After seeing the dreaded “VMware Fusion internal monitor error” (NOT_IMPLEMENTED report) from VMWare, a quick look around pointed me to VirtualBox as the way to go and I can confirm it was a simple process to get it up and running. Below are what I used, the steps I took and some things I learned along the way installing Windows 8 on my MacBook Pro with VirtualBox.
Get VirtualBox (VirtualBox 4.1.2 for OS X hosts) from:
Download Windows 8 (for my 64bit MacBook Pro, I chose Windows Developer Preview English, 64-bit (x64)) from:
I won’t pretend to know the actual requirements here, but here is what I did:
- Install VirtualBox (straightforward)
- Click “New” in the upper right
- Give the VM a name and specify Windows 7 64bit as the Windows version
- On the next wizard screen I jacked the memory from the 512 default to 1024
- For Virtual Hard Disk, I kept the default selection to create a new hard disk
- For the type of hard disk, I again kept the default selection of VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image)
- I let the storage details default too (Dynamically allocated)
- And for the drive size, once more: default (20gb)
- On the Summary Page, hit “Create” and your done creating your VM
- With that new VM selected, click the Start icon on the top
- A First Run Wizard appears which will guide you through selecting a media source where you will choose the ISO file you downloaded from Microsoft at the link above
- Installation of Windows 8 is very straightforward and surprisingly fast. You should be aware that your account to log in is a Windows Live account which you’ll need to provide (or create if you don’t have one already)
I initially found navigating the Metro interface to be a bit of a challenge. A single-click on a tile does the job of launching it, but it may take a second or two so be patient. I’ve also seen it necessary to move the cursor away from the tile a bit once clicking before the launch takes place. To leave any application you launch the magic keystroke you are looking for on the Mac is CTRL-Esc. This will take you back and forth between the menu and the last application launched each time you hit those keys. If you right-click on a tile it will become checked and options to uninstall or unpin will appear at the bottom of the screen.
One of the first things I found I wanted to do was update the screen resolution. The Control Panel menu off the main page is too simple and I couldn’t find screen resolution. I could swear I found an option to launch the full control panel applet from there initially, but after I realized I wanted to reduce my resolution and went back I couldn’t find it again. So I did this:
Choose “Desktop” to get a more familiar Windows Desktop. The first thing you’ll want to do is hit what you think is the “Start” menu button on the bottom left to see a menu, but resist: that just brings the metro menu up again. Instead launch File Explorer, Click “Computer” on the left and the ribbon menu on top will update to include a “Open Control Panel” button. Hit that and you’ll be back in familiar territory (“adjust screen resolution” is on the right side under “Appearance and Personalization”).
You can also run Internet Explorer from the desktop to get a more familiar interface to IE. When you launch it from the “Internet Explorer” tile on the main metro menu, you get a very simple view with the URL bar on the bottom of the screen. With a touch interface, I’m sure this would be preferable, but not in a VM.
To edit most applications running in the new metro interface, just right-click while the application is running and you’ll see options (in case of stocks the options that appear are “Add Stock”, “Delete Stock” and “Pin Stock”). You can drag and drop the tiles around to re-arrange them.
The two-finger gesture for scrolling works vertically but not horizontally. To scroll horizontally look to the bottom of the screen for a scroll bar. However on the main menu screen (above) two finger scrolling up and down actually results in a left to right scrolling action so that can be helpful.
UPDATE: I recorded a new video and posted a new blog to update this for the latest Windows 8 Preview on ITNinja: http://www.itninja.com/blog/view/test-driving-windows-8
2 thoughts on “Playing with Windows 8 on Mac”
Just today I was able to run Windows 8 x64 on VMWare Fusion by using the newly released v4.0 (and choosing Windows 7 x64 as a target OS).
For the record, i had started using VMware Fusion, and switched to Parallels recently, as I was seeing some weirdness and performance issues with Fusion. Parallels 8.0 handles Windows 8 quite nicely. There seems to still be a couple of issues when using multiple monitors, but I’m not sure that this only Windows 8 related, or a general Parallels 8 bug. I’m running Windows 8 Pro x32, not x64 though.