How To Test Windows 8 On A Tablet

Chris Hoffman 12-11-2012

test windows 8 tabletIt’s no secret that Windows 8’s new interface is a “touch-first experience” – Microsoft said it themselves. If you’re curious about upgrading to Windows 8, you can try Windows 8 on your PC – but unless you’re using a PC with a touch screen, it just isn’t the same. Assuming you have an iPad The Free Guide To Your iPad The iPad is an e-book reader, a newspaper, an entertainment center and a workstation. This device can do a lot in a very small package. Read More or Android tablet The 5 Best Android Devices You Can Buy This Fall Android devices have always struggled with a stigma of being a bit low-class compared to Apple’s lofty products. This may have been deserved when the first products hit the market years ago, but manufacturers have... Read More lying around, you can test Windows 8 with a touchscreen before you purchase a new Windows 8 PC or tablet.


You can’t actually install Windows 8 on your tablet, but we’ll be using a few tricks to experience Windows 8 on your existing tablet’s touch screen. For a lot more detail of course, you’ll want to check out the MUO Windows 8 guide The Windows 8 Guide This Windows 8 guide outlines everything new about Windows 8, from the tablet-like start screen to the new "app" concept to the familiar desktop mode. Read More .

What You’ll Need:

Disclaimer: The actual experience here isn’t the same as using Windows 8 on an actual Windows 8 tablet. The virtual machine and remote streaming software detract from the computer’s performance, slowing Windows 8’s smooth interface. Splashtop also can’t function exactly like a touch screen (unless you want to buy Splashtop’s Win8 Metro Testbed app, which is intended for app developers and costs $50).

Preparing The Virtual Machine

The first thing you’ll need to do is install Windows 8 in a virtual machine – check out our guide to installing Windows 8 in VirtualBox Try Out Windows 8 In VirtualBox Right Now For Free Are you curious about Windows 8, the upcoming operating system from Microsoft? Try it out in a virtual machine, right now, for free. All you need to do is download the free ISO file and... Read More if you need more help. With Windows 8 in a virtual machine, you can also see how the new interface performs with a mouse and keyboard Windows 8 In Daily Use: What Is It Really Like? You hate Windows 8, don’t you? You’ve never used it, you haven’t even seen it in action (other than via a few YouTube videos) but you hate it. It’s pointless, it’s ugly, it’s unwieldy… you... Read More (bear in mind the virtual machine software slows things down, too).

After you’ve got Windows 8 running in a virtual machine, you’ll need to install the Splashtop Streamer application in your Windows 8 virtual machine. This will allow you to access the virtual machine and control it from  your tablet. Ensure you install the Streamer inside your virtual machine, not on your host operating system.

test windows 8 tablet


Complete the install process and set up a Splashtop account. You’ll need the account to access your Windows 8 virtual machine from your tablet.

You’ll also need to enable bridged networking mode. By default, your virtual machine will be isolated on a different local network. Splashtop will prompt you to purchase the Anywhere Access Pack unless you enabled bridged networking. To do so, click the Machine menu and select Settings. From the Network section, click the Attached to box and select Bridged Adapter. This setting will take effect immediately – you won’t have to reboot your virtual machine.

test windows 8 on android tablet

Using Windows 8 On Your Tablet

Install the Splashtop app on your tablet and log in with the Splashtop username and password associated with your account. You’ll see your Windows 8 PC in the list – tap it to connect.


test windows 8 on android tablet

Once you have, you can use Windows 8 on your tablet’s touch screen. Unfortunately, Splashtop itself is controlling the mouse cursor remotely, so this won’t feel quite like using a touchscreen. Still, many of the operations work well with touch.

You can tap something to left-click it or touch-and-hold something to right-click it. This is just how tapping and long-pressing work on Windows 8. To scroll, place two fingers on the screen and drag them over the screen. You’ll see a full list of supported gestures when you first connect to your Windows 8 system with Splashtop.

test windows 8 on android tablet


You can access a keyboard by tapping the arrow button in the corner of your screen and tapping the keyboard A Handy Keyboard Shortcuts List for the Upcoming Microsoft Windows 8 Not having to reach for your mouse to do the most routine task is one huge benefit I enjoy every day. That's because I've memorized my list of Windows 7 keyboard shortcuts, and I use... Read More button. This allows you to tap the Windows key to return to your home screen after using an app, since Windows 8’s touch gestures 18 Essential Touch Gestures in Windows 10 Touch gestures are like keyboard shortcuts for your touchpad and touchscreen. And with Windows 10, they have finally become useful! We'll show you how to access the full potential of touch gestures. Read More for accessing the charms, switcher, and other operating system features by swiping in from the side of the screen don’t work with Splashtop.

windows 8 on tablet

Moving your cursor to a corner of the screen doesn’t work by default, either. To use the corners, tap the arrow button in the corner of the screen and tap the trackpad button to enable Trackpad mode. In trackpad mode, you can easily move the cursor to the corner of the screen to access the charms, switcher, and other features.

test windows 8 tablet


The Takeaway

Unfortunately, Splashtop doesn’t perfectly match the experience of using Windows 8 on a tablet. The smoothness of the interface is replaced by the jerkiness associated with all remote desktop software, and the swipe gestures to access critical navigation features aren’t available.

However, in many ways this experience is more instructive than using Windows 8 with a mouse and keyboard. Tapping elements on the screen with your finger feels more natural than using a mouse and keyboard with the new Windows 8 interface. Being able to hold the Windows 8 interface in your hands will give you an idea of whether you actually want a Windows 8 tablet or not. If you’re interested, you probably should look for a local electronic store, many of which have demonstration Windows 8 PCs and tablets set up. You can try Windows 8 and get the real experience in person.

Did you try Windows 8 on your tablet via Splashtop? What did you think of it? Did you discover any tips and tricks for using Windows 8 better from your tablet? Leave a comment and let us know!

Related topics: VirtualBox, Virtualization, Windows 8.

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    March 31, 2013 at 12:40 am

    Which version of Vitualbox for an android tablet?

  2. Austen Gause
    November 27, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    ill try it with my new tab

  3. Kshitij Verma
    November 24, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    HAHAHAHAH LOL Ipad users have to pay for Splashtop.

    So the score is
    Android - 1
    Apple - 0

    Go Android!

    • Chris Hoffman
      November 30, 2012 at 12:56 pm

      I was surprised, too!

    • Sahil Khanna
      May 11, 2013 at 7:15 am

      Jailbreak the answer lies within.

  4. Ron Lister
    November 24, 2012 at 1:37 am

    Thanks for sharing

  5. Boni Oloff
    November 14, 2012 at 2:52 am

    This looks like running Windows 8 in virtual box, but in the tablet.. :D

  6. Paolo Maffezzoli
    November 13, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Interesting tip using Splashtop a remote Virtual Box VM running Windows 8. It could be interesting to test in the real life a tablet and Windows 8 .

  7. Umair Adil
    November 13, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    I doubt my Ainol Tablet PC will survive after its installation.

  8. Anonymous
    November 13, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Windows 8 on an iPad? Seriously? That sound's... wrong... and pointless...

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      November 13, 2012 at 1:59 pm

      It for the sake of curiosity. Besides, it's done via virtualbox, so no harm done to your iPad.

  9. Ahmed Khalil
    November 13, 2012 at 10:18 am

    very good idea thanks for sharing this article

  10. ha14
    November 13, 2012 at 9:17 am

    it should have a good video card then and enough ram/processor power.

  11. Márcio Guerra
    November 13, 2012 at 5:43 am

    Really considering this in a near future!

    Thank you! Cheers!

  12. Osman Erkul
    November 13, 2012 at 5:39 am

    it's not really the same :) the sensitive corner or side touches that activate really important things like the start interface once you 're on desktop is problematic ..and also the screen size never fits proportionally especially from the top .
    also right sidebar activates really hard
    on desktop pc these are really responsive and useful ..

    • Chris Hoffman
      November 30, 2012 at 12:55 pm

      It's true, I expected it to work better. It seems Splashtop is reserving the best features for their $50 product. A bit dissapointing. Still a cool geeky trick, though. Looks impressive, if nothing else!

      "Hey look, I installed Windows 8 on my Nexus 7/iPad!"

  13. Alex Downs
    November 13, 2012 at 4:58 am

    I do really like 8 personally.

  14. Jon Smith
    November 13, 2012 at 4:54 am

    thats pretty cool but they could also use the splashtop app for other OSes like linux too

    • Chris Hoffman
      November 30, 2012 at 12:55 pm

      Yup, but you might as well just use it in a virtual machine at that point.

  15. Roehl Curioso
    November 13, 2012 at 3:05 am

    Cool Article!!

  16. martyn jones
    November 13, 2012 at 2:22 am

    Using windows 8 right now - payed for the $39 Pro while the offer was on and I like it a lot! Using the desktop a lot at the moment and it's running everything I had on Windows 7 and most of it faster.