Installing Windows 10 in VirtualBox

Installing Windows 10 within a Virtual Machine like VirtualBox carries with it a clause: you need to make sure you have a valid license. You might own a spare Windows 10 license to use for the VM but for this tutorial we’re going for the 90 day Windows 10 Enterprise Evaluation model. To begin with, browse to https://microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/evaluate-windows-10-enterprise.

You can see our guide to installing VirtualBox here.

Step 1 – You need to register with Microsoft prior to being able to download the Windows 10 image; simply click the Register button and fill in the required fields. When done, click Continue and choose the ISO Enterprise option, then your language choice and 64-bit, followed by the Continue button once more to begin the download.

Step 2 – The ISO you’re downloading is around 4GB in size, so it may take some time, depending on the speed of your connection. Open VirtualBox and click on the New icon located in the top right of the main VirtualBox window. In the Name field enter Windows 10, this should automatically change the Type and Version fields accordingly. Click Next when ready.

Step 3 – You need to set an amount of memory from your host computer to use as virtual RAM for the VM. Naturally, you don’t want to take too much as your computer will suffer due to low memory when the VM is running. Ideally, you need to allocate around 2GB of memory to the VM. Click Next when ready.

Step 4 – The next section will enable you to create a virtual hard disk, in which the Windows 10 virtual machine can be installed. The default option: ‘Create a virtual hard disk now’ is recommended, then click the Create button to proceed. The pop-up box will detail the type of virtual hard disk; stick to VDI and click Next.

Step 5 – The default Dynamically Allocated option will suffice for this instance, so click Next. VirtualBox recommends that you allocate 32GB of physical hard drive space to creating the virtual hard disk. Make sure your hard drive has enough spare capacity and click the Create button.

Step 6 – The Windows 10 VM is now listed in the available VMs in VirtualBox. Before you begin to install it though, click on the Settings icon whilst the Windows 10 VM is highlighted. In the General tab, click Advanced and enable Bidirectional for Shared Clipboard and Drag ’n’ Drop. In Display, enable 3D and 2D Video Acceleration. Click OK to finish.

Step 7 – With the Settings console window closed, and the VM highlighted, click on the Start button. This will open a new window, asking for the location of the Windows 10 ISO you downloaded from the Microsoft site in the first few steps. Use the folder icon to locate the ISO and click Open, then the Start button to commence the installation.

Step 8 – The Windows ISO will now load, and begin the installation process. The first options you need to set are the language, time and keyboard. Set your preferences, although the default is English US to begin with, and click on the Next button when you’re ready to continue.

Step 9 – You now have an Install Now option available. Click it to begin the installation, then tick the license agreement box followed by Next. There are two possible options to install Windows 10, Upgrade and Custom. Since this is a blank hard drive, the Custom option is the only viable mode. Click it to continue.

Step 10 – The drive available will be the 32GB virtual hard disk you created. Click on the New button, then Apply to create a new valid drive that Windows 10 can be installed on. You’ll be asked what additional partitions will be created, click OK to accept. Choose the largest partition size and click Next to install Windows 10.

Russ Ware

Russ has been testing, reviewing and writing guides for tech since the heady days of Windows 95 and the Sega Saturn. A self-confessed (and proud) geek about all things tech, if it has LED's, a screen, beeps or has source code, Russ will want to master it (and very likely take it apart to see how it works...)

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