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How To Create A Virtual Machine With VMWare Server

What is a virtual machine? Hardware and/or System virtual machines allow the sharing of the underlying physical machine resources between different virtual machines, each running its own operating system. The software layer providing the virtualization is called a virtual machine monitor or hypervisor.

The main advantages of VMs are:

  • Multiple Operating System environments can co-exist on the same computer, in strong isolation from each other
  • The virtual machine can provide an instruction set architecture (ISA) that is somewhat different from that of the real machine
  • Application provisioning, maintenance, high availability and disaster recovery

What does all of this mean? If you are currently running Windows 7 on your computer you can also have Windows XP installed. XP would run in a separate window on top of your Windows 7 installation. Giving you two operating systems to run. You could use the XP virtual machine to run older software that would not run on the new Windows 7. Another example would be if you were a developer and you wanted to test different applications in different operating systems. You would use the virtual machine to test your applications, if something were to go wrong with the new software you were testing it wouldn't harm your Windows 7 installation. IT companies would use virtual machines on their network to test applications before deploying the applications network wide. Now that you understand what a virtual machine is lets get started creating a new virtual machine.

Stuff you need to install a virtual machine is as follows:

  • This tutorial is strictly for the installation of a computer running VMWare Server, go ahead and download and install VMWare Server. I used Server version because I like to have mulitiple virtual machines.
  • A preinstalled version of Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7.
  • Once you have installed VMWare Server follow the instructions below to install your new virtual machine.
  • Click on Create Virtual Machine as illustrated in the diagram below.

create virtual machine

  • Next, give your virtual machine a name: For example if you are installing Windows XP, name the virtual machine WINXP and then click Next
  • Next select which operating system you are going to be installing on your virtual machine and then click Next
  • In the memory and processors box select the configuration you would like. For example I selected 1GB of RAM and 2 processors. When you are finished click Next
  • In the hard disk properties window select how much of your hard drive you would like to use for the virtual machine. I selected 60GB for the install, you may have to select a lower amount depending on how much room you have left on your partition. Navigate to My Computer and check how much hard disk space you have left and choose accordingly. When finished click on Next
  • In the network adapter window select Add A Network Adapter and when finished click Next
  • In the network properties window select Bridged and place a checkmark in the connect at power on box. When finished click Next
  • In the CD/DVD drive window select which option you like and click Next I selected CDROM because my install image was on a DVD. If your install image is on a hard drive in ISO format then go ahead and select Use an ISO image
  • In the next properties window select which drive letter is associated with your CD/DVD for ex: D:\ and place a checkmark in the box labelled Connect at Power on and then click Next
  • In the floppy drive window select Do not add a floppy drive and select Next. If you want to add a floppy drive then choose the approprite answer, why you would want to is beyond me.
  • In the USB controller window select add a USB controller and then click on Next
  • In the ready to complete window do the following:
  • Insert your operating system install disk in your CD/DVD drive and then click on Power on your new virtual machine now and then click Finish as illustrated in the diagram below.

create virtual machine

Note: If you are running Firefox 3.6 or later you will get a message stating Cannot access virtual machine console. The request timed out, this is a new issue with firefox that needs to be addressed, at the time of this article it had not been addressed yet. A simple workaround would be to use Internet Explorer to launch your virtual machine or install a version of Firefox lower than version 3.6.