How to Install Windows Server 8 Beta on VMware Workstation 8

Below are the screen shots that walk you through the process of installing Windows Server 8 Beta on VMware Workstation 8. I have notated the most important things to notice.


Take note, I choose Windows 7, NOT Windows 7 64-bit. I’m not sure it matters, but I believe this will work best for you.

The download is pre-licenses, so you don’t have to enter anything here. However, this will cause problems later if you don’t disconnect the floppy – more on this later.

Click Customize Hardware

Choose the processor that matches your host and enable Virtualize Intel VT-x/EPT (your processor must support this) if you want to run the Hyper-V role on this server. See my earlier blog post on how to make that happen.

Make sure you unselect “Power on this virtual machine after creation”, we need to edit one more thing before we continue.

After you create the VM, go back in and disconnect the Floppy, otherwise the install will fail because the autoinst.flp is missing the product key.








A long while later after a few reboots…

You are now ready to use Windows Server 8 Beta! I have not installed the VMware tools yet, but I’ll probably try later. If you try it let me know what you think.

How to Install Windows Server 8 Beta on VMware Workstation 8

25 thoughts on “How to Install Windows Server 8 Beta on VMware Workstation 8

  1. daveberm says:

    UPDATE – I installed the VMware tools in the guest OS and everything works good. In particular, without the VMware tools installed if you switch to full screen the resolution will not change. If you have the tools installed the resolution will change automatically when switching to full screen.

  2. VM says:

    Nice work. i followed your instructions to a T except for the Windows 7. I used windows server 2008 R2 64-Bit and it worked just fine. Also i wanted to step through the install natively so I didn’t load the iso until I went to boot. Good tips.

  3. megoon says:

    After installing vmware tools system hangs. restart shows the starting screen (green background) and the keyboard selected will be shown. nothing else. I used windows server 2008 r2 x64 as starting guest machine configuration.

    1. daveberm says:

      Ahh…I hope you took a snapshot before you did that! I used Windows 7 as my base and the tools work fine. I also did a Sysprep of my image and I am building my domain based on differential clones of the sysprepped image – that seems to work fine.

    2. JohnD says:


      I had the same problem. 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.

  4. I managed to install easily, apart from windows key problem. Which was solved by removing floppy disk from Vmware. But i spent 7 minutes to find out start menu :)

    thanks for your step by step guide for windows 8 server installation.

  5. sphericalbrick says:

    I’m receiving an error using VMWare workstation tech preview and not sure if it is specific to only Windows Server 8 Beta. It’s “VMware Workstation cannot connect to the virtual machine. Make sure you have rights to run the program and to access all directories it uses and rights to access all directories for temporary files.”
    I have rights and am logged in as Admin so i’m at a loss….

    1. daveberm says:

      Sounds unrelated to Windows Server 8 Beta to me. Have you posted this in any VMware support forums? They may have more answers.

  6. Kevin Mack says:

    Jason Watkins, I’m having the same issue. My host version of VMWare is ESXi5.0. Has anyone been successful in getting the Beta to work on ESXi?

  7. Manish Verma says:

    Its really cool, I have installed the WINDOWS SERVER 8 BETA VERSION in my Machine through VMWare. Thankx for the Article ………. But i really appreciate that person to load this article ….. nice article…..

  8. Tamás Jung says:

    Great article. Works fine with workstation 8.0.5 and Server 2012 x64.
    Before the VMware tools install the 3D acceleration needs to be turned on indeed :) !

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