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Simple Steps to a New Virtual Machine

Simple Steps to a New Virtual Machine

By default, the new virtual machine uses an IDE disk for Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, NetWare and FreeBSD guests. The default for other guest operating systems is a SCSI disk.

Follow these steps to create a virtual machine using a virtual disk.

  1. Start VMware Workstation.

    Windows hosts: Double-click the VMware Workstation icon on your desktop or use the Start menu (Start > Programs > VMware > VMware Workstation).

    Linux hosts: In a terminal window, enter the command

    vmware &

  2. If this is the first time you have launched VMware Workstation and you did not enter the serial number when you installed the product (an option available on a Windows host), you are prompted to enter it. The serial number is on the registration card in your package. Enter your serial number and click OK.

    The serial number you enter is saved and VMware Workstation does not ask you for it again. For your convenience, VMware Workstation automatically sends the serial number to the VMware Web site when you use certain Web links built into the product (for example, Help > VMware software on the Web > Register Now! and Help > VMware on the Web > Request Support). This allows us to direct you to the correct Web page to register and get support for your product.

  3. Linux hosts: If this is the first time you have launched VMware Workstation, a dialog box asks if you want to rename existing virtual disks using the new .vmdk extension. Click OK to search all local drives on the host computer and make this change. (On Windows hosts, you have a chance to rename virtual disk files when you are installing VMware Workstation.)

    The converter also renames the files that store the state of a suspended virtual machine, if it finds them. It changes the old .std file extension to .vmss. However, it is best to resume and shut down all suspended virtual machines before you upgrade to Workstation 4.

    Besides renaming files, the converter updates the corresponding virtual machine configuration files so they identify the virtual disks using the new filenames.

    If you store your virtual disk files or suspended state files on a Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 host - or if you may do so in the future - it is important to convert the filenames to avoid conflicts with the System Restore feature of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

    Linux Hosts: One Chance to Rename Disk Files

    The Rename Virtual Disks dialog box appears only once. If you click Cancel, you will not have another opportunity to update the filenames and configuration files automatically.

  4. Start the New Virtual Machine Wizard.

    When you start VMware Workstation, you can open an existing virtual machine or create a new one. Choose File > New > New Virtual Machine to begin creating your virtual machine.

  5. The New Virtual Machine Wizard presents you with a series of screens that you navigate using the Next and Prev buttons at the bottom of each screen. At each screen, follow the instructions, then click Next to proceed to the next screen.
  6. Select the method you want to use for configuring your virtual machine.

    If you select Typical, the wizard prompts you to specify or accept defaults for

    • The guest operating system
    • The virtual machine name and the location of the virtual machine's files
    • The network connection type

      If you select Custom, you also can specify how to set up your disk - create a new virtual disk, use an existing virtual disk or use a physical disk - and specify the settings needed for the type of disk you select.

      Select Custom if you want to

    • Make a virtual disk larger or smaller than 4GB
    • Store your virtual disk's files in a particular location
    • Use an IDE virtual disk for a guest operating system that would otherwise have a SCSI virtual disk created by default
    • Allocate all the space for a virtual disk at the time you create it
    • Choose whether to split a virtual disk into 2GB files
    • Use a physical disk rather than a virtual disk (for expert users)
    • Set memory options that are different from the defaults.
  7. Select a guest operating system.

    This screen asks which operating system you plan to install in the virtual machine. The New Virtual Machine Wizard uses this information to select appropriate default values, such as the amount of memory needed. The wizard also uses this information when naming associated virtual machine files.

    If the operating system you are using is not listed, select Other.

    The remaining steps assume you plan to install a Windows XP Professional guest operating system. You can find detailed installation notes for this and other guest operating systems in the VMware Guest Operating System Installation Guide, available from the VMware Web site or from the Help menu.

  8. Select a name and folder for the virtual machine.

    The name specified here is used if you add this virtual machine to the VMware Workstation Favorites list. This name is also used as the name of the folder where the files associated with this virtual machine are stored.

    Each virtual machine should have its own folder. All associated files, such as the configuration file and the disk file, are placed in this folder.

    Windows hosts: On Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, the default folder for this Windows XP Professional virtual machine is C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\My Documents\My Virtual Machines\Windows XP Professional. On Windows NT, the default folder is C:\WINNT\Profiles\<username>\Personal\My Virtual Machines\Windows XP Professional.

    Linux hosts: The default location for this Windows XP Professional virtual machine is <homedir>/vmware/winXPPro, where <homedir> is the home directory of the user who is currently logged on.

