Solved upgrading from 8 to 8.1 inside VirtualBox

broiyan

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I'd like to upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 Pro. This will be run as a guest on VirtualBox 4.3.2 (the newest as of November 2013) on Ubuntu 12.04 (April 2012) with weekly updates.

In Windows Store, an attempt to upgrade fails because, it indicates that Windows 8.1 is "not supported by your CPU". This is a doubtful explanation because it runs Windows 8 fine. The CPU is an Intel i7 - 2670 QM that was released in Q4 2011 in a unit that retailed in June 2012. VirtualBox has WDDM and 3D acceleration since at least VirtualBox 4.1 which was released more than a year ago. I run with VirtualBox's display 2D acceleration ON, and previously with 3D acceleration OFF because I've had problems. However, 3D acceleration is presently ON. Regardless, Windows 8.1 will not install either way.

This is what Microsoft indicates under "more information" about Win 8.1.


  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2 (more info)
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
  • Hard disk space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver

I note that Windows 8 also requires PAE, NX, and SSE2 so that should not be the problem. I have allocated 4 GB RAM and about 500 GB disk, which are both more than adequate.

Edit: I use a 64 bit machine with 64 bit Linux and 64 bit Windows.
Edit: Although I tried to install Windows 8.1 with 3D acceleration ON, I generally keep it OFF because it can result in a crash of my .NET application that uses a XAML window. It's not a bug that I care enough about to fix.

How do I fix this Windows 8.1 installation problem?
 
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Mr Sardonicus

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If you have a UEFI compatible system, make sure it's enabled.
 

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Rudy Mas

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You have to change something in VirtualBox settings as well.

Go to the Settings of the VB and then System and Processor. Make sure you have Enabled PAE/NX. Windows 8.1 needs this.

I couldn't update from the store, because it didn't show up for me, but I could upgrade to the 64-bit version of Win8.1 with an ISO file.
 

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broiyan

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That's a good tip. I went and enabled PAE/NX in VirtualBox and rebooted Windows 8. Windows Store still does not allow upgrading to 8.1. The same error about the CPU is displayed.

I then re-installed Guest Additions just to do something at random ;) or out of desperation and rebooted.

Still Windows 8.1 will not install due to the alleged CPU incompatibility.
 
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strollin

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I have VirtualBox VMs that have been upgraded to 8.1 from 8 without issue. I used only the default/recommended settings for the processor that VirtualBox set when I first installed Win 8. On mine, PAE/NX is NOT checked and only 1 cpu is allocated so I don't think that is your issue.

I don't have one running with an i7-2670 QM cpu but do have one running on an i7-3630QM cpu which I would assume to be close enough to eliminate that as your issue. It doubt this is your problem but check out this article: New Windows 8.1 requirements strand some users on Windows 8 | PCWorld
 

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Hopachi

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UEFI on or off wouldn't do a thing here: we're talking about VM's so host UEFI is irrelevant. Guest UEFI doesn't work for Windows guests on VirtualBox yet but it's also not an item of top importance.

Using one CPU is the most stable scenario, I agree with strollin. There may still be crashes, Vbox 4.3 isn't polished enough imo, I've encountered some weird hangs that I didn't see in 4.2... Give 4.3 time since the VT-x engine is enhanced and still in development (expect stability improvements in the upcoming updates) there.

For the moment, VirtualBox and Windows 8.1 don't always go smooth with each other. To start, disable graphic acceleration on the guest. If you get too many issues consider trying Vmware Player for VM's, which also works well on Ubuntu. This is better for the users who don't know where to fiddle around in the VM settings since VMware Player takes care of the most needed settings so any user can simply concentrate on using the OS.
 

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Hopachi

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You can copy or clone entire VM's to use from VirtualBox in VMware Player and the other way around. Duplicating or moving an existing virtual disk is way faster than reinstalling OS from scratch. Just try to mimic the same VM settings on the new (copy) VM and the old disk will run there nicely: all new drivers will be installed the first time you boot.
 

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    That's basically it.

DavidY

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It doubt this is your problem but check out this article: New Windows 8.1 requirements strand some users on Windows 8 | PCWorld

That was my first thought.

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2 (more info)
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
  • Hard disk space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver

The problem described in the article is listed in Microsoft's system requirements for windows 8.1 which includes this new requirement, for 64-bit only, which wasn't there for Windows 8.0:
  • To install a 64-bit OS on a 64-bit PC, your processor needs to support CMPXCHG16b, PrefetchW, and LAHF/SAHF

I have VirtualBox VMs that have been upgraded to 8.1 from 8 without issue.
64-bit or 32-bit? If it's 32-bit, the change in requirements seemingly wouldn't be a problem.
 

