UNH: Installing VirtualBox-based Windows 10


The University of New Hampshire has licensed both Windows 10 Education and Microsoft Office for all of the staff. Under this agreement, students are licensed to upgrade their computers to Windows 10 and to install Microsoft Office under the Office 365 program.



The University of New Hampshire has licensed both Windows 10 Education and Microsoft Office for all of the staff. Under this agreement, students are licensed to upgrade their computers to Windows 10 and to install Microsoft Office under the Office 365 program.

Important: VirtualBox is not Compatible with new Apple M1 or M2 chip computers. For these devices, you will need to purchase the Parallels Virtualization software at the following link- Parallels Desktop for Mac 


System Requirements

The upgrade license for Windows 10 Education also includes the rights for Macintosh computer owners to "upgrade" their computer by creating a virtual machine that is running Windows 10. Academic Technology has created a Windows 10 virtual machine image using the VirtualBox application. We are making this image available to students as a convenience. The copy of Windows 10 and Microsoft Office on this virtual machine are unlicensed, and students who choose to use it will have to complete the process of installing the software and then properly licensing it.

Running a virtual machine inside of the macOS operating system requires significant resources. If you are going to use this virtual machine on your Mac, your computer must meet the following minimal requirements:

  • 8 GB memory
  • 50 GB free disk space

More memory than the minimum will likely increase your computer’s performance when running VirtualBox.

Users with less than 8GB of memory may find that their installation of Windows is extremely slow. It is recommended that those encountering a slow experience utilize the Student Computing Clusters which will have all academic applications already installed on them.

For a video playlist of the following process including common errors please visit the following link - VirtualBox Install & Errors



Task: To install VirtualBox


Step 1 - You can obtain VirtualBox free-of-charge from Oracle via the website virtualbox.org . Download the most recent release of VirtualBox for macOS using the link provided on the site’s download page:



Step 2 - The program will download as a .DMG disk image. Double-click the disk image to mount it

Step 3 - Run the VirtualBox.pkg to install it on your computer. Proceed through the installer accepting the defaults and entering your computer’s administrator account username and password when prompted.

Step 4 - When installing VirtualBox, the program may ask for you to allow the program. If prompted, select Allow.

Step 5 - If this prompt does not appear and the installation fails, click the Apple icon in the top left corner, select System Preferences..., then open the Security & Privacy section. If there is an "Allow" button displayed, click the Allow button.

Note: Many users running macOS 10.14 Mojave will not be able to make this prompt appear, and thus cannot install VirtualBox. If you encounter this error, please visit the Academic Technology Support Center located in Dimond Library for further assistance.

Step 6 - Next Step - Install Windows 10 Virtual Machine


Task: To install Windows 10 Virtual Machine

The next part of the process is to obtain the pre-configured Windows virtual machine. Do not proceed to these steps until you have downloaded and installed VirtualBox.


Step 1 - Connect to the repository for the installation files from Sharepoint at UNH Windows VM. This folder is accessible to all USNH account holders, but you may have to login with your USNH username and password to gain access.

Step 2 - You will see an archive for the software. In this case, it will be a .OVA virtual machine archive file. Download this by clicking on the item and then clicking on the Download button that appears in the middle of the browser window. Be sure to Download the .OVA archive to your computer. Do not Open it from the location. Downloading may take a long time if you are on a slow network connection as this is a very large file. Even on the USNH network, the download will take 8 to 10 minutes.

Step 3 - Once the download has finished, locate the .OVA archive. Typically it is in the Downloads folder in your user folder on the computer. Double-click on the Windows 10 Education.ova file.

Step 4 - VirtualBox should open automatically and prompt you to import the new virtual machine appliance. Accept the defaults and click the Import button. Importing the virtual machine will take several minutes.

Step 5 - You can start your Windows 10 virtual machine at this time by selecting the item named Windows 10 Education -- UNH in the list of virtual machines in VirtualBox and clicking the green Start arrow.

