How-to: VMware Player Modification

Last week the free VMware player was released. It lets you run virtual machines, but not create them. [Faileas] contributed today’s how-to for creating your own virtual machines.

Programs required to carry out hack:

  1. Copy of VMware Player

  2. Browser appliance or another virtual machine(browser appliance is the smallest one, by size, and thus I am using that)

  3. Notepad or other text editor

  4. ISO image or CD/floppy of FreeDOS (I’m using the ripcord distribution) or MSDOS 7.1 would work as well, but i haven’t tried it yet.

  5. Replacement OS (must have SCSI HDD support)

Once you’ve downloaded the browser appliance or whatever image you intend to use, the first step is to open up and edit the browser-appliance.vmx file. I used notepad for this, though any text editor should do.

I’d reccomend changing the settings as needed, though these are what i suggest. Change the value of memsize to 64 from 256. For most operating systems this is sufficient and you can change this later as needed.

Part 1: Using an ISO
The image i am using has been setup to use the physical CD-Rom drive of my system. Not really desireable when you want to install from a downloaded ISO. While using daemontools, or a similar CD mounting program is an option, a more elegant method would be to use VMware player’s own ability to read ISOs.

At this point i suggest saving and making a copy of the browser-appliance.vmx file, since it might be desireable to use a physical CD-Rom drive at a later point of time.

To do this replace:
ide1:0.fileName = "auto detect"
ide1:0.deviceType = "cdrom-raw"

ide1:0.fileName = "C:targetcd.iso"
ide1:0.deviceType = "cdrom-image"

Where C:targetcd.iso is the location of the disk you intend to use. Once this is done, save the edited vmx file and run it.

Part 2: Removing the current OS

Now, at the startup screenstart screen
press escape and choose to boot from the CD drive at the next screen. If all goes well, you should be greeted by
where you should choose to boot from CDrom. From there menu
choose to boot to the second option “FreeDOS ** FAT32. At the next screentoreto
pick the first option, to “boot with el toreto cd rom driver” (default)driver
and then the second option, to run FreeDOS from CD command prompt.

Now the fun part

121 thoughts on “How-to: VMware Player Modification

  1. Ive tried both methods (the main article method and using qemu) however when i try to boot my slackware 10.0 cd using any of the kernels it keeps getting a kernel panic and stops loading… anyone know how to fix this problem, or how to find out what’s causing it?

  2. #21. I have try the QEMU method and it works. Forget the SCSI image stuff, just create an file image using QEMU and boot using an ISO cdrom image (for some reason, the reading from phyical CDROM does not work, for WINXP anyway).

  3. Wanted to re-use a WIN98 license recovered from an old PC not used anymore with vmplayer under ubuntu 5.10. Tried the images in #16 and #21.
    DOS-floppy and WIN98 setup (copied from original CD to c:-drive) is starting fine, but hangs several times (I did a reset when it was hanging). Can’t get it working (apart from command line mode). Does anybody know how to do this. Is maybe the creation of and image with vmware trial version needed?

  4. this is great! perfect tool for those who like to tests and try apps before install on “production” mashine.

    But we come to the next step in exploring posibilities of vmware toy.
    Actually I need to have two NIC cards on VM in order to be able to test some software routers (i.e. MikroTik). So, is tehre a way to get second virtual NIC card?
    I’ve checked on the net but with no success.
    Any idea?

  5. As an addition to #40, if we can’t get the vmtools package, is it possible to find out what video card vmware is emulating under Windows 2000, and download some manufacturers drivers for that?

  6. beamer: maybe its an issue with the install CD. I got win 3.11 working (over what seems to be a GPLed MS dos7), and managed to install win 95 over it with no problem

    Zox: i think dual virtual NICs are a feature thats only on their server based systems. Its a hardware issue and VMware hardware is generally fixed.

  7. Another way to make your own virtual machines (or templates to install whatever you want on it)

    Get the trial version of vmware Workstation and create the machines. They will still work after the trial expired

  8. should solve any scsi problems

    config.version = “8”
    virtualHW.version = “3”
    scsi0.present = “FALSE”
    scsi0.virtualDev = “lsilogic”
    memsize = “256”
    MemAllowAutoScaleDown = “FALSE”
    scsi0:0.present = “FALSE”
    scsi0:0.fileName = “x.vmdk”
    ide0:0.present = “TRUE”
    ide0:0.filename = “x.vmdk”
    ide1:0.present = “TRUE”
    ide1:0.fileName = “auto detect”
    ide1:0.deviceType = “atapi-cdrom”
    floppy0.present = “FALSE”
    ethernet0.present = “TRUE”
    usb.present = “FALSE”
    sound.present = “FALSE”
    sound.virtualDev = “es1371”
    displayName = “TEST1”
    guestOS = “ubuntu”
    nvram = “x.nvram”
    MemTrimRate = “-1”

