How To Download And Use Windows Virtual Machines In Linux

An earlier article described how to download and use any of the commonly used Linux distros in VirtualBox.
There is something similar for Windows too. Microsoft provides free test images/ Windows virtual machines that can be used with various virtualization tools like VirtualBox, Virtual PC, VMWare and so on. This is meant for developing and testing software for Windows environment.

downloading microsoft windows virtual machines for virtualbox

All the commonly used versions from Windows 7 to Windows 10 are available for this. Download them from here.

These files are large ranging from 3-5 GB so makes sure to provision disk space accordingly before downloading.

Once downloaded, extract the zip archive. Also, these usually have a valid license for 90 days after which they will stop working. So, it’s better to create a machine snapshot for rolling over instead of starting the process of installing them again.

extracted Windows virtual appliance for use with virtualbox

Now, for using them in a Linux system like Ubuntu/Mint, first install Virtual Box from the Terminal.

sudo apt-get install virtualbox

sudo apt-get install virtualbox-qt

Install additional dependencies if needed.

In this example, the archive consists of a .ova file which is a virtual appliance. All that needs to be done is import it into VirtualBox.

From VirtualBox, choose File>Import Appliance. Choose the path where the .ova file is located.

importing Windows virtual appliance in VirtualBox

Then configure resources. Recommended memory allocation for these virtual machines would be between 1 GB – 4 GB RAM.

After the machine is imported and configured, boot it up.

Windows virtual machine ready to boot in Linux Mint

It will already be configured with a username/password that will login automatically.

Windows virtual machine ready to use after auto login

Windows desktop will now be ready to use from within Linux. Testing various Windows programs, troubleshooting scenarios and other fun stuff can now be done using this.

Also, after the initial boot, the license of these Windows virtual machines gets automatically activated.

However it can be done manually by typing the following command as Administrator from command prompt.


This will activate the license.

All done.


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