How to Install Windows 10X on a Virtual Machine

How to install Windows 10 X as a Virtual Machine.

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Microsoft has been working on a new version of Windows 10 called Windows 10X. It was originally envisioned to work with foldable dual-screen devices. And it wasn’t something we’d expect to see on traditional laptops, for example. However, the company is changing its vision of Windows 10X to include single-screen laptops and 2-in-1 tablet devices.

Plans for Windows 10X

In a blog post, Microsoft’s Chief Product Officer, Panos Panay, writes the following about the future of Windows 10X:

The world is a very different place than it was last October when we shared our vision for a new category of dual-screen Windows devices. As we continue to put customers’ needs at the forefront, we need to focus on meeting customers where they are now. Our customers are leveraging the power of the cloud more than ever, and we believe the time is right to lean into this acceleration in a different way.

With Windows 10X, we designed for flexibility, and that flexibility has enabled us to pivot our focus toward single-screen Windows 10X devices that leverage the power of the cloud to help our customers work, learn and play in new ways. These single-screen devices will be the first expression of Windows 10X that we deliver to our customers, and we will continue to look for the right moment, in conjunction with our OEM partners, to bring dual-screen devices to market.

A simple way to look at it is that Windows 10X could be the software giant’s response to Chrome OS. Here is an example of what Windows 10X on a single-screen device looks like. The Start menu brings up a select list of installed apps and recently accessed documents from OneDrive.

example of Windows 10X single-screen

Test Windows 10X Yourself on a Virtual Machine

To get started, you will need to create a virtual machine (VM) on Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise using Hyper-V. There are some prerequisites you need like enabling virtualization in the BIOS, a CPU that supports SLAT, and enabling Hyper-V under Optional Features.

For step-by-step instructions on creating a VM, check out our article: Set Up a Virtual Machine with Windows 10 Hyper-V.

Once you have Hyper-V enabled and are ready to create a VM with Windows 10X, launch Hyper-V Manager. To do that, hit the Windows key on your keyboard and type: hyper v, and select the Hyper-V Manager app.

Hyper-V Manager

That will launch Hyper-V Manager where you will create your virtual machine.

hyper-v manager launched on windows 10

Get Windows the 10X Image

Before continuing, you’ll need to make sure you have the Windows 10X image file. Download the Windows10X VHDX file created by @thebookisclosed on Twitter. It’s fairly large and just over 2GB so make sure you allot some time for it to download. The amount of time it takes will vary based on your internet speeds.

Download Windows 10X file

Keep in mind it downloads as a ZIP file. Extract the archive which contains a file, called: Flash.vhdx, to a convenient location on your system. Note that the Flash.vhdx file is just over 11GB in size. So make sure you have plenty of space available on the drive you extract it to.

extract windows 10X vhdx file

Set Up Windows 10X VM

Now that you have the Windows 10X file you can start to create the VM. Under the “Actions” section of Hyper-V Manager, click on New > Virtual Machine.

New VM Hyper-V

Next, give the VM a name — something like “Windows 10X test,” for example. Then click the Next button.

Create VM Name

IMPORTANT: Next, on the “Specify Generation: page make sure you select Generation 2 for the VM. Otherwise, it won’t work. Then click Next.

Generation 2

Now on the “Assign Memory” page use 3 — 4GB or higher for best performance. Remember that a virtual machine uses the physical memory you have on your computer. Click Next.

Assign Memory Windows 10X VM

On the “Configure Networking” section click the dropdown menu and select Default Switch and click Next.

Default Switch

Now, on the “Connect Virtual Hard Disk” section, select Use an existing virtual disk and browse to the location of where you saved the Flash.vhdx file you downloaded.

Use existing virtual hard disk

Now on the Summary page, you’ll see you’ve completed the New Virtual Machine Wizard and can click Finish.

Finish VM Wizard

Start Windows 10X Virtual Machine

Now you’re ready to start the VM and start installing Windows 10X on it and start seeing what it’s all about. From Hyper-V Manager right-click on the Windows 10X VM and click Connect from the menu.

Connect VM

That brings up your VM and you need to click on the Start button. That will kick off the installation of Windows 10X VM. The amount of time it takes to install will vary. Once it gets going you simply need to follow the on-screen instructions to install it. You’ll need to sign in using your Microsoft Account and continue the install wizard.

initial setup

The setup wizard is basic and has you choose a keyboard layout, agree to the EULA, choose privacy settings, create a PIN, and more.

initial setup privacy

Once you’re done with the setup wizard you can start testing the OS. Using it is straightforward using the Start menu, launching apps, reading docs, browsing the web with Edge…etc.

Windows 10X Apps Example

The future of Windows 10X isn’t certain. But for now, you can at least start testing it out on a VM. Keep in mind that this is a very early release and Microsoft will make changes to it over time. In fact, we might not see it officially launched on single-screen devices at all. But according to the company, it is planning on doing something with the OS on single-screen devices.

In the meantime, have fun testing it out on your newly created Windows 10X VM!

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