Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

running win8 as a vm

  1. #1

    running win8 as a vm

    Hi all, I am new here so please forgive me if this is in the wrong section.

    I recently purchased a hp envy 15 which came preinstalled win8.1 home, but due to time constraints and (work) certification of our software, found it necessary to "re" install win7 pro from an image I had created form my old laptop.

    what I am trying to achieve is to run a VM of win8.1 to
    1/ familiarise myself with win8.1
    2/ be able to provide support for customers who have migrated/purchased win8 machines
    3/ start testing "our" software on this platform.

    prior to loading win7, I created a win8 "Rescue disk" (usb) and also Cloned the win8 HDD.
    I have tried unsuccessfully to load/create a VM with either of these using Virtual box. I also tried to download a win8 iso from MS, but my (pre installed) key returns "this is not a retail key".

    I have also tried numerous tutorials to no avail and am looking for a solution to enable me to achieve this.

    any help or advice would be gratefully received

    Regards Wayne

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2

    A Finnish ex-pat in Leipzig, Germany
    Posts : 1,444
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center

    Hi Wayne, welcome to the Eight Forums.

    Your Windows 8.1 product key is an HP OEM key. It only works on the HP laptop it was first used, and cannot be transferred to another hardware setup. OEM keys cannot be transferred to other computers. As a virtual machine uses its own virtual hardware, for Windows it is a completely new computer with different hardware, and the key will not work.

    In order to get a Windows 8.1 virtual machine you need a new, valid product key, OEM or retail. Be aware that if you get a cheaper OEM key and use it on a virtual machine, it cannot be reused on another computer.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3

    hi Kari and thanks for the quick response...
    I take it from your comments I am wasting my time????

    is there a way to "imbed" my product key in Virtual box or perhaps VM Workstation and get it to work that way??
    I have read where users are running 2 versions of the same win8 ie one host and one VM??

    Regards Wayne
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4

    A Finnish ex-pat in Leipzig, Germany
    Posts : 1,444
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center

    What I told you is the main principle: an OEM product key cannot be transferred to other computers, be it a real physical one or a vm. As a long time HP user I know that especially HP's OEM keys are practically impossible to transfer.

    I have also heard and read about these scenarios where some has made an image of an OEM installation and runs it on a vm. Personally I have no experience of this, all my tries have failed.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5

    Kari, Thanks for your help..
    i will just let this thread idle for a while and see if there are any other "ideas" or options

    Regards Wayne
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6

    As a convenience to users and to improve security OEMs embed in the BIOS the key for the installed OS. This was done by special arrangement with Microsoft. Both Microsoft and OEMs have gone to considerable work to ensure that this is not done by any others.

    I don't see any legal way of transferring the OS from your laptop on which it was originally installed to a virtual machine. That the OS not be transferable is the primary restriction of an OEM OS.

    In the short term you can download the trial version of Windows 8.1, Enterprise Edition. This is a 180 day trial.
    Download Windows 8.1 Enterprise Evaluation

    Either that or purchase a legal copy of Windows 8.1.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7

    San Jose - California
    Posts : 2,846
    8.1x64PWMC Ubuntu14.04x64 MintMate17x64

    Option 1:
    It would be better if you re-partition your disk (60GB for 7, 60GB for 8, the rest for personal data) then install Windows 7 as dual boot.

    Option 2:
    I've tried it and proven it worked, however, it is slow.
    1. Download Macrium Reflect Free and use it to make a back image of your Windows 8.
    2. From Macrium screen, convert the image to VHD

      Click image for larger version
    3. Once the VHD is created, right click on it and mount. Open the Disk Management, you'd see the VHD is attached in the list. If offline, right click and make it online.
    4. If your Windows was installed with UEFI, you need to use diskpart to assign a letter to the VHD partition containing Windows.
    5. Assume drive letter F: was assign in step 4. type: bcdboot F:\Windows
    6. Reboot and you will be presented with a dual boot screen.

    OPTION 3:
    1. Again, build a VHD file using Macrium
    2. Download the VmWare converter, Vm Player: . Use VmWare Converter to convert the VHD file into VmWare format and use Vm Player to run you virtual machine. This option would allow you to run both Windows.

    Click image for larger version
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8

    Hi topgun, thanks for the response, however I didn't think it would be this hard when I started this project....

    Option 1 is really a "Last Resort" as I don't want to be logging in and out all the time...

    Option 2. I carried out steps 1 and 2, but at step 3 I have no option to "Mount" the VHD. at this point I went to Comp Mngmt -->Actions --> "Attach VHD" but get the message shown below.

    Click image for larger version

    Option 3. I downloaded the VMware convertor, however it does not use "VHD" files. when I run the wizard I get these file options.

    Click image for larger version

    When I saw the option of ".tib" I went back and tried to load the original Acronis file I had, but this also failed, asking for a "valid network path" even though I had "browsed" to the specific file I had created.

    Click image for larger version

    as this file is stored on an external HDD I tried all manner of configurations
    EG:\\localhost, \\localmachine, G"\folder etc... all to no avail.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9

    Hafnarfjörður IS
    Posts : 4,374
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10

    Hi there

    This *might* be possible.

    1) Get your widows product id -- either via BELARC, your Sticker on the computer or documentation that came with the machine.
    2) Back up current Windows image with say something like ACRONIS.
    3) DISABLE PROTECTED BOOT / ENABLE LEGACY BOOT -- this does NOT mean BTW disabling UEFI.
    4) Use BOOTABLE ACRONIS to restore your Windows system image you've just taken.
    5) Boot it up -- if you get a BSOD simply enter REPAIR SYSTEM and type in the following commands
    cd /bootrec

    6) your Windows system should now boot in "Non Protected boot" mode -- if it requires activation simply enter product key which will in theory still work.

    7) now image system AGAIN - you want this as it's the bootable version NOT using protected boot.
    8) create a VM with vmware player with sufficient disk space for your W8 VM. Check box install OS later.
    9) Boot ACRONIS from WITHIN the VM you've created
    10) restore the image you created in step 7) to the Virtual disk in the VM you created in step 8).

    (Note you might have to initialize the disk - you can do this by creating a bootable version of GPARTED and boot this in the VM - then create an active partition).
    11) boot up the VM -- Acronis and some other imaging programs allow you to restore to dissimilar hardware -- it should boot.
    12) run VMWARE tools at the first opportunity.

    The system will probably ask for the activation / product key again just enter the key you got from BELARC or the documentation.

    Now I can't guarantee this will work but IMO it's worth a try -- I HATE protected boot -- really mucks things up especially if you want to play with say LINUX distros. Note though disabling protected boot does NOT mean disabling UEFI although you can do that if you want --if you do that ensure you convert the REAL HDD to MBR (UEFI requires HDD's to be in GPT format).

    Belarc Advisor - Free Personal PC Audit, for software, hardware and security configuration information on your computer. Software license management, IT asset management, cyber security audits, and more.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10

    Hi Jimbo, and thanks for your response.
    I think you may have mis-understood a little, as my "Current" config is Win7, so step 2 - 7 would need me to place my "cloned" win8 on another 2.5 HDD swap it out, then proceed as outlined above. (it is on an external usb HDD).then swap the HDD back again etc etc...

    Based on the fact I have a "Clone" and reading your info above, makes me think it may be possible to restore Win8 (cloned image)to a VM via acronis. or create a ".tib" file from that image, and restore that??.

    Regs Wayne
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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