Virtual Machine Tips
I bet the first question on your mind is, what is a Virtual Machine?
To put it simply, it is an emulated computer that runs within your current installation. They can be used to test out deployment or to have a Linux installation within Windows, and never leave Windows. The HOST system is your current installation, while the CLIENT system is the emulated system. We'll be using a Virtual Machine to simulate our Windows Setups, so we don't need a spare PC to test on, or risk destroying our current install.
This page will cover the two main Virtual Machines, VMWare Workstation or Microsoft's VirtualPC. Both have their strongs points and their week points. VMWare has been suggested to be faster, while VirtualPC has a few goodies added to it to allow for a more seamless integration between HOST and CLIENT systems.
Both manufactures of the Virtual Machine, have free trials whose period should be more then enough to test our CD/DVDs.
VMWare Workstation - Homepage | Download
Microsoft VirtualPC 2004 - Homepage | Download
Below is a quick run through to get your Virtual Machine off the ground.
Just select which VM you're using: VMWare | VirtualPC
» VMWare Workstation Setup Guide
Go ahead and instal VMWare, and start her up.
- One the first screen, click the option to create a new virtual
- Click Next on the first window. When you reach this window, select
Typical, click next.
- Select your Operating System. I suggest Windows 2000 Professional even if
you're testing Windows XP or Windows 2003.
- In the Virtual Machine Name box, you can leave it the default, or name it
whatever you want.
- On the network selection screen, I select "Use Network Address
Translation" as I connect directly into a network that allows one computer per
port to connect. If you use "Bridged Networking" it would be as if you had two
seperate computers, each would have it's own unique IP address.
- Select the size of the virtual harddrive. This will be a file on your
current system, with a maximum size of this value, but the CLIENT system will
see it as the size you enter. I suggest putting a check in the box to Allocate
the space now, as it will speed up the Virtual Machine.
- If you did decide to allocate all the space now, you will be prompted with
a box to confirm. If indeed you want to allocate now, click yes, otherwise
click no and uncheck the box.
- You have now completed the wizard, and taken to VMWare's main
Click the "Edit Virtual Machine Settings" on the left.
- A box similar to the one shown below will appear.
Click the CD-ROM entry on the left, then on the right, click the radio button for "Use ISO image". Browse to your CD image created in the Finalizing step. Click OK at the bottom to return the main screen.
- Back at the main screen, click the GREEN ARROW button at
the top to start the VM, and continue as if it was a brand new system.
- If you are looking for the "Press any key to continue" prompt, and don't
see it but the VM continues to boot into Windows, restart the VM, and press
You should be prompted with a screen similar to :
Press the LEFT/RIGHT arrows keys on your keyboard till you select the BOOT menu :
Press the DOWN/UP arrows keys untill CD-ROM Drive is selected, and press the + key untill it is ABOVE the Hard Drive entry
Press the LEFT/RIGHT arrows keys and select EXIT, and then highlight "Exit Saving Changes" and press ENTER. Confirm it with YES, and the VM should restart.
» VirtualPC Setup Guide
Install VirtualPC and start her up.
- Upon first starting up, the new VM wizard should start, if it doesn't
however, in VirtualPC's main window
- Click Next on the opening page of the wizard, then next screen should
- On the next page, type in the name you would want your VM to
Select "Create a Virtual Machine" and click Next.
- This is where you will select your OS you're going to install. I again
recommend Windows 2000, simply because you avoid alittle box about Activating
- Leave the setting of RAM where it is. When you get more advanced you can
change it, but for now, just leave it where it is.
- Select that you want to create a new virtual harddisk, and click
- You may as well leave this entry how it already is. You're just telling
the program where the virtual hard drive is, if you don't really care, leave
it where it is.
- Welcome to the final screen of the wizard, click Finish.
- You should now be back at the main menu. Select your newly created VM, and
click the start button.
- When the new window pops up, select the CD drop-down menu at the top, and
click "Capture ISO Image...". Select your ISO image created in the Finalizing
- If you recieve an error, it's most likely that your ISO image is over 2 GB in size, and VirtualPC doesn't accept them. As a workaround, mount the ISO using either Daemon Tools (freeware), or Alcohol. After mounting the ISO, instead of select "Capture ISO Image..." from the CD menu, instead select the entry above it that corresponds to your Virtual CD drive's letter.