Virtualization - Step 4 Creating a Virtual Machine

Once you actually get VMware installed and running actually creating a virtual machine is incredibly simple. Here is how you do it:

  • Start VMware. On my system that is /usr/local/vmware/bin/vmware
  • Click the ‘Create a new virtual machine’ button
  • Select a Custom set up
  • Choose the number of virtual processors that your virtual machine should have
  • Select the amount of memory that your virtual machine should have. You need to be a bit careful here because you don’t want to starve the host operating system and cause it to start swapping.
  • Select bridged networking. This requires that you assign a unique IP address to your guest operating system when you install it but it allows the guest OS to appear as a completely separate machine to the network.
  • Select the type of SCSI adapter to emulate. I’m not sure that this matters for most versions of Windows.
  • Create a new virtual disk. You can create virtual disks in either files on the host OS’s file system or on a raw disk partition. I just create them as files in the host file system. Choose the size of the virtual disk carefully because as far as I know it can’t be changed later. I always choose to create the virtual disk as a collection of 2GB files. I’m not sure if this is really necessary but it reduces the possibility of problems if your host OS doesn’t support large files.
  • Select type type of virtual disk adapter to be used for the virtual file system. It can be either IDE or SCSI. The best choice varies depending on the guest OS. I always just choose the recommended setting.

That’s all there is to it.

Once the virtual machine has been created, place the installation CD into the CD drive (or installation floppy into the floppy drive) and start your virtual machine. The virtual machine will boot from your installation medium and from this point on everything proceeds just like a normal install.

If you are installing Windows as your guest OS then you will want to install the VMware tools on the guest OS. To do this, start the guest OS and right click the virtual machine name. Select ‘Install VMware Tools’. This will install updated video and mouse drivers, among other things, that will improve your experience when interacting with the virtual desktop.

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