Windows 10 Virtual Machine can be easily installed for free using Oracle VirtualBox virtualization hypervisor and pre-made Windows 10 Enterprise OVA virtual machine appliance. For example, if you need another Windows-based computer as a test environment in order to debug Chrome browser, Music app or Video production suite, or you simply wish to create a virtual playground to play around with different Windows options, demo software or virtual network setup, you can easily achieve that without the need to purchase another physical computer.
VirtualBox – How To Install Windows 10 Enterprise OVA Virtual Machine Appliance on Windows 10 Host
Basic Virtualization Terminology
- Hypervisor is a software application used to manage your virtual machine (VM) appliance and communicate between a host computer / operating system or directly with physical hardware
- Host Machine is a physical computer that runs Hypervisor and Virtual Machines
- Virtual Machine is a virtualized hardware (software defined) running your favorite operating system (OS) on a similar or different physical computer hardware and/or operating system
- OVA = Open Virtualization Format
There are many different hypervisors and software products (Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware Workstation, Oracle VirtualBox, Parallels Desktop are some of the big names in this area to name just a few – see full list here) and possibilities to install virtual machine on your existing physical computer.
Nested virtualizations are also possible e.g. run virtual machine inside another virtual machine inside a hypervisor (our tutorial about installing VMware Player on Ubuntu Linux was actually done on a Windows computer!).
Professional server environments use hypervisors that run directly on hardware (e.g. there is no need for a host operating system) in order to maximize hardware utilization, VM performance and compatibility. This goes beyond the scope of this article, as its main purpose is focused on home users.
Windows 10 is not a lightweight operating system and there are some minimum hardware requirements in order to properly run it. With VirtualBox as a hypervisor running under an existing Windows 10 computer, we suggest that your physical machine has at least:
- Intel Core i5, i7 or i9 CPU or equivalent AMD Ryzen 5, 7 or 9 or better
- 8 GB of RAM memory (more is better! 2 GB must be allocated to Win 10 VM in order to run)
- SSD hard drive (NVMe highly recommended)
Other specifications should be easily met, once you have above specs satisfied.
How To Install Fresh Windows 10 Virtual Machine using Oracle VirtualBox
Download Oracle VirtualBox
Download Windows 10 Enterprise Virtual Machine
Then follow this video tutorial how to create new Windows 10 sandbox environment useful for testing, debugging software applications and more!
NOTE: Keep in mind that different VirtualBox’s CPU virtualization options (Physical Address Extension (PAE) and NX processor bit (NX), Nested VT-x / AMD-v, number of physical cores used) we changed / set in our video tutorial are specific to our system (computer) we use. In order to maximize performance of your system you may first leave default options from OVA appliance when you run it for the first time and if you receive a very slow performance, than go back and change it as we did. If you have Hyper-V enabled, VirtualBox may suffer performance loss and Win 10 VM will take forever to boot and appear sluggish. Tweaking above options can help you fix this to some extent.
NOTE: Windows 10 OVA appliance comes with a limited 60-days (trial) license and it will expire after predefined period of time unless you purchase a license and activate it.