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Windows 8 Virtual LoadFest

Windows 8 was officially released to manufacturing on August 1st, 2012 and it will be generally available for new purchases on October 26th.  NOW is a great time to start getting familiar with this latest Windows operating system that provides improvements across the board - including a new touch-enabled Tile-based User Interface, Storage Spaces, Simplified Printing, File History, PowerShell 3.0, Client Hyper-V Virtualization and MUCH more!  Whether you have a Desktop, Laptop, Ultrabook or Slate PC - Windows 8 provides new benefits to increase productivity, usability and performance.

Between now and October 26th, we're providing a Virtual "LoadFest" Kit that you can use to load Windows 8 in a dual-boot configuration without upsetting your existing Windows 7 operating system.  You can use this kit to install Windows 8 individually, or copy this kit to a set of 4GB or larger USB storage devices and organize your own ad-hoc LoadFest event with your friends! 

NOTE: This kit leverages Windows 8 Release Preview code.  This code is prior to the final release of Windows 8 and is not intended for use as your production operating system.  Following the steps below will provide you with a dual-boot Windows 8 installation for evaluation, testing and learning purposes.

What you'll need to get started:

  • A USB storage device with at least 4GB of free space - preferably USB 2.0 or 3.0
  • An existing Windows 7 PC that meets the following hardware requirements:

Windows 7 or later operating system already installed
2GB or more of TOTAL RAM memory
At least 21GB of FREE disk space on your C: system drive
One available USB 2.0 or 3.0 port
64-bit capable hardware
Disk encryption and/or pre-boot authentication not active or disabled
Administrator rights to your PC

  • If your PC does not meet the above requirements, DO NOT attempt to proceed with these steps, as you will not be successful.

DISCLAIMER: This process is intended for testing and evaluation purposes only and is provided for use at your own risk.  No explicit or implied warranties or support is provided.

Let's Get Started!

Backup. While this process is not designed or expected to disrupt your existing operating system installation, we recommend that you make a complete backup of your existing PC prior to proceeding as a precaution.

Download. You can download the Windows 8 LoadFest kit from the following link location: http://aka.ms/win8loadfestkit

Copy. Copy the downloaded files to your USB storage device, taking care to preserve the same folder structure as the original download location.  When you are finished copying to your USB storage device, your folder structure should match the following layout:

Root - \

Win8RP-Setup.cmd

BootVHD

unzip.exe

VHDAttach.txt

VHDDetach.txt

Win8RP-Extract.cmd

Win8RP-Key.txt

Win8RP-Pro-Boot.zip

Print. Print out a copy of the Win8RP-Key.txt file.  This file contains the Windows 8 Release Preview Product Key that you will need to input during the initial operating system configuration process.

Connect. Connect your USB storage device to the PC that meets the above requirements and you wish to install Windows 8 Release Preview as a dual-boot operating system choice - after you've finished backing up this PC, of course ;-)

Launch. Open the root folder on the USB storage device and right-click on the "Win8RP-Setup.cmd" file.  Select the "Run as Administrator" option on the right-click menu.  This will start the setup process.

Read and Follow. Once the setup process starts, read the prompts and follow along.  You'll have Windows 8 installed on your machine in a dual-boot configuration in no time!

Learn. Once you've installed Windows 8 Release Preview in a dual-boot configuration, learn about all the new business features by walking through this new Windows 8 Product Guide for Business.

Navigate. Need some help navigating around the new Windows 8 style user interface?  Check out this list of Windows 8 Hotkeys keyboard shortcuts.

Questions or Comments?

Is this process useful to you? Feel free to email us with any questions, comments or feedback!

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Additional Resources