Thursday, April 26, 2012

Windows 8 x64 Consumer Preview vs VMware Fusion? (DVD Driver Error)

UPDATE: This problem is specific to the 64-bit version of the installation, if you want to play-around with Windows 8 you can use the 32-bit version and you're fine. See here.

Just a quick post to show off how it seems to be impossible to install Microsoft's Windows 8 Consumer Preview into a virtual machine (I'm using VMware Fusion on my Mac).

First off I've configured the VM with 2Gb memory, 4 processors, and a 10gb Hard Drive (it's not like I'm going to be doing any serious amount of work on it). I'm using VMware Fusion 4.1.2 (683185) which I'm pretty certain is the latest version.

The base machine is a Mac BookPro running version Lion 10.7.3 with a 2.2GHz Intel i7 with 8GB of RAM. More than adequate for the task!

The first step was to download the ISO image from Microsoft's MSDN website. I'm going to use the 64-bit version. I'm not using the public images, I'm using the ones from the MSDN website. Are they the same? No idea. The name of the file is;


If that helps, I'm going to connect the DVD drive in VMware Fusion to the image (rather than burning a CD, I imagine this is what everyone does ... but just in case).

On booting after a few seconds delay I'm presented with the first screen;
Windows 8 Consumer Preview - First Dialog
The top menu, Language to Install, only includes US English (starting as they might wish to go on I guess ... ;-), but the second drop down allows me to specify UK English format for Times and Currencies. Clicking "Next" then takes me to this screen;
Windows 8 Consumer Preview - Install Now
Just one button "Install now". I really think the only purpose of this screen is to show you how simple the process is now. Given that the "Install Now" button is only a little larger than the "Next" button the previous screen why not just combine them? There seems to be enough space for the "Repair your computer" link button as well ... why two screens? Anyway, clicking "Install now";
Windows 8 Consumer Preview - Drive Install
And this is where everything starts to get a little bit Windows 95. The message being displayed is titled "Load Driver" and reads;

"A DVD driver your PC needs is missing. If you have a CD, DVD, or USB flash drive with the driver on it, pelase insert it now.

NOTE: If the installation media for Windows is in the DVD drive, you can safely remove it for this step".

Now help buttons, no explanation of why if I can get this far and suddenly I'm having a driver problem with the DVD drive which has the Windows Media on it. No "checking online for drivers" either, which is a bit of a surprise, but at least I should be happy that it's not asking for the floppy disk.

Unfortunately, as a long-time VMware Workstation user I find the lack of some controls in VMware Fusion a little frustrating, for example would using a SCSI DVD work better than the IDE one? With Fusion there doesn't' seem to be a way to find out ...

NOTE: Ironically Windows 8 Server seems to work and install perfectly without any issues, which is just odder and odder as you'd assume the install process was the same between the two systems.

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