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Setting up a Windows Server 2025 VM in VirtualBox

by Vlad Drumea
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This post contains the steps required to build a Windows Server 2025 VM in VirtualBox via PowerShell using the currently available Insider Preview build of Windows Server 2025.

Some relevant links:

I’m running Oracle VirtualBox 7.0.14 on a Windows 11 Pro host.

The image ISO file that I’ve downloaded for this, is the Windows Server VNext Preview VHDX (Canary) - Build 26085 one.

Windows Insider Preview Downloads Microsoft Server Previews Windows Server VNext Preview VHDX (Canary) - Build 26085

Building the VM

I’ll be using PowerShell for this, but if you’re interested in the GUI steps they’re pretty similar to the ones in my Windows Server 2022 post.

First, I load the path to the VIrtualBox binaries in my PATH variable for this PowerShell session.

Then I search for an appropriate OS ID in VirtualBox

Since VirtualBox 7.0.14 does not have Windows Server 2025 in its list of operating systems, I’ll use the OS ID for Windows Server 2022, namely Windows2022_64

PowerShell Window PS C:\Users\Vlad> $Env:Path += ";C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox\" PS C:\Users\Vlad> VBoxManage list ostypes | Select-String -Pattern "windows202" -Raw ID: Windows2022_64 PS C:\Users\Vlad> Windows Server 2025 VirtualBox PowerShell

I use that OS ID to create and register an empty VM.

Take note of the VM’s settings file location since that directory will also be the VM’s base directory.

PS C:\Users\Vlad> $VmName = "WinSrv2k25" PS C:\Users\Vlad> VBoxManage createvm --name $VmName --ostype Windows2022_64 --register Virtual machine 'WinSrv2k25' is created and registered. UUID: a644a422-d7a6-446e-9eda-1b1a065a28a2 Settings file: 'F:\VirtualBoxVMs\WinSrv2k25\WinSrv2k25.vbox' Windows Server 2025 VirtualBox PowerShell

Now, I can add the CPU cores, RAM, and VRAM. Set the graphics controller, and I configure the network type as bridged as well as specifying the name of the host’s NIC that will be used.

I then add a SATA controller, specify the its chipset, port count, and set it as boot-able.

And create a 60GB disk file that will be the VM’s system drive.

Optionally, I create a second drive sized to 40GB that will be the D drive.

In order for the VM to actually be able to use the two disks, I have to attach them to its SATA controller.

I attach the Windows Server 2025 Insider Preview ISO.

And boot up the VM.

Installing Windows Server 2025 Insider Preview

Once the VM boots, it prompts to select the desired language and time format, I then press Next.

Select Language Settings

Note that until VirtualBox guest additions can be installed, it’s going to be a bit cumbersome to navigate between the VM and host since you’ll have to press right Ctrl (or whatever your designated host key is) to be able to move the mouse outside of the VM window.

The next prompt is about the keyboard input method.

Select Keyboard Settings

The next prompt asks what I want to do, in this case I leave “Install Windows Server” selected.
I check the “I agree everything will be deleted, including files, apps, and settings.” since otherwise the Next button just stays grayed out.

Select Setup Option

At the product key prompt, I click on “I don’t have a product key”.

In the “Select Image” section, I opt for “Windows Server 2025 Standard (Desktop Experience)”.

Select Image

I read and accept the EULA.

When prompted to select the location where Windows will be installed, I create a partition from the first disk

Select Location to install Windows Server

This also results in a 100MB system partition being created from the same disk.

If you want to have the second disk available as a partition as soon as the install completes, you can create a partition from it and format it during this step.

Select Location to install Windows Server

Now, I select Disk 0 Partition 2 as the partition where Windows Server will be installed and click Next.

Select Location to install Windows Server Windows Server 2025 VirtualBox

The installer asks me to confirm again that I’m ok with installing the new OS and wiping everything hat might have existed before on the disk.

Ready to install Windows Server 2025 VirtualBox

Once I click Install, I confirm the above choices and kick of the installation.

Installing Windows Server Windows Server 2025 VirtualBox Vlad Drumea SQL Server DBA VladDBA

The installation completes within a few minutes.

At the product key prompt, I click on “Do this later” and then on Next so that I can use the OS in Evaluation mode.

It's time to enter the product key Do this later Next Vlad Drumea SQL Server DBA VladDBA

I then set the password for the Administrator account and click Finish.

Post installation steps

To get to the login screen, I have to press Ctrl+Alt+Del, this is done either by pressing right Ctrl+Del or through the Input menu.

Input > Keyboard > Insert Ctrl-Alt-Del

After I log in, I opt to only send required diagnostics data to Microsoft. Since this is an Insider build, you can’t completely opt out of this.

Send Diagnostics data to Microsoft Required Only Vlad Drumea SQL Server DBA VladDBA

At this point, I remove the installation media and mount the VirtualBox Guest Additions ISO.

Once the disk is mounted, I navigate to it in File Explorer and install of the guest additions. Right click on VBoxWindowsAdditions.exe and run as admin, then just proceed through the install without making any changes.

I reboot the VM when the install process prompts me.

After the VM reboots I enable the shared bidirectional clipboard to make things easier.

To rename the VM and change the network type to private, I run the following commands on the VM in PowerShell opened as admin.

I reboot the VM again for the name and the name change takes effect.

And this is how Windows Server 2025 looks like, at least in the current insider build.

Windows Server 2025 desktop and start menu Windows Server 2025 VirtualBox PowerShell Vlad Drumea SQL Server DBA VladDBA

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