Installing 64 bit Windows 10 on VirtualBox headless

Wanted to try Windows 10’s Windows On Linux subsystem to see if we can test mingw built toolchain binaries using the usual Dejagnu/expect/tcl testsuite runner. First step, of course, was to get my hands on a Windows 10 ISO. I didn’t have a spare machine lying around, so I decided to try this on a VM.

I had a CentOS machine available that I could logon remotely, so I yum installed VirtualBox-5.0 after following the instructions at I had a bit of trouble getting kernel module support working - had to install kernel-devel and update my repos before I was able to install it cleanly.

Following the instructions at to create a VM, I managed to create a Windows10 VM and start it with

 VBoxHeadless --startvm <VM Name> --vrde on

Only problem, the remote desktop client refused to connect - there was nothing running at port 3389.

Turns out you need the VirtualBox extension pack installed to have remote desktop support going. So downloading


and then installing it with

 VBoxManage extpack install Oracle_VM_VirtualBox_Extension_Pack-5.0.22.vbox-extpack

and then running VBoxHeadless again fixed that.

Unfortunately, the Windows installer then complained that it’s not running on a 64 bit processor. I had enabled everything related to virtualization on the host machine’s BIOS, so this was a nasty surprise.

After digging into the logs a little, I found that I’d created the machine with –ostype Windows10, when it should have been Windows10_64. Just changing the type in the .vbox file did not help, so I was wondering if I’d have to redo everything over. Fortunately, there is the longmode option - just doing

 VBoxManage modifyvm <vmname> --longmode on

fixed that for me. After that, it was all smooth sailing.

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