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Install Windows 11 in Virtualbox – that’s how it works






Two weeks after the release of Windows 11, Oracle released the update for Virtualbox. But even the new version 6.1.28 cannot install Windows 11 without a workaround or a special ISO image. The development snapshots from version 6.1.97 from Virtualbox, however, already have TPM support on board.

It was not exactly a brilliant achievement that the popular open source software Virtualbox was not ready for the new operating system for the official launch of Windows 11 on October 5th. An installation of Windows 11 was terminated due to lack of hardware requirements. When upgrading from Windows 10 to Windows 11, it was even necessary to uninstall Virtualbox on our test computer.

Download: Virtualbox 6.1.28

Without uninstalling Virtualbox, Windows 11 did not want to continue the upgrade setup.

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Without uninstalling Virtualbox, Windows 11 did not want to continue the upgrade setup.

Oracle had announced the update with Windows 11 support in a timely manner and has now delivered it as promised. The new version 6.1.28 comes with many bug fixes – but the installation of Windows 11 still fails, even though Windows 11 is supported as a virtual machine on host PCs with Windows 10 and 11. The TPM passthrough is still not implemented. And TPM (Trusted Platform Module) is one of the hardware requirements of Windows 11. Microsoft’s own virtualizer Hyper-V can do TPM for a long time and VMware Workstation also offers a corresponding function in the settings.

Windows 11 free: Buy Win10 Pro for only 49.99 euros and use it for free

Upgrade Windows 11

The solution if you want to install Windows 11? Download the Virtualbox test build 6.1.97 from https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Testbuilds. Use the settings of the installation wizard during setup. Virtualbox is almost ready to start installing Windows 11.

Load Windows 11 ISO image

You need the ISO image for the setup of Windows. You can get this on the Microsoft website www.microsoft.com/de-de/software-download/windows11. Scroll down and select Windows 11 and click Download. Then select “German” as the language, press the “Confirm” button and then “64-bit download”. Start downloading the five GB file “Win11_German_x64.iso”. With the Windows 11 ISO installation files, you can easily set up the new VM in Virtualbox – without any risk to your main operating system.

Microsoft also provides the ISO image for download from the setup medium for Windows 11

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Microsoft also provides the ISO image for download from the setup medium for Windows 11

Set up a new VM with Windows 11

Before you start the test build of Virtualbox, you have to reboot the PC and switch off the checking of the driver signatures. Otherwise Virtualbox issues an error when starting a VM. Restart the PC from the Settings app. Go to “System -> Recovery” and click on “Restart now” after “Advanced startup”. The PC then boots into the “Extended start options”. You reboot again via “Troubleshoot -> Advanced Options -> Startup Settings”. In the “Safe Mode” window that opens, select “7) Disable driver signature enforcement”. Windows then restarts and is ready to go for Virtualbox.

Start Virtualbox. Do not be surprised: the English test build looks fresher and supports the dark mode of Windows 11. In the main window you create the virtual machine for Windows 11 by clicking on “New”. An assistant opens to guide you through the establishment leads. For example, enter “Windows11Test-PC” as the name for your virtual PC. Then select the operating system. Select “Microsoft Windows” as the type and “Windows 11 (64-bit)” as the version. New: You can now integrate the Windows 11 iso image. Click in the corresponding drop-down box. Go to “Add” and then to the folder in which the downloaded Windows 11 ISO file is located. Select the previously loaded ISO file “Win11_German_x64.iso” and select “Open”. Also new: The unattended installation (“Unattended Installation”).

After clicking on “Next”, enter a username and password. Put a tick in front of “Guest Additions”. In the next step you specify how much RAM the Windows 11 PC should have. At least 4 GB is recommended. Then set how many processors the VM is allowed to use. The virtual machine still needs a hard drive. The option “Create Virtual Hard Disk now” is preset. Accept the suggested size of 80 GB. Click “Next” to get to the summary. Click “Finish”. The wizard closes and the new virtual machine appears on the left in the console.

The new virtual machine can be set up with just a few clicks of the mouse thanks to the wizard

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The new virtual machine can be set up with just a few clicks of the mouse thanks to the wizard

Install Windows 11 as a VM

To get started with the Windows 11 setup, start the virtual computer in the Virtualbox console with a double-click. After clicking on “Select” and “Start”, the virtual machine boots. If this is not the case, go to “System” in the VM settings and uncheck “Activate EFI” in the “Motherboard” tab. If the VM boots, the Windows 11 logo appears after a short wait and the installation begins. Confirm the installation and keyboard language. Go to “Install Now”. Proceed with the setup. After several restarts, Windows 11 is set up.

Windows 11 setup starts with the familiar look and feel

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Windows 11 setup starts with the familiar look and feel

Virtualbox’s guest add-ons bring drivers and add-ons with them. They ensure that Windows 11 gets along optimally with virtualization, even if the guest additions are not yet officially adapted to Windows 11. This noticeably improves the graphics resolution and response time of the virtual PC. The virtual PC must be started in order to install the guest additions. In the window of your Windows 11 VM go to the “Devices” menu and select “Insert guest additions”. If the setup does not start automatically, run it manually in Explorer. Now follow the instructions by clicking on “Next” and complete the setup. After restarting Windows 11, adjust the screen resolution to your requirements using the corners of the window.

A higher screen resolution can only be set with the guest add-ons from Virtualbox

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A higher screen resolution can only be set with the guest add-ons from Virtualbox

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