Getting a fully activated Windows 8.1 installed on VirtualBox – and the crap that Microsoft puts you through

  • Create a new VM on VirtualBox. Make sure you are running atleast VirtualBox 4.2.16
  • run vboxmanage setextradata <name of VM>  VBoxInternal/CPUM/CMPXCHG16B 1
  • vboxmanage list vms – get the UUID for the VM that you just created
  • vboxmanage modifyvm <UUID of VM> –hardwareuuid <some random UUID> – what this step does is create a hardware uuid for your VM. Now, after you activate windows, you can clone this VM and not lose activation. (Dear Microsoft, this is not to screw you, but give myself the power to be destructive to VMs. I am using a VM, so that I dont have to be too careful with it.)
  • Download a Windows 8.1 ISO from
  • Make sure your “network card” in VirtualBox is disconnected. This way you can make a local account, instead of being tied to a Live account. This has a lot of problems just in case you are not connected to the internet at a later stage of using your PC.
  • Use a “Windows 8.1 Generic Key” to install your Windows 8.1 ISO
  • Once Windows is installed, you will need to change the key to your key. To do that, Right-Click the Start button and start the Command Prompt (Admin).
    Type the following commands:
    slmgr /rearm
    reboot you computer and it should be activated.
  • To get full screen on VirtualBox, you need to use VirtualBox Guest Additions 4.2.16 ISO (not a higher version – there is a bug)
  • For heavens sake uninstall “Skype for Windows 8” tile and install proper Skype from here.


God – seriously ? These are all the steps I need to follow to install an OS that I have bought on VirtualBox ? This is bullcrap.

Microsoft, please learn to trust your customer base a little bit more.

  • And from did you start feeling the need for Windows again ? 🙂

    • sandeepss

      running MS Office !

  • Curious – I had heard from some forum or other (total heresay, I haven’t tried myself yet) that cloning a VM, even with a hardware UUID set, wouldn’t fool Windows 8.1.

    I haven’t had the guts to try it myself for fear of wasting an activation key. Have you?

    • sandeepss

      well – I did clone it and restarted it to check verified status. It looked well and fine. However, I am still using the primary VM that I set up.