Awhile back I wrote an article about running Windows 8 on vSphere 5, but the trick did not work. There was an issue during the installation that caused a system panic in the OS and prevented Windows 8 to be installed. VMware did not officially support Windows 8 as a guestOS in vSphere 5 as Windows 8 itself was not released, only a developer preview was available.

It looks like VMware has been hard at work to get support for Windows 8 running on the vSphere 5 platform and I recently got a tidbit that the issue was resolved in a recent ESXi 5 patch. Make sure you keep this on the DL .... they maybe watching 🙂

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

Here are the five easy steps to run Windows 8 on ESXi 5

  1. Download and install ESXi500-201112001 (patch02) from VMware patch repository.
  2. Create either a Windows 7 or Windows 2008 R2 regular VM (must be either of these guests)
  3. Edit your VM and under "Hardware->Video Card" enable 3D graphics support (this is required if you plan on running VMware Tools). You will also need to use e1000 network driver, VMXNET3 does not work
  4. Install Windows 8 using ISO
  5. Sit back and wait for the installation to complete. 

Here are a few screenshots of Windows 8 running on ESXi 5

So there you have it, you can now run the developer preview of Windows 8 on vSphere 5!

FYI - VMware does have a KB article regarding Windows 8 on vSphere which I hear will be updated very shortly. Be sure to follow it for the full details when it is updated.


If you decide to install VMware Tools (which you should always), after a reboot, you may notice the system just sitting on the splash screen and not allowing you to login. The fix is to enable 3D graphics support. Power down your Windows 8 VM and edit the settings under Hardware->Video Graphics and check the 3D box and then power back on your VM.

7 thoughts on “How to Run Windows 8 on vSphere 5 (for reals)

  1. with ESXi 5 update 1 VMXnet3 is now supported (after installing vmtools) and no longer need to enable 3D GFX support to make vmtools work ok.

  2. Hi Everyone,

    i created the VM in vcenter5 recently and if i am going for remote console ( through object tag … clsid … )from my application, the screen is just black but it is accepting the keyboard input. The display is black for both type of VMs (linux / windows ). Please help me in this issue…

    – Paul

  3. Still, it’s a great development for vmware as far as keeping windows 8 running on their environment is concerned. I sure hope they manage to fully integrate the OS, though; it would be a good bit of a study to see how it will work away from its home environment for a change.

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