[How To] Run Windows 8 Developer Preview in VirtualBox with Full Resolution

So now you have the Windows 8 Developer Preview installed as a virtual machine using VirtualBox, but you found out that the guest addition of VirtualBox doesn’t work properly in Windows 8 Developer Preview, which means that it won’t auto-adjust the resolution when you resize the window, and have to stick with the resolution available by default.

No worry. There is an alternative solution to force the desired resolution to be available in the VirtualBox guest OS, so if you have done it correctly, you can now run Windows 8 Developer Preview in VirtualBox with your screen native resolution. Instructions after the jump.

How to enable desired resolution in Guest OS

1. Close any running virtual machines and also VirtualBox.
2. Run Command Prompt (cmd) as administrator
3. Enter manually the command shown below:

First, enter the below text to change the directory:

cd C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox

Then, enter the line:

VBoxManage setextradata global GUI/MaxGuestResolution any

Lastly, manually enter this line (don’t copy and paste since it can have issue with quotation mark):

VBoxManage setextradata “VM name” “CustomVideoMode1” “WidthxHeightxDepth

VM name have to be replaced with your virtual machine name. If your virtual machine is named Windows 8, then it should be “Windows 8”.

WidthxHeightxDepth have to be replaced with your desired resolution. Say if you want to have it running at your monitor native resolution at 1600x900x32, then it should be “1600x900x32”.

4. If you enter them correctly, your command prompt should more or less look similar to the screenshot above. Double check your spelling especially on your virtual machine name if your encounter issue. Once you done with it, you can close the command prompt.

5. Launch VirtualBox and run your Windows 8 virtual machine.

6. Once you have logged in, change the resolution via the right click menu on the desktop. You should find the resolution entered in the command prompt is available to choose.

7. After the resolution is changed, make it run in full screen by Host+F (Host is Right Ctrl by default). Enjoy!

All thanks to John for providing this tips in the previous article.

35 thoughts on “[How To] Run Windows 8 Developer Preview in VirtualBox with Full Resolution”

  1. My screen resolution is 1366*768 which is seen in the windows 8 build, I entered it as my resolution in the command line but it wont go full screen. Not sure what to do yet.

      1. Hi David,

        I would suggest to type manually again for the three command lines. Is it possible for you to paste what you have typed, especially the last line?


    1. Hi David,

      To make it full screen, you have to activate it from the VirtualBox. It is impossible to make it full screen within the virtual Windows 8. If you have the resolution available in the Windows 8, most likely you can run it full screen with that resolution.


  2. For those on OSX hosts, trying to make heads or tails out of the command window, the VBoxManage binary is located in a different location alltogether in OSX, /usr/bin/ I believe. So the command from terminal that worked for me went like this: /usr/bin/VBoxManage setextradata win8 CustomVideoMode1 1680X1050X32. Notice I removed the double quotes from the string alltogether, but then again my virtual machine name had no spaces in the name, so your mileage may vary.

  3. If you are having trouble finding our using the VBoxMange binary, you can also edit the VM’s xml based .vbox file manually with a text editor. In OSX, the .vbox file should be stored in your home folder under a directory named VirtualBox VM’s.

    Locate the node in the .vbox file and add the following as a new item and save:

    Just make sure you have shut down your VM first before editing / saving the file so your changes takes effect. You might also want to make a backup copy of the file, just in case.

  4. I got it to installed without any problems in VIrtutalbox but have the same problem with guest additions not installing on both 32 and 64 bit. I tried pulling the drivers out of the additions install file and when I installed the video driver the resolution changed but then I lost my keyboard. The mouse was fine and Windows wasn’t locked. I don’t know how these are related but I got to do my first system restore in Windows 8.


    Has anybody else tries extracting the drivers and did you get it to work?

  5. A really great article, I have dual 1920×1080 monitors and I want one of them to have my Windows 8 VM displayed in full screen. Before this I has to settle with 1152×864 “full screen” mode with lots of wasted pixels.

    I have a few comments as far as manually typing in the command. This is due to the smart quotes in the command. The first is that if you edit your blog article in raw html mode, you can remove the smart quotes. The second is that if you run the command in PowerShell.exe as opposed to cmd.exe, they will work because Powershell Got Smart about Smart Quotes

  6. Thanks for the article. Solved the issue for me.

    Am I the only one who finds it disappoiting that Microsoft didn’t think to make this preview release compatible with it’s own VM software, leaving many developers to turn to a competitors VM solution?

    BTW – This is my first experience with VirtualBox and I love it. I’m not sure I will go back to Virtual PC at this point.

    1. Hi Steve,

      Glad to know your problem solved.

      Indeed, it is both disappointing and funny to know Microsoft doesn’t make it compatible with their own product. And yeah, VirtualBox is actually quite a good product.


  7. I did the process. but i made a mistake in the screen resolution nmber. it was 1366x768x32 but i did like this 1366x786x32. can u tell me a way to get it right please.

  8. I download windows 8 Consumer Preview and when I wrote “VBoxManage setextradata global GUI/MaxGuestResolution any” in CMD it says “VBoxManage is not recognised as internal or external command,operable program and batch file.Why can you solve this program????

  9. thanks alot works awesomely well i had problem with copy -paste as the ” copies on notepad are different …

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