Windows 8 Release Preview runs fine on ESXi 5.0 Update 1

Posted by Paul Braren on Jun 1 2012 (updated on Jun 4 2012) in
  • Virtualization
  • Windows
  • ESXi
  • Here's the step-by-step walkthrough, in case you have any issues with the instructions/screenshots below:

    Note that while the Windows Experience Index wasn't exactly spectacular as far as graphical performance (2.0) in vSphere Client Console:


    but it really doesn't matter, as 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:
    and seen below:


    Installation has gotten even easier since Windows 8 Consumer Preview:

    and see also this KB article on VMware's site from mid-May, that is still releveant:

    You'll have the best experience, using Aero and Sound, over Remote Desktop Connection in full screen mode (making moving the mouse to the corners easier), here's the steps:

    1. Update if your version of ESXi doesn't already show as Build 623860 (Update 1) or later, follow update instructions here:

    2. Download the Windows 8 32-bit (x64) 3.3GB ISO (faster as a VM than 64 bit version)
      at Microsoft's Windows 8 Release Preview ISO images site, making note of the license key that'll you'll need:

    3. Upload the ISO to the ESXi datastore, using free Veeam FastSCP (6x faster) or vSphere Client Datastore Browser (slow)

    4. Create Windows 8 Virtual Machine
      Steps explained at the below site, keying in the license key recorded in step 2 above:
      but instead I chose "Microsoft Windows 8 (32 bit) so I could get the 3D Acceleration setting for the display adapter, allowing Aero over RDP to function, here's the detailed screenshots:

    5. Install
    This was straight forward, just follow the Microsoft wizard, same as you would with a physical machine, seen in video below.

    6. VMware Tools
    Once installed and booted, you can finally install VMware Tools the usual way in vSphere Client, seen below:


    RDP (Optional)
    Enable Remote Desktop Connection in the virtual machine. Configure a Remote Desktop Connection session from your workstation, ideally using Display tab for Fullscreen setting, which will make moving the mouse to the corners a lot easier (for Charms, etc.).

    Also keep in mind that at least 768  minimum vertical resolution is required by Metro, and leave bring sound, and turn on sound and all the high bandwidth options: