Saturday, May 19, 2012

Windows 8 Linkage: “Metro Santiago” edition

cc image credit image by Víctor Espinoza on flickr


Last weekend I finally got around to installing the latest Windows 8 Consumer Preview version (x32 flavor) in a virtual machine.

Overall the process went very smooth, however for some reason I never could get the latest version of VBox Additions installed in it.  Everything seemed to go OK but eventually it appears the associated PnP drivers would fail installation and it would roll back. Yes, I was installing them in “Windows 7” compatibility mode. Yes, I tried installing them in safe-mode. Yes, I even tried unpacking the virtual additions exe and manually installed the drivers in “legacy mode” via the hardware and devices module. No dice.  I don’t recall having any problems under the Developer’s Version of Win8.

All that said, I do have a fully working version of Win 8 CP now and I’m getting more familiar with navigating around in it. It is not quite fully intuitive yet swapping around between the “Metro” interface and the desktop and the different “tile” applications.  However I’m getting a bit better at it. Practice makes perfect.

I’m keeping the topic heading structure from the last post. Seems to break things down logically and well and makes managing my to-be-blogged pile for Windows 8 much easier to handle.

Windows 8 “Release Preview” Version - Coming Soon

Windows 8 - Related Betas

Windows 8 - Install It

As I mentioned in the opening, I ran into some issues attempting to get the latest VirtualBox additions working in Windows 8 Consumer Preview version. Here is some related linkage I ran down in the troubleshooting/recovery process. (I got much more familiar with getting the system to start in safe/recovery mode that I had planned!)

Next up…trying to install Windows 8 in VMware Player.  I’ve heard good performance can be had in this system.  May try the Win 8 CP x64 flavor this time for a bit of contrast to my x32 version in VirtualBox

Post Update - The night of this post I went ahead and did install Windows 8 CP in VMWare Player. I ended up just loading a fresh install of x32 bits as I got a bad SHA1 hash match after the first download of x64 ISO attempt. I didn’t feel like burning into my monthly ISP bandwidth quota sucking down another attempt.  I’ll save the x64 for the “Release Preview” version next month. The setup was easy-peasy on VMWare using the WIndows 8 Forums walkthrough post linked above. I had NO issues installing the VMWare Tools pack once I had the OS running. Win 8 performance in VMWare was simply amazing in comparison to the VirtualBox load. Both are set to two processors, both are set to 2 GB system RAM, the only real “difference” is that the VirtualBox graphics is set to 256 MB while the VMWare is using 896 MB. I’m not certain if that alone is enough to describe the difference in feeling between them. I do know that I feel much more positive in how the Win 8 OS responds and operates in VMWare. I’m a Microsoft Virtual PC guy, followed by VirtualBox--primarily for Linux builds. That said, while I have used VMWare Player before, it was mostly just using VMWare pre-built system packages I had downloaded. Based on my new experience with VMWare Player and Windows 8, I’m going to seriously have to consider which platform I want to use next virtualized system I need to build. This is in line with the a previous Win8 linkpost comment left by “Anonymous” last month also touting the surprising performance difference in VMWare over VirtualBox. I can now independently confirm that tippage.  VMWare Player + Windows 8 previews--highly Valca recommended!

Other bits…

Product Key:   DNJXJ-7XBW8-2378T-X22TX-BKG7J

Windows 8 - Under the Hood Stuff

Quite a few new articles on new features and functions in Windows 8.

Windows 8 - To Go

Windows “To Go” is basically a feature in Windows 8 that allows it to run “full OS” from a supported USB storage device like a flash drive or external hard-disk drive. Here’s new news on the topic.

Windows 8 - Tweakages

Even more tweaking tips these past few weeks!

Windows 8 - Deeper Insights

Windows 8 - Usage Tips

Windows 8 - Miscellanea & Rumor Mongering

The first link is almost a manifesto on the new “Metro” interface. Probably will take most folks a long time read-though and may need several passes to fully digest. Gotta hand it to Microsoft, they’ve committed to the new interface…like-it-or-not.

I figured it’s a great starting point and provides a fair context for the follow-on links that consider that new Windows 8 GUI. I’m still not sold, but I’m going take an “okra” approach. I like okra but it took me a long time getting to that point. Now I can’t imagine not having it in my gumbo or fried on the side along with catfish fillets. I really like the under-the-hood improvements I have read so far that are being served up in Windows 8. So it seems that to get them, I’m going to have to learn to tolerate the slime-factor as I prepare/tweak/bend Windows 8 to my own enjoyment.

Windows 8 - GSD Previously Posted


--Claus V.


Anonymous said...

I gather from your post that you have VirtualBox 4.1.14 installed?

If so, two things can ensure that the Guest Additions work:
1. create a new VM with VB's wizard and explicitly select Windows 8 (or Windows 8 64-bit) as the OS;
2. make sure, when enabling 3D for Aero effects, that the video RAM is at least 128 MB.

The first step should ensure the second, but it pays to check. In case of existing VM's, having less than 128 MB VRAM is known to cause problems with GA installation.

Claus said...

@Anyonymous -- Doh! Thanks for the tips..they started me in the right direction. I checked my VBox machine and had indeed selected Win7 instead of Win8 while building it. I went ahead and dumped it and rebuilt it from scratch. I regave it 2 cores and 256 MB (as before).

Then I installed Win8 and setup.

When I retried installing the Guest Additions, they bombed out again with the same error. However your comments gave me a hunch. This time, instead of following previous steps of setting it to install/execute in Compatibility Mode for Vista, I cleared those settings and just let it install "as is".

Done! Reboot and the Guest Additions are working fine.

Looks like the latest version update of VirtualBox (and Guest Additions) is more improved for Win 8 compatibility. No more making those previously required mods.

Thank you very much and it looks like I need to do a mini-follow-up post with these observations.

Now I need to do a Desktop Experience rating comparison between VirtualBox and VMWare Player!


--Claus V.