    ide1:0.autodetect = “TRUE”
    ide0:0.autodetect = “TRUE”

    scsi0:0.redo = “”
    ethernet0.addressType = “generated”
    uuid.location = “56 4d 85 72 dd 09 67 73-96 00 f8 f3 02 29 1f 18”
    uuid.bios = “56 4d 85 72 dd 09 67 73-96 00 f8 f3 02 29 1f 18”
    ethernet0.generatedAddress = “00:0c:29:29:1f:18”
    ethernet0.generatedAddressOffset = “0”

    tools.syncTime = “TRUE”
    ide1:0.startConnected = “TRUE”

    uuid.action = “create”

    checkpoint.vmState = “”

    ide0:0.redo = “”
    tools.remindInstall = “TRUE”

  9. I installed windows 2000 Pro on a VM hosted in Ubuntu 5.10 using this method, and Launchcast works perfectly (though IE responds slowly with 64M of ram). The graphics are awful, but I haven’t yet installed the SVGA drivers from #61.

    This could open the door for a lot people that can’t use Linux full-time because they need one or two windows only apps. Great work.

  10. @#63
    yep, i’m thinking who needs cygwin anymore?
    i’m running an ftp server on my virtual machine and accessing it from anywhere. for some reason, it’s VERY slow to connect, but once it connects, response times are fine. i’m working on setting up an apache/web server now…

  11. We need someone with VMWare Workstation 5 to install windows and linux and extract the VMWare Tools Images once they are mounted for install. The other posibility would be to find the files in a full install of VMWare Workstation 5 and then post them online.

    BTW. would a linux distro like Ubuntu with VMTools passed around be wrong or not?

  12. OK i have figured it out.
    For those who want a truly VMWare experience with the mouse that hops out at the edge of the screen and all here is what to do (BTW this is legal and it doen’t involve wares, i think)

    1) Get a copy of VMWare Workstation by Evaluation the latest version.
    >> NOTE: You will need to register for the download. I recommend using a site like Dodgeit .com for a temp email or look at for an email/pass. Try bugmenot first.

    2) If you have installed the player already you will need to uninstall it as VMWare Workstation will not side by side.

    3) After installing it go to the folder you installed it at. (On windows it is most likely C:Program FilesVMWareVmware Workstation)

    4) In the folder there are a few ISO images. (freebsd, windows, linux, netware) these contain the VMTools that make things look, sound, and act better for the guest environment.

    5) Copy which one you want or copy them all it doesn’t matter to me to a different folder.

    6) Now uninstall VMWare Workstation and reinstall VMWare Player. (This is where the leagaities get shakey. If by keeping the tools and deleting the rest of the program did i break the EULA, bla bla bla … ah well)

    7) Change your VMPlayer config to reflect the ISO file.

    8) Procede with the install and you are done.

    Now you can delete the installers and you are back to using free programs with the vmtools.

  13. Great guide and great comments. I’m proceeding through the steps from comment 66 right now. I enjoy being able to use an easy to use, quality, and free virtual machine program. Does anyone happen to know a good site that lists the plethora of vmx file options for vmware? I did however find another useful comment sight here:

    and another guide like this only using the qemu image maker here: (he credits the hack a day site taboot)

  14. i just found out how to install the video driver..
    all you have to do is, open the virtual player.. within the virtual os which is win xp, grab the .iso files from the installer, extract that .iso file, open and grab the driver from there..

  15. this is a very “light article”; as of making vm portable…why would you want that? You could do this though: a flash drive it is a DRIVE after all, once is mounted (plugged in) will act as a regular drive so if you will install VMplayer on that drive and set the paths to be read from flash drive, it will work, remember that you also need to have the vmx image there; you might be able to force a persistent install on the flash drive, or to use a second flash drive on a different bus. If you want it to be both usable as boot option you’ll need to additionally create a bootable partition on that drive have a script that will point to the image file, if any of you needs more help in figuring it out give me you email and I will sent you the details or maybe the files that you need for booting up from usb.

  16. hey, whizard, i’m interested in the usb thing. I want to boot from a usb flash drive and be able to use the emulator with the same drive to boot windows, without having to have two installations, i.e. i want to have the emulator use the flash drive, or windows to use the virtual drive.

  17. If you’re running VMware Player under WinXP and need to install the guest image from several different .iso files, I found the following trick worked great.

    Create a hardlink from command prompt:
    fsutil hardlink create C:SUSE_10.0.iso C:SUSE-10.0-CD-OSS-i386-GM-CD1.iso

    Edit the .vmx file:
    ide1:0.fileName = “C:SUSE_10.0.iso”
    ide1:0.deviceType = “cdrom-image”

    Start installation.

    Create hardlink to 2nd CD from command prompt:
    del C:SUSE_10.0.iso
    fsutil hardlink create C:SUSE_10.0.iso C:SUSE-10.0-CD-OSS-i386-GM-CD2.iso

    The installation now proceeds on CD2.

