Jan 202013

Windows 8 has already landed in the market of operating systems for mobile devices, trying to compete with Android. Its success will greatly depend on the availability of value added apps for this platform.

To enter this new field, an application developer must start by setting up an environment to develop apps targeted to the Windows 8 platform. In this post we will outline the steps required to get the development environment ready.


The Windows 8 development kit (Windows 8 SDK) is part of the “Microsoft Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows 8” tool. This tool can only be installed on a Windows 8 system. Instead of installing Windows 8 on a computer, it is possible to run Windows 8 on a virtual machine inside a computer running a different version of Windows (or Linux). An evaluation license of Windows 8 can also be obtained.

In this post we will explain how to install Windows 8 on VirtualBox. The pre-requisites for this setup are:

  • a working installation of VirtualBox 4.2.6 or above
  • hardware virtualization support in the host system
  •  4 GBytes RAM (1 GByte available for the virtual machine)

Download the Windows 8 Enterprise evaluation version

To be able to download the Windows 8 evaluation version we need a Microsoft Live account. In case we don’t already have one, The first step is to sign up for a free account at https://signup.live.com/signup.aspx

Once validated, we can access the Windows 8 Enterprise evaluation for developers. At the bottom of this page, there are two links to download the ISO images for the 32bit and 64 bit versions. In the same page it is noted that the 32bit version requires 1GB RAM to run, and the 64bit version requires 2GB RAM. We decided to download the 32bit version. The file downloaded is named 9200.16384.WIN8_RTM.120725-1247_X86FRE_ENTERPRISE_EVAL_EN-US-HRM_CENA_X86FREE_EN-US_DV5.ISO, and is 2.4 GBytes in size.

Setting up the virtual machine

In the VirtualBox Manager window, create a new virtual machine. In the dialog box, enter:

  • Name: Windows 8 development
  • Type: Microsoft Windows
  • Version: Windows 8


Then, in the next dialog box accept the recommended setting of 1024 MB RAM assigned to the virtual machine.

Next, create a virtual hard disk. Accept all the default values: “Create a virtual hard drive now”, hard drive type “VDI”, “Dynamically allocated”, 25 GBytes.

Installing Windows 8 on the virtual machine

Once the virtual machine has been created, we need to mount the Windows 8 ISO image downloaded. To do it, select the virtual machine in the VirtualBox Manager main window, and go to “Settings >> Storage >>Controller: IDE >> Add CD/DVD Device”:



After the ISO image has been mounted, click on “Start”, to start the installation of the operating system:


In this first window, make sure to select the type of keyboard matching your physical keyboard. Then, click on “Next” to allow the installation to proceed. The progress is reflected on the screen:




 Installation of the SDK

Once the installation of the Windows 8 system has finished, log in and run Internet Explorer to go to the Microsoft Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows 8 download page. Download the files VS2012_WINEXP_enu.ISO (403 MB) y win8express_full.exe (922KB), and run the downloaded executable:



Once the installation has finished, when Visual Studio starts for the first time a dialog box is presented asking for a key to register. Pressing “Cancel”, another dialog box is presented that allows us to request a Windows 8 developer license:


Click on “I Agree”, and the process to obtain a developer license starts. As part of this process, the Microsoft account user and password are requested again. Once finished, the Visual Studio main windows is presented, and we are ready to start the development clicking on “Start Project”:


And this finishes the setup of the Windows 8 apps development environment.

In the next post in this series we will explain how to create a small sample app using this environment.



· Getting started with Windows 8 app development
· Windows 8 product guide for developers
· Design resources for Windows 8 apps
· Selling apps in the Windows Store

 Posted by at 5:44 pm

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