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Generic SCSI on a Windows Host Operating System

Using the SCSI Generic driver in Windows, VMware Workstation allows your guest operating system to operate generic SCSI devices — including scanners, tape drives and other data storage devices — in a virtual machine.

Note: In order to access host SCSI devices as Generic SCSI devices from within a virtual machine, you must run VMware Workstation as a user with administrator access.

Device Support

In theory, generic SCSI is completely device independent, but VMware has discovered it is sensitive to the guest operating system, device class and specific SCSI hardware. We encourage you to try any SCSI hardware you want to use and report problems to VMware technical support.

Note: If you are using generic SCSI devices in a Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows Me guest operating system and are experiencing problems with the devices, download the latest Mylex® (BusLogic) BT/KT-958 compatible host bus adapter from www.lsilogic.com. This driver overrides what Windows chooses as the best driver, but it corrects known problems.

Preparing a Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 Guest Operating System to Use SCSI Devices

To use SCSI devices in a Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 virtual machine, you need a special SCSI driver available from the download section of the VMware Web site www.vmware.com/download. Follow the instructions on the Web site to install the driver.

Preparing a Windows NT 4.0 Guest Operating System to Use SCSI Devices

Generic SCSI devices use the virtual Mylex (BusLogic) BT/KT-958 compatible host bus adapter provided by the virtual machine. Some guest operating systems guide you through installing the drivers after you install the first SCSI device in the virtual machine. On Windows NT 4.0, however, you may need to install the driver manually, if it is not already installed for a virtual SCSI disk. You should do so before you add a generic SCSI device.

To install the BusLogic driver in a Windows NT 4.0 guest, have your Windows NT installation CD available and follow these steps.

1. Open the SCSI Adapters control panel.

Start > Settings > Control Panel > SCSI Adapters

2. Click the Drivers tab.

3. Click Add.

4. In the list of vendors on the left, select BusLogic.

5. In the list of drivers on the right, select BusLogic MultiMaster PCI SCSI Host Adapters.

6. Click OK.

7. Insert the Windows NT CD when you are prompted. Click OK.

8. Reboot when you are prompted.

Adding a Generic SCSI Device to a Virtual Machine

You can add generic SCSI devices to your virtual machine in the virtual machine settings editor. When you set up a generic SCSI device, the virtual machine must be powered off.

1. If it is not already running, launch VMware Workstation.

Start > Programs > VMware > VMware Workstation

2. Open the virtual machine in which you want to use the generic SCSI device. Make sure the virtual machine is powered off.

3. From the VMware Workstation window, choose VM > Settings. The virtual machine settings editor opens.

4. Click Add to start the Add Hardware Wizard. Click Next.

5. Select Generic SCSI Device, then click Next.

6. Choose the name of the physical device you want to use.

Then choose the virtual device node where you want this device to appear in the virtual machine.

A check box under Device status allows you to specify whether the device should be connected each time the virtual machine is powered on.

7. Click Finish to install the new device.

8. Click OK to save the configuration and close the virtual machine settings editor.

To remove this device, launch the virtual machine settings editor, select the generic SCSI device, then click Remove.

Adding a Generic SCSI Device Not Detected by Workstation (Advanced Users)

When you want to add a generic SCSI device to a virtual machine, if Workstation does not display the device you want to add (for example, scanners on a Windows 2000 host or some tape backup devices), you need to add the device manually to the virtual machine's configuration file (.vmx).

Reasons Workstation cannot detect a device include:

  • A driver for that device is not installed on the host.
  • A driver on the host prevents the device from being detected.
  • The virtual machine uses a device for which there are no drivers available to the host operating system.
  • Before you attempt the steps below, first verify whether the device driver is installed on the host. If the driver is not installed, install it then see if the device appears correctly to Workstation. If it does not appear correctly, or if you cannot or do not want to install the driver on the host, then you need to add the device manually to the virtual machine.

    When adding a device manually to the virtual machine, use scsiX:Y notation to refer to the device on the host instead of a device name Workstation uses like CdRom0. For this type of notation, X is the SCSI bus on which the device is located on the host and Y is the target ID the device uses on the host.

    Caution: Adding a device in this manner is recommended for advanced users only.

    Caution: Before you add the device, you must disable the original SCSI device driver on the host. Some Windows operating systems do not process the send command from the adapter if the device driver is owning the device.

    There are a few circumstances requiring you to add or configure the device manually. Follow the steps that match your circumstance. In each case, power off the virtual machine, and then open the virtual machine's configuration file (.vmx) in a text editor and make the changes as described below.

    1. The virtual machine does not contain any SCSI adapters or devices, or you want to add a generic SCSI device to a new virtual SCSI adapter in the virtual machine.

    In this case, to add the device to the virtual machine, you need to add the following lines to the virtual machine's configuration file:

    scsiZ:Y.present = "true"
    scsiZ:Y.deviceType = "scsi-passthru"
    scsiZ:Y.fileName = "scsiX:Y"
    scsiZ.present = "true"

    Define X, Y and Z as follows:

  • X is the SCSI bus the device uses on the host system.
  • Y is the target ID the device uses in the virtual machine and on the host. Use the same target ID in the virtual machine that the host already uses for the device to allow the device to work correctly.
  • Z is the SCSI bus the device uses in the virtual machine.
  • 2. The virtual machine has a SCSI adapter and a SCSI device and you want to use the same device as a generic SCSI device.

    In this case, to configure the device as a generic SCSI device, you need to add the following lines to the virtual machine's configuration file:

    scsiZ:Y.deviceType = "scsi-passthru"
    scsiZ:Y.fileName = "scsiX:Y"

    Define X, Y and Z as follows:

  • X is the SCSI bus the device uses on the host system.
  • Y is the target ID the device uses in the virtual machine and on the host. Use the same target ID in the virtual machine that the host already uses for the device to allow the device to work correctly.
  • Z is the SCSI bus the device uses in the virtual machine.
  • 3. The virtual machine has a SCSI adapter and generic SCSI device, but Workstation does not recognize the device when the virtual machine is powered on.

    In this case, you need to look for a line in the configuration file that looks like:

    scsiZ:Y.fileName = "<deviceName>"

    Change the line to:

    scsiZ:Y.fileName = "scsiX:Y"

    Define X, Y and Z as follows:

  • X is the SCSI bus the device uses on the host system.
  • Y is the target ID the device uses in the virtual machine and on the host. Use the same target ID in the virtual machine that the host already uses for the device to allow the device to work correctly.
  • Z is the SCSI bus the device uses in the virtual machine.
  • For example, if the problematic device is a CD-ROM drive, the entry in the configuration file might be:

    scsi0:4.fileName = "CdRom0"

    If the device on the host is located on bus 2 with target ID 4, you should change this line to:

    scsi0:4.fileName = "scsi2:4"

    The target ID the device uses in the virtual machine must be the same as the target ID the device uses on the host system.

    Note: The SCSI bus is assigned a number by the host operating system after all IDE buses have been assigned numbers. For example, if you have 2 IDE buses, they are numbered 0 and 1. The first SCSI bus is assigned bus number 2. In the example above, you use 2 for X.

    If you cannot determine the SCSI bus number on your own, you can try using a third- party tool like winobj (which you can download for free from www.sysinternals.com) to determine this information.

    The device target ID is usually set by some jumpers or switches on the device. Refer to the owner's manual for the device for information on how to determine the target ID.

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