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strollin

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Duplicate post
 
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strollin

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The plot thickens.

I just attempted to upgrade another one of my VirtualBox Win 8 VMs to 8.1 via the Store and got the same message as the OP, "not supported by your CPU". I have upgraded several in the past without issue. This VM runs on an i7-3770K cpu.

I tried adding PAE/NX support but that had no effect. I downloaded and installed the latest version of VB (4.3.2) which didn't help. I then ran the Win 8.1 Upgrade Assistant which told me that I couldn't install because my cpu lacked support for CompareExchange128.

I have an ISO of 8.1 so attempted an upgrade using the ISO and got the same message. However, I created a new VM and used the 8.1 ISO to do a clean install and it installed and runs fine in a new VM. Not sure why the upgrade fails while a clean install works fine.

I searched and found links detailing how to get around this issue with the preview: VirtualBox CompareExchange128 Error on Windows 8.1 Preview Install but that was of no help and supposedly, newer versions of VB solve the issue.

I also downloaded and ran an MS utility called CoreInfo which details all the info about your cpu and it reports that the cpu supports all of the required cpu capabilities.

So far I have not been able to figure out why this particular VM won't upgrade while others upgraded fine. Hope this info proves useful to others.

At the moment, I'm thinking it is a bug with VB.
 

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    ASUS TUF Z370-Pro Gaming, HP, MS
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    16G, 8G, 8G
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    AMD Radeon RX580, Intel Iris X Graphics, Intel Iris Plus Graphics G4
    Sound Card
    ATI High Definition Audio (Built-in to mobo)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dual Samsung U32J59 32 inch monitors, 13.3" display, 12.3" display
    Screen Resolution
    3840x2160 (Desktop), 1920x1080 (laptop), 2736x1824 Pro 7
    Hard Drives
    500GB ssd boot drive with 2 & 10TB Data (Desktop), 512GB ssd (laptop), 128GB SSD (tablet)
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Hopachi

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If you're on version 4.3 that might be expected. Several of my VM's crashed without modifying any settings. Machines were running on VBox 4.2 without issues, then suddenly crashed on 4.3, even the VM additions were updated but wouldn't help it. I suspect this to be related to the new VT-x code that runs in 4.3 and I do believe there are some bugs to solve, especially on W8.1.
 

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    HP, Intel HM77 Express Chipset
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    16GB
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    Intel HD4000 + Nvidia Geforce 630M
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    That's basically it.

broiyan

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regarding a fresh install of 8.1 inside VirtualBox

Strollin, will your license key work with the Windows 8.1 full install? I only have an Windows 8 license key, so I went the upgrade route and am hesitant to do a full install.
 

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    8.1

Hopachi

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Stay tuned because 4.3.4 will be available soon, folder exists already. We'll see if some fixes were applied regarding Win8.

You guys should test that out when possible. But in any case I wouldn't recommend upgrading any OS in a VM, but for testing only, since a clean install will always be faster. During the upgrade, the OS requirements change and unless you adapt the VM settings between shutdowns some major requirements will block you. THE OS UPGRADE ISSUE IS NORMAL FOR VM's.

If you upgrade an OS in a VM then the first thing you do is Change the OS version form the settings and reinstall/update the VM additions. But we've already did this step to begin with, right?

settings.jpg

Of course this might not always fix it if some bugs exist for the particular case.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 x64
    Computer type
    Laptop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    HP Envy DV6 7250
    CPU
    Intel i7-3630QM
    Motherboard
    HP, Intel HM77 Express Chipset
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel HD4000 + Nvidia Geforce 630M
    Sound Card
    IDT HD Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    15.6' built-in + Samsung S22D300 + 17.3' LG Phillips
    Screen Resolution
    multiple resolutions
    Hard Drives
    Samsung SSD 250GB + Hitachi HDD 750GB
    PSU
    120W adapter
    Case
    small
    Cooling
    laptop cooling pad
    Keyboard
    Backlit built-in + big one in USB
    Mouse
    SteelSeries Sensei
    Internet Speed
    slow and steady
    Browser
    Chromium, Pale Moon, Firefox Developer Edition
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    That's basically it.

broiyan

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Hopachi, I upgraded to VirtualBox 4.3.4 and switched the VirtualBox guest operating system setting to Windows 8.1 and booted Windows 8. There were no complaints about the mis-match. I proceeded to Windows Store and this time the upgrade to Windows 8.1 was permitted.

