How to deploy Windows 11 on VirtualBox


Jack Wallen shows you the extra steps you need to take to get Windows 11 running as a virtual guest on VirtualBox.

Windows 11 operating system
Image: IB Photography/Adobe Stock

Recently, I had to test something with Windows 11. Not having a machine with Windows 11 and not having touched the Windows OS for some time meant I had to spin up a virtual machine with Microsoft’s latest operating system.

I assumed everything would work as per expected. I was wrong: You know what they say about making assumptions. What I discovered is that you must jump through a couple of extra hoops to get Windows 11 running as a virtual machine using the VirtualBox technology.

SEE: 40+ open source and Linux terms you need to know (TechRepublic Premium)

Let me reveal those secret steps so you too can have Windows 11 running as a virtual machine.

What you’ll need

To make this happen, you’ll need a running instance of VirtualBox. It doesn’t matter if you’re running the software on Linux, macOS or Windows, as the process will be the same. You’ll also need an ISO of Windows 11.

That’s it. Let’s make some magic.

How to handle the initial configurations

The big problem with Windows 11 is that it’s going to run several checks to make sure your hardware is compatible. With virtual machines, it doesn’t matter if your host hardware is Windows 11 compatible or not, as the installer will not be able to run those tests on the host machine. Because of that, you have to trick Windows 11 into not running the checks as a virtual machine.

To do that, you’ll first need to set up the virtual machine as you would with any guest OS. The big difference is you’ll need to make sure to configure the guest with the following minimum requirements:

  • Minimum 4 GB of base memory (configured in System | Motherboard)
  • Enable EFI (configured in System | Motherboard)
  • 2 CPUs (configured in System | Processor).
  • Minimum 64 GB of storage space (configured in Storage)
  • Minimum 256 MB of video memory (configured in Display)
  • The Graphics controller must be set as VBoxSVGA (configured in Display)

Once you have those minimums set, make sure to attach the ISO in the Storage section and you’re ready to go.

How to bypass the checks

Once you boot the virtual machine, you’ll reach the normal installation wizard. In the initial screen, select your install language, time and currency format, and keyboard. Click Next and when you see the Install now button, click Shift+F10 to open the command prompt. At the command prompt, type:

regedit

Chances are pretty good you’ve already used the regedit tool, so I’m not going to hold your hand through this. However, here’s what you need to create within the Registry Editor:

  1. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMSetup and right-click the Setup key.
  2. Select New | Key.
  3. Name the key LabConfig and press enter.
  4. Right-click the new LabConfig key and select New | DWORD (32-bit).
  5. Create a value named BypassTPMCheck.
  6. Set the BypassTPMCheck data to 1.
  7. Right-click the new LabConfig key and select New | DWORD (32-bit).
  8. Create a value named BypassRAMCheck.
  9. Set the BypassTPMCheck data to 1.
  10. Right-click the new LabConfig key and select New | DWORD (32-bit).
  11. Create a value named BypassSecureBootCheck.
  12. Set the BypassTPMCheck data to 1.
  13. Close the Registry Editor.

With the Registry edits taken care of, type exit to close the command prompt and click Install Now. The installation should go off without a hitch. Once the installation completes, you can boot into your new Windows 11 virtual machine and start using the OS as needed.

And that’s all there is to get Windows 11 running as a virtual machine with VirtualBox.

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