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Configuring a Virtual Machine to Switch Network Adapters on a Windows NT Host

Configuring a Virtual Machine to Switch Network Adapters on a Windows NT Host

You may find it helpful to configure a virtual machine so it can use one network adapter when you are in one location and a different network adapter when you are somewhere else. The most common case involves a laptop computer that is sometimes used with a PC Card (PCMCIA) adapter and sometimes docked in a docking station that has its own network adapter.

The Approach

The Approach

If you are using bridged networking on a Windows NT 4.0 host, the steps in the next section allow you to configure your virtual machine so it can use both network adapters, with each adapter on a different virtual network interface.

Note: On a Windows 2000, Windows XP or Windows .NET Server host, it is more convenient to configure your adapters using the procedure described in Configuring Bridged Networking Options on a Windows Host.

You need to create two separate VMware Workstation configuration files (.vmx files), both of which point to the same virtual or raw disk. One uses a standard bridged networking setup on the VMnet0 virtual switch. The other uses VMnet2. You use one configuration when you want to connect to a network using the PC Card network adapter and the other when you want to use the docking station's adapter.

Step By Step

Step By Step

  1. Follow the usual steps to configure your VMware Workstation virtual machine with one network adapter in place. (In later steps, these instructions assume that this is the PC Card adapter.) Use bridged networking. Test the setup to be sure the virtual machine can boot and run with that network adapter.

  2. After you have tested the initial configuration, shut down your virtual machine and exit VMware Workstation. Switch the setup so the other network adapter is being used. For example, if you first configured the computer while the PC Card adapter was in use, you should now set the computer up in the docking station so its adapter is in use.

  3. Open a command prompt.

  4. Change to the VMware Workstation programs folder. If you have installed VMware Workstation in the default location, the command is
    cd Program Files\VMware\VMware Workstation\Programs

  5. Run the following command.
    vnetconfig -s -ib vmnet2

  6. If you get a dialog box that asks which network adapter to use, choose the adapter that is currently installed (not the one you already configured for bridged networking in step 1).

  7. Open the Windows NT Services control panel (Start > Settings > Control Panel > Services) and be sure that you now have two services for VMnet Bridge (one for VMnet0 and one for VMnet2).

  8. Start the service VMnet Bridge (for VMnet2). If it doesn't start, reboot the system and try to start it again.

  9. Open the folder where the files for the virtual machine you are configuring are stored.

  10. Copy the .vmx file under a different name, so that you have two copies - one to use when you are using the PC Card adapter (referred to here as pcmcia.vmx) and one to use when you are using the network adapter in the docking station (referred to here as nic.vmx).

  11. Launch VMware Workstation, select Open Existing Virtual Machine, and open the .vmx file for the network adapter you will set up on VMnet2 (nic.vmx in our example). You probably need to browse to it.

  12. Open the Configuration Editor (Settings > Configuration Editor) and choose Network Adapter.

  13. From the drop-down list on the right, choose Custom (VMnet2).

  14. Be sure the Save Configuration Changes check box is checked, then click OK to save your changes and close the Configuration Editor.

Now you are ready.

When you are using the PC Card adapter, launch your virtual machine using pcmcia.vmx. When you are using the adapter in the docking station, use nic.vmx.

Both .vmx files are for the same virtual machine. When you choose one, you are just choosing which network adapter to use.

Note: If you make changes to other aspects of one configuration, remember to make the same changes to the other configuration the next time you open it.

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