A few weeks back I wrote an article on how to run Windows 8 Developer Preview on ESXi 5, which required a small trick to get working. Today, it looks like Microsoft just released the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and Windows 8 Server. For those looking to give these a try, you can do so by using vSphere 5.
Disclaimer: VMware still does not officially support Windows 8 on vSphere, this is mainly for educational and testing purposes. Do not use this in a production environment
UPDATE (06/02/12): The steps below are the same for the recent release of Windows 8 Release Preview and Windows Server 2008 (Windows 8 Server) RC.
Here are the three easy steps to run Windows 8 on ESXi 5
- Download and install ESXi500-201112001 (patch02) from VMware patch repository.
- Create either a Windows 7 or Windows 2008 R2 regular VM (You will need to use e1000 network driver, VMXNET3 does not work)
- Install Windows 8 Consume Preview or Server using the ISO (tested with 64bit)
Note: Unlike the Developer Preview, no additional tweaks are needed to install Windows 8 Consumer Preview other than the ESXi 5.0 patch.
When you first boot up Windows 8, you should see this fish logo. Be patient and give it a few minutes to load:
Shortly after, you will be prompted to start the installation:
Here is a screenshot of Windows 8 Consumer Preview running on ESXi 5.0:
Here is a screenshot of Windows 8 Server running on ESXi 5.0:
Here is a screenshot of Windows 8 Server w/Hyper-V role enabled running on ESXi 5.0:
To enable Hyper-V role, you will need to perform the following changes:
- Update the guestOS to Windows 8 64bit using the vSphere Client
- Add the following CPUID bits using the vSphere Client
- Add the advanced setting using the vSphere Client hypervisor.cpuid.v0 = FALSE as described by this article as well as mce.enabled = TRUE (this is a new parameter introduced in ESXi 5) which is needed to run Hyper-V3 in Windows 8
- Install Hyper-V role
- Shutdown host
- Remove advanced setting using the vSphere Client
- Host should now boot and you should see the Hyper-V manager interface
Note: You can install VMware Tools on either Windows 8 releases by right clicking on the VM->Guest->Install VMware Tools. If you install VMware Tools on Windows 8 Server, you may need to enable 3D support if you get a black screen after installation as noted in this article.
So if you are itching to try out the new Windows 8 Consumer Preview or Server, you can install it and run it on vSphere 5!