Windows 8 Consumer Preview runs fine on ESXi 5.0 Patch 02

Posted by Paul Braren on Feb 29 2012 (updated on Mar 16 2012) in
  • Virtualization
  • Windows
  • ESXi
  • It's now fairly easy to run Windows 8 Consumer Preview on ESXi, as documented nicely by Ivo Beerens:
    [Install Windows 8 Consumer Preview as VM in VMware vSphere 5]( )

    Too bad he (and others) got to it first, I was a little extra busy today on my "day off."

    You'll have the best experience, using Aero and Sound, over Remote Desktop Connection, here's the steps:

    1. Download the ESXi500-201112001 (Patch 02) here:
    2. Download the 64-bit (x64) 3.3GB ISO at Microsoft's "Windows 8 Consumer Preview ISO images" site, and make note of the license key:
    3. Read the instructions
      While downloading, see what VMware says about patching to ESXi500-201112001 (Patch 02):
    4. Read the patch description:
      You'll find out even more about the patch here:
    5. Open ESXi SSH session.
      Temporarily allow SSH on ESXi host, use WinSCP to transfer the patch, open PuTTY to ESXi.
    6. Apply Patch 02
      If you don't have Update Manager installed, fast esxcli update method is detailed below:  the only difference is the filename is now
      which is also shown in the video at this exact spot. Once the patch is installed, as prompted, reboot ESXi, but be sure you've suspended or shutdown all your VMs first.
    7. Windows 8 Virtual Machine Creation
      steps explained at the below site, keying in the license key recorded in step 2 above:
      with one exception: after you create the virtual machine, but before you boot it, Ivo's instructions say to choose Microsoft Windows 8 Server (64-bit)
      I instead chose "Microsoft Windows 8 (64 bit) so I could get the 3D Acceleration setting for the display adapter, allowing Aero over RDP to function.
    8. VMware Tools
      Once installed and booted, you can't install VMware Tools the usual way in vSphere Client, you'll get an error:

    So this turned out to be a great time to leverage Windows 8's new native ability to simply "Mount" ISO images!

    • to work around this, run WinSCP to grab the /vmimages/tools-isoimages/windows.iso file from your patched ESXi 5.0 host, copy it to your local hard drive
    • next, open up Remote Desktop Connection, and paste the VMware Tools windows.iso into the Windows 8 Consumer Preview desktop, then right-click and choose "Mount"
    • now you're able to proceed with the VMware Tools install as usual (I did the default install), although the video driver won't actually start. You might try Custom install, and skip the video driver, if you prefer.

    In my case, after the failed VMware WDDM driver shows in Device Manager after reboot, you can just right-click and uninstall the driver. After the VM reboots, you can unmount the windows.iso file, then delete it.

    The rest of the experience was uneventful, which is good. The the Windows Experience Index wasn't exactly spectacular as far as graphical performance (2.0), you do get full Aero Effects via Remote Desktop Connection (which doesn't use that VMware Tools video driver), just as you did with Windows 7, described here: