Test Windows 7 RC on a Virtual Machine [Part 2]

Guy McDowell 12-05-2009

windows_7_graphic1Since my last article Test Windows 7 RC on a Virtual Machine [Part 1] In the past, beta's and release candidates would normally be released to IT professionals who had an extra computer kicking around to test things like this on. Yet, what if you just have the one... Read More you’ve been sitting there with your freshly installed virtual machine, just waiting with baited breath to install Windows 7 Release Candidate.


Wait no more, my friend, wait no more.

Now we’ll install Win7RC on your virtual machine.

Step 1 – Download the Windows 7 Release Candidate ISO

Head on over to Microsoft and download the Win7RC ISO.  Once you initiate the download, Microsoft will issue you a product code. Either print that page or write the code down – you’ll need it later.

Remember where I said ‘wait no more’? Yeah, about that…the download is about 2.3 GB, so you’ll have to wait a bit more. I believe the download traffic is pretty heavy right now, since I had to restart the download several times. All told, it took me about a day to download it. Maybe you should give your mom a call while you wait. She misses you and wonders why you don’t call more often.

Step 2 – Mount the Windows 7 RC ISO

Open the Sun VirtualBox application and click on the Settings button, like in the picture.



When the settings windows appears, click on CD/DVD-ROM in the left side of the window. Then, check Mount CD/DVD Drive and check the ISO Image File button below it. Now click on the folder icon and navigate to where you downloaded the Win7RC ISO and select it. Click OK.


You’ll be returned to the main window of the VirtualBox application. Now just select your Win7RC virtual machine and click on Start. Once the new virtual machine session starts, Windows 7 RC will begin installing.



Step 3- Install Windows 7 RC

The first screen you will see will ask you for language and other preferences. I’ve often wondered why there is a US keyboard and not a Canadian keyboard. We could have an ‘A’ key and an ‘Eh’ key.


Then, just to make sure you really want to install Windows 7, they ask you.



Of course, there is the standard Microsoft Licensing Agreement. I scanned it for words like ‘soul’, ‘damnation’, and ‘eternity’. Nothing came up, so it looks legit.


Here’s where you decide what type of installation you want. If this is your first time installing Win7RC, choose Custom (Advanced). Don’t fret, it’s not really advanced at all.



Now the installer asks you where you would like to install Win7RC. You should only be presented with one option, so that makes choosing pretty easy.<


Your computer will now continue to install Windows 7 RC. Time to install may vary, but it was only about 20 minutes or so on my laptop.


Step 4 – Complete the Windows 7 RC Install

Microsoft hasn’t really changed the set-up procedure any from XP or Vista. It’s really quite a simply process from here on in. First you’ll be asked to create a User Name and a Computer Name.


Then you’ll set a password for your account. I didn’t bother with setting a password since you need a password to get on my computer in the first place, before you can get to Windows 7.


The next step is where you enter your product key. Remember when you were given the product key when you downloaded the Win7RC? Now is the time for that. You can’t just copy and paste that from your host machine into the virtual machine though. You’ll need to go back and forth, or write it on a piece of paper and type in the code from that. That’s probably easiest.


Tip: Here’s a little tip I’ll give you. Look in the bottom-right hand corner of your VirtualBox screen. Do you see a small box with an arrow in it? Good. Right next to that is a phrase that probably says Right Control. What that means is that you need to hit the Control key that is on the right side of your keyboard in order for the VirtualBox to give up control of your cursor so you can use it on your host operating system. It’s called the Host Key.Think of it as being kind of like a keyboard-video-mouse (KVM) switch between two physical computers.


Your laptop may not have a Right Control key. I know mine doesn’t. Don’t panic. I did. You can set another key to work as the cursor release. Here’s how you do that. Go back to the VirtualBox window. Click on File, then click on Preferences.


Once the Settings window opens you can click on Input. Now you’ll see a grey box that says Right Control. Click in that box and then hit the key you would prefer to use. Click OK to make the setting stick.


Back to the install…..

Windows 7 RC will now ask you how you want to deal with updates. I chose Use Recommended Settings for no other reason than that was what was recommended.


And last but not least, set your regional time settings.


So now your install is done. You are not only rewarded with the honour of testing out the Windows 7 RC for free, but the visual pun of the Betta fish on the desktop. Get it? Betta? Beta? Yeah, programmers aren’t known for the best puns.


(Shout out to Rodolfo Arrigorriaga who emailed me directly. Yes, you can install VirtualBox on any physical partition and Win7RC will work on whatever virtual machine you then create.

Good question.)

Have you installed Windows 7RC? Used a different virtual machine application? Let us know what you think!

Related topics: Virtualization, Windows 7.

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  2. Vasilis
    January 15, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Thanks Guy nice tutorial :)

  3. Click
    June 11, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    Successful install of Win7rc on XP machine, in a Virtual Hard Drive. Can boot into it with dual boot but would prefer to use Virtualbox. But VB gives boot error message. Is it nec. to re-install Win7rc with Virtualbox, or is there some way to get Virtualbox to access the existing VHD?

    • Guy McDowell
      June 11, 2009 at 5:34 pm

      If I understand the documentation correctly, you would need to install Win7RC under VirtualBox. But don't quote me on that.

  4. anonymous
    June 8, 2009 at 12:02 am

    Win7 x64 wouldn't install using this process. I'm running vista x64 now. I was able to get it to install using vmware workstation using basically the same process though.

  5. Louis
    June 4, 2009 at 1:21 am

    I did the same thing like you -- install Windows7 on VirtualBox.

  6. Kitten
    May 26, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    Took ages (mostly due to the fact that I installed the 64bit system when i should've installed the 32bit one--oops!), but I finally got it installed. It looks absolutely GORGEOUS-- can't wait until it's released out of beta.

    My first act of business: to install Firefox. :P

  7. micknh
    May 15, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    If I am running a Windows 7 Virtual Box inside Ubuntu do I need to use virus protection?

    • Guy McDowell
      May 16, 2009 at 12:28 am

      I believe that if you were to contract a virus while using Windows 7 in VirtualBox, it shouldn't affect your Ubuntu install. However, with all the free anti-virus software out there, it wouldn't hurt to install it on your Windows 7 install.

  8. micknh
    May 15, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    This worked very well on my Dell Inspiron 1501 running Ubuntu 9.04 even though it warned about the fact I only have 2 gb ram and the audio doesn't work.

    Very good first experience using Virtual Box

  9. NomDeGuerre
    May 13, 2009 at 8:08 am

    This actually works really well! All of the drivers work as expected (except for the video card).

  10. Alex
    May 13, 2009 at 1:13 am

    IF you're on a Windows Network I wouldn't recommend using Suns Virtual Box, it will dump files in your profile no matter where you try to put the virtual hard disks. And waiting 45 minutes for your Windows profile to load once you login is not fun.

  11. Babylon
    May 13, 2009 at 12:26 am

    I've installed Windows 7RC on VMWare Fusion. and it's working like a charm. XP Mode, however, doesn't work, even though preliminary processor tests seem to say that it should work, it's sort of expected. (running a VM inside a VM)

    • Alex Hunter
      November 14, 2009 at 6:03 pm

      very good!

  12. Stargazer
    May 12, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    Moscowmodder, your answer is no. your video card must be hardware accelerated, so you cannot run aero in a Vbox.

  13. Moscowmodder
    May 12, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    What I'd like to know is whether or not it is possible to get Aero on VirtualBox!

  14. Victor Vasconcelos
    May 12, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    Well, your pun brought a smile on my face. But then again, I'm drunk.