  18. I’m stumped. I can get an iso to work, like freedos.iso, but I can’t seem to boot from a physical cdrom I always get an error message . I’m trying to set up win98 which #61 beamer says he got to work. What am I doing wrong???

  19. I’ve put together a basic Ubuntu server appliance VM (sans services). It’s stripped down to run with 128MB of memory with a max of 1GB disk usage (550MB initally). The only packages installed past the base server system are the kernel-headers and build-essential metapackages. I figured anyone who uses this would appreciate it.

    if you have bittorrent:

    if you don’t:

  20. How-to Boot from your regular cdrom drive.
    Just point it to the drive letter of your cdrom player and make shore there are no conflicting lines in the rest of the file.

    – – – – – – – – – >-8
    ide0:1.present = “TRUE”
    ide0:1.fileName = “d:”
    ide0:1.deviceType = “cdrom-raw”
    ide0:1.autodetect = “FALSE”

  21. hi guys,
    i can’t install winxp. dsl, kubuntu works but not winxp. i get to the point where you have to choose between “F3″,”R” and “Enter” for installation. then i get an error message that no hd is installed.
    here my conf file. i install via cd.

    ide0:0.present = “TRUE”
    ide0:0.filename = “winxp.vmdk”
    #ide0:0.mode = “independent-nonpersistent”
    #snapshot.action = “autoRevert”
    #snapshot.disabled = “TRUE”
    ide1:0.present = “TRUE”
    #ide1:0.fileName = “dsl-2.0.iso”
    #ide1:0.deviceType = “cdrom-image”
    ide1:0.deviceType = “cdrom-raw”
    ide1:0.startConnected = “TRUE”
    ide1:0.autodetect = “TRUE”

    i created the vmdk file via qemu-img create -f vmdk winxp.vmdk 2G.
    host is kubuntu 5.10.
    any ideas?

  22. hi mike, in the virtual BIOS, tab “advanced”, of the vmwareplayer you have to set the ide-controler on “both” instead of “secondary”. Now your IDE-drive is recognized by the Windows-Setup

  23. This is a great hack. I successfully installed a nice clean WinXPSP2 as a guest to my rather cluttered XP host. This allowed me to install my development environment (Visual Studio 2005) in its entirety with no conflicts. VS2005 would not even get past the .net framework install on the host. Very nice!

    The only thing I have not figured out is how to get around the 30 day activation period for this virtual install of Windows XP. Copying my host “wpa.dbl” to the guest/system32 directory did not solve the problem.

    I also installed Mandriva 2006 with all the bells and whistles from DVD-R. The only issue I had was with the video. The workaround is easy though. Accept the VmWare graphics driver and the generic monitor during Mandriva install. The Mandriva grub bootloader provides a pick of “no fb” (no video frame buffer) on startup. The display is fine with this selected.

    The Mandriva OS connected to an ftp site and successfully downloaded and installed all the latest package updates. Impressive and fast.

    I really like running Linux on an XP box in this manner. I do not have to mess with grub/lilo on the host C:drive to allow dual boot. It is just there. You can have as many Linux OSes as you like. You are only limited by available disk space. I’m using a second 300GB hard drive to create all these VMDKs. And, I really like being able to remove an OS by simply deleting the guest VMDK folder.

  24. Thanks for all info. I ran across the VM Player yesterday, and in doing a bit of research I ran across this page.

    Using the VMXwizard helped alot too. In under 24 hours since first bumping across all this I have managed to get both my XP boxes running Linux, the next trick is to reconfigure my dual boot box to linux only and then getting XP up in it.

    I would have been forever in tinkering through all this on my own.

  25. ok, so I did this a long time ago and made the default 2G disk image…. but I’d like it to be larger now that I’m actually using it. I’ve installed XP Pro on the image… How can I increase the size of the disk image non-destructively? I know Workstation supports this, but Player doesn’t seem to… (right?)

    Thanks. :)

  26. agf,
    I was able to install winXP sp2 with all the bells and whistles. it automagically grew the disk to 10gb (virtually) and physically it’s taking up about 5gb on the host.

  27. After faffing about with qemu for two days (no kqemu support, compiled sources had kqemu but qemu wouldn’t use it, argh!)I followed the instructions given and now have Windows 2000 SP4 running a dream. Thank you, thank you!

  28. Hi there! One Problem with the Player: VMware Workstation changes the hosts display resolution when required, for example when full-screening a dos console on windows. does anyone know a way to force Player to do the same? This would definitly rock.

  29. I did not need to go through all these steps to install W2K VM.

    All I have to do was to run vmplayer and inserted 4 the set up floppies then the win2k CD

    I needed to download the VMware evaluation copy in tgz format and grep the windows.iso to install the mouse deiver and video driver.

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