General Guidelines for All VMware Products

Before starting to install a guest operating system, create a virtual machine and be sure that its devices are set up as you expect. For example, if you would like networking software to be installed when you install the guest operating system, be sure the virtual machine's Ethernet adapter is configured and enabled.

The tool you use to configure the virtual machine depends on the VMware product you are using.

You should disable any screen saver that may be running on the host system before you start to install the guest operating system.

A new virtual machine is like a physical computer with a blank hard disk. Before you can use it, you need to partition and format the virtual disk and install an operating system. The operating system's installation program may handle the partitioning and formatting steps for you.

Installing a guest operating system inside a virtual machine is essentially the same as installing it on a physical computer. The basic steps for a typical operating system are:

  1. Start Workstation, VMware ACE Manager or a VMware Virtual Machine Console and connect to the virtual machine.
  2. Insert the installation CD-ROM or floppy disk for your guest operating system into the CD-ROM or floppy drive being used by your virtual machine.

    ESX Server: You must insert the installation CD-ROM or floppy disk in the drive on the server where the virtual machine is running. You cannot use the drives on your management workstation.

    GSX Server: If your guest operating system requires a floppy disk, you must insert it in the drive on the server where the virtual machine is running. You cannot use the floppy drive on your management workstation.

    Note: Rather than boot from a physical CD-ROM, you may wish to create an ISO image file from the installation CD-ROM. You may store the ISO file on the host machine or on a network drive accessible from the host machine. Use the configuration tool for your VMware product to connect the virtual machine's CD drive to the ISO image file, then power on the virtual machine.

    Using an ISO image file in this way can be particularly convenient if you need to install the same operating system in multiple virtual machines. It can also help you work around a problem seen in some host configurations, in which the virtual machine is not able to boot from the installation CD-ROM.

    Note: If you plan to use a PXE server to install the guest operating system over a network connection, you do not need the operating system installation media. When you power on the virtual machine in the next step, the virtual machine detects the PXE server.

  3. Power on your virtual machine by clicking the Power On button.
  4. Follow the instructions provided by the operating system vendor.

As with physical computers, a separate operating system license is required for each virtual machine you run.

Note: Some Microsoft Windows OEM discs included with new computers are customized for those computers and include device drivers and other utilities specific to the hardware system. Even if you can install this Windows operating system on your physical computer, you may not be able to install it in a virtual machine. You may need to purchase a new copy of Windows to install in a virtual machine.

Determining Memory Settings for a Virtual Machine

When you configure the memory settings for a virtual machine, you should consult the documentation for the guest operating system you plan to run in that virtual machine. The user interface of your VMware product provides general guidelines for the amount of memory required, but if the interface and the operating system documentation do not agree, you should rely on the operating system documentation.

Installing VMware Tools in a Linux Guest Operating System

You must install VMware Tools from a text mode screen. You cannot install from a terminal in an X window session.

Some recent distributions of Linux are configured to run the X server when they boot and do not provide an easy way to stop the X server. However, you can switch to a different workspace that is still in text mode and install VMware Tools from that workspace.

To switch between Linux workspaces in a virtual machine, press Ctrl-Alt-Space, release Space without releasing Ctrl and Alt, then press the function key for the workspace you want to use - for example, F2. If you change your hot key combination to something other than Ctrl-Alt, use that new combination with Space and the function key.

Running a Guest Operating System

For information on running a guest operating system and using its features, see the documentation provided by the operating system vendor.