I don't know if the switch to VirtualBox 4.3.4 was the reason for the success or if it was the VirtualBox setting for the guest operating system. (I believe that in the past, I tried the guest system selection change and it did not help so I went back to selecting Windows 8 just to be consistent with the guest system that was actually being booted.)
 

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  • OS
    8.1

Hopachi

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Hopachi, I upgraded to VirtualBox 4.3.4 and switched the VirtualBox guest operating system setting to Windows 8.1 and booted Windows 8. There were no complaints about the mis-match. I proceeded to Windows Store and this time the upgrade to Windows 8.1 was permitted.

I don't know if the switch to VirtualBox 4.3.4 was the reason for the success or if it was the VirtualBox setting for the guest operating system. (I believe that in the past, I tried the guest system selection change and it did not help so I went back to selecting Windows 8 just to be consistent with the guest system that was actually being booted.)

It might have indeed helped, we don't know for sure...

There were some Windows guests and host changes included, a bit more fixes than 4.3.2 brought.

https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Changelog
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 x64
    Computer type
    Laptop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    HP Envy DV6 7250
    CPU
    Intel i7-3630QM
    Motherboard
    HP, Intel HM77 Express Chipset
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel HD4000 + Nvidia Geforce 630M
    Sound Card
    IDT HD Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    15.6' built-in + Samsung S22D300 + 17.3' LG Phillips
    Screen Resolution
    multiple resolutions
    Hard Drives
    Samsung SSD 250GB + Hitachi HDD 750GB
    PSU
    120W adapter
    Case
    small
    Cooling
    laptop cooling pad
    Keyboard
    Backlit built-in + big one in USB
    Mouse
    SteelSeries Sensei
    Internet Speed
    slow and steady
    Browser
    Chromium, Pale Moon, Firefox Developer Edition
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    That's basically it.

strollin

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Hopachi, I upgraded to VirtualBox 4.3.4 and switched the VirtualBox guest operating system setting to Windows 8.1 and booted Windows 8. There were no complaints about the mis-match. I proceeded to Windows Store and this time the upgrade to Windows 8.1 was permitted.

I don't know if the switch to VirtualBox 4.3.4 was the reason for the success or if it was the VirtualBox setting for the guest operating system. (I believe that in the past, I tried the guest system selection change and it did not help so I went back to selecting Windows 8 just to be consistent with the guest system that was actually being booted.)
I tried upgrading to 4.3.4 a couple of days ago when it first became available but it didn't help.

After reading of how you said you switched the guest OS setting to Windows 8.1, I was skeptical since I thought that setting was only taken into account when first creating the VM. I was pleasantly surprised when I was then able to proceed with the upgrade. I've never changed that setting on a VM once it was already created.

Thanks Broiyan!
 

My Computer

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  • OS
    W10 Pro (desktop), W10 (laptop), W10 Pro (tablet)
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Home built i7-8700K, Hp Envy x360 EVO Laptop, MS Surface Pro 7
    CPU
    3.7Ghz Core i7-8700K, 11th Gen Core i7-1165G7 4.7Ghz, 10th Gen Core™ i5-1035G4 1.1Ghz
    Motherboard
    ASUS TUF Z370-Pro Gaming, HP, MS
    Memory
    16G, 8G, 8G
    Graphics Card(s)
    AMD Radeon RX580, Intel Iris X Graphics, Intel Iris Plus Graphics G4
    Sound Card
    ATI High Definition Audio (Built-in to mobo)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dual Samsung U32J59 32 inch monitors, 13.3" display, 12.3" display
    Screen Resolution
    3840x2160 (Desktop), 1920x1080 (laptop), 2736x1824 Pro 7
    Hard Drives
    500GB ssd boot drive with 2 & 10TB Data (Desktop), 512GB ssd (laptop), 128GB SSD (tablet)
    PSU
    Corsair CX 750M
    Case
    Antec 100
    Cooling
    Coolermaster CM 212+
    Keyboard
    IBM Model M - used continuously since 1986
    Mouse
    Microsoft IntelliMouse
    Internet Speed
    665Mbps/15Mbps down/up
    Browser
    FireFox, MS Edge
    Antivirus
    Defender on all
    Other Info
    Retired in 2015 after working in the tech industry for 41 years. First 10 years as a Technician, the rest as a programmer/software engineer. After 1 year of retirement, I was bored so went back to work as a Robotic Process Automation Consultant. Retired for 3rd (and final) time in 2019.
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