    Virtual machine performance may be slower if your virtual hard disk is on a network drive. For best performance, be sure the virtual machine's folder is on a local drive. However, if other users need to access this virtual machine, you should consider placing the virtual machine files in a location that is accessible to them. For more information, see Sharing Virtual Machines with Other Users.

  9. Configure the networking capabilities of the virtual machine.

    If your host computer is on a network and you have a separate IP address for your virtual machine (or can get one automatically from a DHCP server), select Use bridged networking.

    If you do not have a separate IP address for your virtual machine but you want to be able to connect to the Internet, select Use network address translation (NAT). NAT is useful if you have a wireless network adapter on a Linux host (as bridged networking on wireless network adapters is supported only on Windows hosts). It also allows for the sharing of files between the virtual machine and the host operating system.

    For more details about VMware Workstation networking options, see Networking.

  10. If you selected Typical as your configuration path, click Finish and the wizard sets up the files needed for your virtual machine.

    If you selected Custom as your configuration path, continue with the steps for configuring a disk for your virtual machine.

  11. Select the disk you want to use with the virtual machine.

    Select Create a new virtual disk.

    Virtual disks are the best choice for most virtual machines. They are quick and easy to set up and can be moved to new locations on the same host computer or to different host computers. By default, virtual disks start as small files on the host computer's hard drive, then expand as needed - up to the size you specify in the next step. The next step also allows you to allocate all the disk space when the virtual disk is created, if you wish.

    To use an existing operating system on a physical hard disk (a "raw" disk), read Configuring a Dual-Boot Computer for Use with a Virtual Machine. To install your guest operating system directly on an existing IDE disk partition, read the reference note Installing an Operating System onto a Raw Partition from a Virtual Machine.

    Caution: Raw disk configurations are recommended only for expert users.

    Caution: If you are using a Windows Server 2003, Windows XP or Windows 2000 host, see Do Not Use Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 Dynamic Disks as Raw Disks.

    To install the guest operating system on a raw IDE disk, select Existing IDE Disk Partition. To use a raw SCSI disk, add it to the virtual machine later with the Virtual Machine Control Panel. Booting from a raw SCSI disk is not supported. For a discussion of some of the issues involved in using a raw SCSI disk, see Configuring Dual- or Multiple-Boot SCSI Systems to Run with VMware Workstation on a Linux Host.

  12. Specify the capacity of the virtual disk.

    Enter the size of the virtual disk that you wish to create.

    If you wish, select Allocate all disk space now.

    Allocating all the space at the time you create the virtual disk gives somewhat better performance, but it requires as much disk space as the size you specify for the virtual disk.

    If you do not select this option, the virtual disk's files start small and grow as needed, but they can never grow larger than the size you set here.

    You can set a size between 2GB and 256GB for a SCSI virtual disk or 128GB for an IDE virtual disk. The default is 4GB.

    You may also specify whether you want the virtual disk created as one large file or split into a set of 2GB files.

    Make the Virtual Disk Big Enough

    The virtual disk should be large enough to hold the guest operating system and all of the software that you intend to install, with room for data and growth.

    You cannot change the virtual disk's maximum capacity later.

    You can install additional virtual disks using the Virtual Machine Control Panel

    For example, you need about 500MB of actual free space on the file system containing the virtual disk to install Windows Me and popular applications such as Microsoft Office inside the virtual machine. You can set up a single virtual disk to hold these files. Or you can split them up - installing the operating system on the first virtual disk and using a second virtual disk for applications or data files.

  13. Specify the location of the virtual disk's files.

    If a SCSI virtual disk is created by default and you want to use a virtual IDE disk instead, or if you want to specify which device node should be used by your SCSI or IDE virtual disk, click Advanced.

    On the advanced settings screen, you can also specify a disk mode. This is useful in certain special-purpose configurations in which you want to exclude disks from the snapshot. For more information on the snapshot feature, see Using the Snapshot.

    Normal disks are included in the snapshot. In most cases, this is the setting you want.

    Independent disks are not included in the snapshot.

    Caution: The independent disk option should be used only by advanced users who need it for special-purpose configurations.

    You have the following options for an independent disk:

    • Persistent - changes are immediately and permanently written to the disk.
    • Nonpersistent - changes to the disk are discarded when you power off or revert to the snapshot.

      When you have set the filename and location you want to use and have made any selections you want to make on the advanced settings screen, click Finish.

  14. Click Finish. The wizard sets up the files needed for your virtual machine.

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