You will need to do this process of downloading and installing the virtual machine only once. In the future when you need to run Windows applications, you can launch VirtualBox directly from the Applications folder and then just start the Windows 10 Education -- UNH virtual machine.


Licensing the Windows 10 Operating System

License keys for Windows 10 Education are distributed to students via the UNH Kivuto OnTheHub  service, which is hosted outside of UNH. These instructions assume that you have never used this service before. If you have already used it, then instead of registering, just proceed with signing in with your existing account.

Note that during the process of getting this key from the UNH Kivuto OnTheHub service, you will be prompted to purchase additional services. None of these are required. You do not need to pay anything to get the Windows 10 product key.

Detailed instructions for accessing the Windows 10 Education product key are available at UNH Students - Accessing a Windows 11 or Windows 10 license key

To license the Windows 10:

Step 1 - In the Activation window, click the Change Product Key button.

Step 2 Enter your Windows 10 Education product key that you obtained and click Next.

Step 3 Click the Activate button to complete the process. Activation should happen automatically via the Internet within a few moments.


Licensing Microsoft Office

The copy of Microsoft Office that is pre-installed in the virtual machine is setup to be licensed via the Office 365 service, just the same as any other copy of Office that you can download and use on your own. For more details on the Office 365 program at UNH, see Office 365: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

To active your copy of Office 365 within the virtual machine:

Step 1 - Launch Word 2016 or any other Office application via the Windows Start Menu.

Step 2 - You will be prompted to Activate Office. Enter your UNH email address and then click the Next button.

Step 3 - If prompted as to the type of email account, select the Work or school account option.

Step 4 - Login with your normal UNH password.

You will be asked if you want to add the account to Windows. You can click Yes or Skip for now as you see fit.


On-going Use

You can continue to use your Windows VM once it is setup and activated properly. If you need other Windows applications, you can install them on the virtual machine, just as if it was a real Windows computer.

We recommend you keep VirtualBox and the Windows VM on your computer even after your current course is complete. If you need to use Windows software in the future in another course, it is far similar to just open your existing Windows VM than to go through the process of getting it setup again and possibly having to contact Microsoft to get approval to reuse your product code for a new installation.


Allocating More Resources to the VM

The virtual machine was setup within VirtualBox with a minimal level of resources to allow it to run on the widest range of computers possible.  If your computer is newer and has more than the minimum requirements, you can allocate more processor and memory resources to the Windows VM to allow it to run faster.  You can change these settings within VirtualBox while the VM is not running.

Step 1 - Select the "Windows 10 Education - UNH" virtual machine within the Oracle VM VirtualBox Manager window. Make sure it is not running and has the status of "Powered Off".

Step 2 - Click the Settings button.

Step 3 - Change to the System tab.

Step 4 - Adjust the Base Memory setting using the slider. Do not allocate more than 1/2 of the actual memory your computer has or you will likely slow down everything else on your computer a lot when running the virtual machine. 4096 MB would be the maximum recommended unless you have more than 8 GB of RAM.  If you do, 6140 MB is a good setting.

Step 5 - Change to the Processor section of the System tab. Here, you can try increasing the Processors setting to between 2 and 4 CPUs, depending on how many CPUs your computer actually has.

Step 6 - Click OK to apply the new settings.

Step 7 - Start the VM to test out the new settings to see how things perform.

There is no one set of right settings.  Feel free to try how a setting. Startup the VM and see how Windows performs. See how your other applications on your computer perform. The more resources you give to the VM, the fewer will be available for your other programs. Adjust the Processors and Base Memory settings until you are happy with the performance of both.


Further Readings

VirtualBox Install & Errors

UNH Kivuto OnTheHub

UNH Students - Accessing a Windows 11 or Windows 10 license key

Office 365: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Parallels Desktop for Mac 



Need additional help?

Visit the Technology Help Desk Support page to locate your local campus contact information or to submit an online technology support request.  For password issues you must call or visit the Help Desk in person.  



Article ID: 1839
Fri 7/19/19 6:23 PM
Mon 2/19/24 2:14 PM
Applicable Institution(s):
University of New Hampshire (UNH)