Ubuntu Linux, VMWare and Windows XP

It is possible to get Windows XP running in a virtual machine created with VMWare. I wanted it to be a point and click process, avoiding archaic command line entries, editing files and compiling programs. I got real close.

I tried to keep my Windows partition and use these instructions to run my original Windows XP partition as a virtual machine. No luck. Now, maybe it’s because the VMWare player bundled with Feisty (Ubuntu 7.04) never installed right, maybe not.

When I tried again, I wiped out my entire hard drive. My plan was to have the entire Ubuntu system, with a Windows virtual machine residing in my Ununtu partition. If you don’t want to go this route, that’s fine, you can keep your old Windows and follow these instructions to have a 2nd Windows running inside your Ubuntu. Remember to backup anything you want to keep BEFORE you begin.

When you install Ubuntu, you need to create a partition large enough for you Ubuntu plus your Windows XP virtual drive. I choose a 20gig Windows drive, so I needed at least a 24gig Ubuntu partition.

After Ubuntu is installed, make sure that the patches are up to date. Don’t bother installing the VMWare player that came with Ubuntu, it doesn’t appear to work. Instead, go to the VMWare website and download the Player 2.0 for Linux. Get the .TAR file and download it to your desktop.

Once the VMWare Player is downloaded, double click on it to open. Click on the folder that is inside and click “Extract”. Select Desktop and extract there. The file I downloaded was VMware-player-2.0.0-45731.i386.tar.gz and it had the folder vmware-player-distrib in it.

Click on Accessories->Terminal.

Now, here is the part where you have to type a few commands. I promise, it’s the only two and they are easy.

screenshot-ericsmercury-desktop-vmware-player-distrib.pngType cd/Home/userid/Desktop/vmware-player-distrib and press [Enter]. The /userid/ part will be the same as your user id that you used to sign on.

Then type sudo ./vmware-install.pl [Enter]

You will have to enter your password, then the VMWare install process should start. Just accept the defaults. When it’s done installing, click the X to close terminal or type exit[Enter].

Now we we need two more pieces of information before we can install Windows XP. First, go to this website and download his empty Vmware virtual disk files. Open the .zip file and extract the file you want. I chose the 20g.vmdk, created a folder called vmware in my home folder and extracted it there. Then you have to create a .vmx file to match. Just go into Text Editor and enter this

config.version = "8"
virtualHW.version = "3"
ide0:0.present = "TRUE"
ide0:0.filename = "20g.vmdk"
memsize = "256"
MemAllowAutoScaleDown = "FALSE"
ide1:0.present = "TRUE"
ide1:0.fileName = "auto detect"
ide1:0.deviceType = "cdrom-raw"
ide1:0.autodetect = "TRUE"
floppy0.present = "FALSE"
ethernet0.present = "TRUE"
usb.present = "TRUE"
sound.present = "TRUE"
sound.virtualDev = "es1371"
displayName = "Windows XP Pro"
guestOS = "winxppro"
nvram = "WindowsXPPro.nvram"
MemTrimRate = "-1"

ide0:0.redo = ""
ethernet0.addressType = "generated"
uuid.location = "56 4d 8b 2b 18 2b 3f 8c-6b 57 bb 06 d7 10 06 83"
uuid.bios = "56 4d 8b 2b 18 2b 3f 8c-6b 57 bb 06 d7 10 06 83"
ethernet0.generatedAddress = "00:0c:29:10:06:83"
ethernet0.generatedAddressOffset = "0"

tools.syncTime = "TRUE"
ide1:0.startConnected = "TRUE"

uuid.action = "create"

checkpoint.vmState = ""

extendedConfigFile = "20g.vmxf"
virtualHW.productCompatibility = "hosted"
tools.upgrade.policy = "manual"

isolation.tools.hgfs.disable = "TRUE"

tools.remindInstall = "TRUE"

Note the memsize = "256". This is how much RAM your virtual machine will have. I have a 512meg machine, so I gave 256 to Windows. The ide0:0.filename = "20g.vmdk" specifies the .vmdk file to use. If you use something other than the 20g, change the name. I saved my .vmx file as 20g.vmx. It is in the same folder as the 20g.vmdk file.

That’s it, done! Put the Windows XP CD in the CD Rom drive and open the 20g.vmx file in VMWare Player. It should boot right up and let you install Windows XP.

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