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How to install Windows 10 in a virtual machine

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Know the steps to follow install Windows 10 in a virtual machine, more precisely in VirtualBox, a multiplatform software.

Want to have Windows on Windows, Mac or Linux? Maybe you want to try the new versions of Windows Insider?

Unlike installing Windows 10 from a USB to hard drive, installing it on a virtual machine does not affect the main operating system. That is, you can continue to use the operating system you currently have, and you can only open VirtualBox to use Windows when you want.

It is perfect for test Insider (beta) versions of Windows 10 and with it its new functions. But it is also useful for testing programs or opening files without fear of infecting your computer with viruses.

1. Download Windows 10 ISO

If you downloaded the ISO from a site other than Microsoft or from this site, we recommend that you opt out of this installer, as it is most likely not the original and may contain malicious files.

Instead, download the latest version of Windows 10 in Spanish from the following link (for 32 or 64 bits):

Download 32-bit and 64-bit ISO Windows 10 Pro / Home

If you want the business version, you can see this guide on how to download Windows 10 Enterprise and LTSC for free.

The download is done from Microsoft’s own servers, so you can be sure that it is the original ISO file.

2. Configure the virtual machine

There are currently several virtual machines for Windows, Mac and Linux, both free and paid. However, in this case we will use VirtualBox to be free, cross-platform and very easy to use.

So download VirtualBox from its website and continue to install it on your computer or Mac. After installation, follow the steps below to create a new virtual machine:

1. Open VirtualBox and click the «New» option

New virtual machine

2. Enter a name and select Windows 10 (32-bit or 64-bit) as the version to install.

Create a virtual machine

3. Indicate the amount of RAM you want to allocate. Keep in mind that according to Windows 10 requirements, you need at least 1 GB for 32 bits and 2 GB for 64 bits.

Allocate virtual machine RAM

4. In the following windows, leave the default options: «Create a virtual hard disk now» and «VDI» as the hard disk file type.

5. You can now choose between «Dynamic Reserved» or «Fixed Size». We recommend that you choose the first option (default)

VirtualBox dynamic disk size

6. Finally, assign the size of the hard disk. Windows 10 requires the installation of 16 GB (32 bits) or 32 GB (64 bits). But the best thing is to follow the VirtualBox recommendation and assign it 50 GB.

Ready! With this you have already created the virtual machine.

3. Install Windows 10 in VirtualBox

Follow these steps to install Windows 10 on the virtual machine:

1. Click the «Start» button

2. In the window that opens, click the folder icon and then «Add.» Now select the Windows 10 ISO that you downloaded earlier. Continue by clicking Open, Select, and then click Start.

Windows 10 ISO

3. Windows 10 Setup will now start. In the first window, specify the language, time format, and keyboard. Click Next to continue.

Install Windows 10 in VirtualBox

4. In the next window, click «Install Now»

5. If you’re applying for a license, enter one of these free Windows 10 keys. You can skip this step by clicking «I don’t have a product key.»

Windows 10 key

6. Accept the license agreement

7. Click the second «Custom» option

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8. Select the hard drive and click «Next.» You can also create new partitions if you want.

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9. Wait for Windows 10 to install. It may take a few minutes and restart during the process.

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10. Complete the system setup

Configure Windows 10

That’s all. You can now start using the virtual machine operating system.

Windows 10 VirtualBox

4. Additional settings

After installation, there are some settings that we consider important and that you should make.

We refer to Additions for guests, a VirtualBox plugin that allows the virtual machine to communicate with the host. For example, moving the mouse between your VM and your host, or sharing folders between the two.

Follow these steps to install Guest Additions:

  1. Click on the «Devices» menu
  2. Choose «Insert the image of the guest add-on CD»
  3. Open File Explorer and go to «This Computer»
  4. Click VirtualBox Guest Additions (which is mounted as if it were a disk)
  5. Click on VBoxWindowsAdditions.exe and continue with the installation
Install Guest Additions on Windows 10

Additionally, you can access the «Devices» menu, select Shared Clipboard, and then «Bidirectional». Same for Drag and Drop. The first allows you to share files between your virtual machine and your main system, while the second allows you to drag and drop files between the two.

Bidirectional VirtualBox

To apply the changes, restart the system.

Remember that you do not need a license to install Windows 10 in a virtual machine. However, you need it for activation.

You can check this page to activate Windows 10 for free.