Windows 8.1

Many years ago, from Microsoft they ventured and took a quite important step with the launch of Windows 8, a version of the operating system that, although it was not bad at all, received a lot of criticism from users as it was not prepared to all environments. That is why, some time later, they rectified and, before launching Windows 10, Windows 8.1 arrived correcting a multitude of problems by users.

Currently, you most likely already have Windows 10 on your computer, but if for some reason you need Windows 8.1, it might be a good idea to try installing it on a virtual machine, with which you will have your own operating system and, within a program, you will be able to use this other version without problem. This is especially recommended if you don't want to use it all the time, as you will be able to install it without affecting your current documents, applications and files.

So you can install Windows 8.1 in a virtual machine for free with VirtualBox

Pre-downloads and installation requirements

In order to get started, you will need download and install the free VirtualBox program on your computer, which will allow the easy creation of virtual machines. This download is very simple and can be done directly from your official website, although if you need it we also have more documentation and explanations about the program.


Moreover, In order to install Windows 8.1, you will also need an ISO file of that operating system. Obtaining this file is free, but afterwards you may need a license key to be able to use 100% of the functions of the operating system, although it is not strictly necessary either. To get it, you will have to visit the Microsoft download page, where you will have to obtain the corresponding download and save it on your computer. In case of doubts, you can continue our tutorial to download Windows 8.1 for free.

Windows 8
Related article:
How to download an official Windows 8.1 ISO file for free

Create a virtual machine in VirtualBox and install Windows 8.1

After having downloaded Windows and having VirtualBox, you will have to access this program on your computer and then select the "New" option at the top to be able to start with the creation of it. A wizard will open to create it in which you must complete some parameters:

  1. Name and operating system: choose the name you want for the virtual machine. You can also change the location if you wish, but you must choose the operating system Windows 8.1 along with the architecture (32 or 64 bits) that you have chosen when downloading the ISO file from the Microsoft website.
  2. Memory size: you must select the amount of RAM you want to allocate to the virtual machine for it to work. At least you will have to choose 2 GB for Windows to work, although the best thing to obtain optimal performance in most cases is to choose at least half of the available memory, so that you can use the computer and the virtual machine normally.
  3. HDD: first, you must choose the option Create a virtual hard drive now Unless you already have one. It is best that you leave the default options (VDIDynamically booked) and that, if you wish, you can modify the capacity of the disk or its location, since it is stored like any other system file on your computer.
Related article:
How to install Ubuntu in a virtual machine with VirtualBox on Windows step by step

Install Windows on the virtual machine

Once all of the above is completed, you will be able to start the virtual machine without problem. To do this, you must click on it and, in the menu at the top, select "Start". A new window will open where it will ask you to choose a virtual boot disk for the machine. Here, you must click on the folder icon and search your computer for the ISO file that you have downloaded from Windows 8.1, so that you can boot from it and begin the installation process.

Install Windows 8.1 in VirtualBox: insert installation disc

Once this is done, you just have to install Windows 8.1 in the usual way. The process in question is relatively simple, as it is an assistant with which you just have to press continue. It should be noted that for the installation it is not usually necessary to enter a product key, although it does It is important that you choose the advanced mode and not the update, where afterwards you will only have to select the only disk that appears.

Related article:
How to install the "Guest Additions" in Windows virtual machines of VirtualBox step by step

The virtual machine should be rebooted at certain times during the process, and when it is finished you will only have to configure the machine like any other equipment in the usual way. Then you can access the virtual machine whenever you want, by clicking inside VirtualBox on the start button that you will find.

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