Windows 11 set a precedent for being the most difficult operating system to install. Apart from the high system requirements, it requires a TPM 2.0 chip and Secure Boot to install. Without that, you cannot try out Windows 11. Even if you have both these components in your system, running the new Windows operating system as a virtual machine is no easy feat.
But VirtualBox 7.0 supports emulation of TPM 2.0 chip and Secure Boot out of the box. We will elaborate on how to install Windows 11 on VirtualBox directly without any registry hacks.
What’s Good About the New VirtualBox 7.0?
When Windows 11 launched in 2021, many enthusiasts tried to create virtual machines using VirtualBox or other virtualization software. But Microsoft’s stern hardware requirements included Secure Boot Technology and TPM 2.0 support. No hypervisors on the market could emulate the TPM 2.0 chip, or offer Secure Boot in UEFI mode.
Until now, enthusiasts relied on registry hacks to bypass the TPM 2.0 and Secure Boot requirements while installing Windows 11 as a virtual machine. But VirtualBox 7.0 and newer builds offer TMP 2.0 emulation and Secure Boot support for virtual machines. So, if you try to create a Windows 11 virtual machine, you can emulate these two features and not face the glaring error that says “This PC Can’t Run Windows 11”.
Make note that you can install Windows 11 on VirtualBox 7.0 without any difficulty only if your PC has a TPM 2.0 chip and supports secure boot. So, if you use an old system that doesn’t have Secure Boot or a TPM chip, you cannot install Windows 11 directly. Check out our guide on what Secure Boot is and how it works for more information.
How To Install Windows 11 on VirtualBox 7.0
Oracle revamped the UI of VirtualBox with version 7.0. So, the virtual machine creation process includes some new options as well. You will need the latest version of the Windows 11 ISO image file and the VirtualBox 7.0 setup file.
As such, before you continue, download both these files. You can grab Windows 11 from the Windows Software Download website, and VirtualBox 7.0 from the VirtualBox website.
If you are trying out VirtualBox for the first time, first enable the Virtualization feature using the system BIOS.
1. Create Windows 11 Virtual Machine
To create Windows 11 in VirtualBox 7.0, repeat the following steps:
- Launch the VirtualBox 7.0 app on your system. Click on the Machine option in the top menu and select the New option.
- Create a virtual machine window that will launch. Enter the name of the virtual machine you want to create. You can name it anything, but it should be distinguishable. We named it Win11VM.
- Next, you need to pick the storage location where the virtual machine will reside. By default, it picks the C drive. But if you don’t have adequate space there or want to keep things separate, click on the arrow icon and select the Other option.
- Navigate to the drive or folder directory of your choice and create a new folder there. Click on the new folder and then click the Select Folder button.
- Then, move to the ISO Image option. Click on the arrow icon and select the Other option from the drop-down menu. Navigate to the Download folder and select the Windows 11 ISO image file.
- The Edition, Type, and Version will auto-populate. Then click on the Skip unattended installation checkbox.
- Click on the arrow icon to expand the Hardware section. Adjust the Base Memory slider to 4GB or more (depending upon the total RAM on your system).
- Next, adjust the Processor core slider and allocate at least 4 Cores to the virtual machine. Increase it to 6 or 8 cores if you have processor cores to spare.
- Click on the arrow icon to expand the Hard Disk section. Here you need to create a virtual disk for the Windows 11 virtual machine.
- VirtualBox will preset the storage capacity to 80 GB in the Create a virtual disk now option. Do not modify it. Keep the Hard Disk File Size and Variant as VDI and keep the Pre-allocate full-size option unchecked.
- Click on the Finish button to create the Windows 11 virtual machine. The virtual machine will appear in the list on the left-hand side.
2. Install Windows 11 on the Virtual Machine
To install Windows 11 in VirtualBox 7.0, repeat the following steps:
- Click on the newly created Windows 11 virtual machine. Navigate to the right-hand side section and click on the Settings button.
- Select the System option in the Settings section. Locate the TPM option and check that the TPM 2.0 version is active.
- Scroll down and check that the Secure Boot checkbox is active as well. If not, click on the checkbox to enable Secure Boot.
- Click on OK to save changes and exit the Settings window. Go to the top area and click on the Start icon to boot up the virtual machine.
- The virtual machine will launch in a separate window. Press any key to boot into the Windows 11 setup.
- Check the Windows 11 language, region, and keyboard layout and click on the Next button. Then click on the Install now button.
- Microsoft will prompt you to activate Windows. Click on the I don’t have a product key option.
- Select the operating system version (Home, Pro, or Enterprise) and click on the Next button.
- Read and accept the EULA and click on the Next button.
- Now, select the Custom install option and pick Drive 0 as the installation drive.
Windows 11’s installation will begin. It will take a while to copy files and prepare the system for the first boot. If you have an SSD in your system, the installation will take lesser time (It took us only 6 minutes on an NVMe PCI-e Gen 4 SSD).
- Once the virtual machine restarts and finished settings up devices and services, Windows will ask you to select the region.
- Keep the keyboard layout default and then enter a name for the Windows 11 system.
- Enter your Microsoft account details and then log in. After that create a PIN and click on the OK button to continue.
- Customize your Privacy settings and click on the Accept button. Skip all the rest useless bloatware stuff and wait till you boot to the desktop screen.
Windows 11 is now up and running as a virtual machine in VirtualBox 7.0. All of its security features will work flawlessly, and you don’t have to modify the registry values to install it. If you want to use this Windows 11 virtual machine on another system then check out our guide on how to export a VirtualBox VM Image to another computer.
Run Windows 11 in VirtualBox Without Any Trouble
VirtualBox 7.0 enables you to run Windows 11 without bypassing hardware requirements. But remember that your system should have Secure Boot and a TPM 2.0 chip. Moreover, you can enable or disable these components after the installation completes.
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