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Configuring a Linux Host
1. Identify the physical partition on which the guest operating system will be installed.
Check the guest operating system documentation regarding the type of partition on which the operating system can be installed. For example, operating systems like DOS, Windows 95 and Windows 98 must be installed on the first primary partition while others, like Linux, can be installed on a primary or extended partition on any part of the drive.
Identify an appropriate physical partition or disk for the guest operating system to use. Check that the physical partition is not mounted by the Linux host and not in use by others. Also, be sure the physical partition or disk does not have data you will need in the future; if it does, back up that data now.
2. Check the operating system partition mounts. Be sure the existing disk partitions that you plan to use in the virtual machine are not mounted by Linux.
3. Set the device group membership or device ownership.
The master physical disk device or devices need to be readable and writable by the user who runs VMware Workstation. On most distributions, the physical devices, such as /dev/hda (IDE physical disk) and /dev/sdb (SCSI physical disk) belong to group-id disk. If this is the case, you can add VMware Workstation users to the disk group. Another option is to change the owner of the device. Please think carefully about security issues when you explore different options here.
It is a good idea to grant VMware Workstation users access to all /dev/hd[abcd] physical devices that contain operating systems or boot managers, then rely on VMware Workstation's physical disk configuration files to guard access. This provides boot managers access to configuration and other files they may need to boot the operating systems. For example, LILO needs to read /boot on a Linux partition to boot a non-Linux operating system that may be on another drive.
4. Start the New Virtual Machine Wizard (File > New > Virtual Machine) and select Custom.
5. When you reach the Select a Disk step, select Use a physical disk.
6. If the physical disk you plan to use has multiple partitions on it already, be aware that certain operating systems (DOS, Windows 95, Windows 98) must be installed on the first primary partition.
Caution: Corruption is possible if you allow the virtual machine to modify a partition that is simultaneously mounted under the Linux host operating system. Since the virtual machine and guest operating system access an existing partition while the host continues to run Linux, it is critical that the virtual machine not be allowed to modify any partition mounted by the host or in use by another virtual machine.
To safeguard against this problem, be sure the partition you use for the virtual machine is not mounted under the Linux host.
7. At this point you are ready to begin installing the guest operating system on the physical disk you configured for the virtual machine. For more details, read the installation notes for various guest operating systems in the VMware Guest Operating System Installation Guide, available from the VMware Web site or from the Help menu.