Virtualization, Cloud, Infrastructure and all that stuff in-between

My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together

Category Archives: VMWare Workstation 6.5

Installing VMware Workstation on Windows 7

You may recall I previously posted on problems installing VMware Workstation 6.5 on Windows 7, this problem seems to have been resolved with the upcoming VMware Workstation 7 which adds support for Windows 7 as a guest and as a host.

You can download the Workstation 7 RC build here Release Build here and see the full features list, I can confirm it installed perfectly on my Windows 7 Ultimate x64 machine.

image (Screenshot from RC build, see above link for RTM build)

Some new features include official support for Windows 7 *with Aero support!* (shown below)


And best of all – it now provides "official support for ESX as a guest VM under Workstation (my previous posts on workarounds for Workstation 6.5  here)


As an aside I’m running Windows 7 on a machine with a 64-bit SSD hard drive, I’m hoping to make use of the linked clone functionality to save disk space as I often run VM’s which are built from a common base OS template (see this post here for more info on how I’ve managed linked images in the past)– performance so far has been great both for host and guest as I/O doesn’t get as bogged down as it does with traditional spindle based disks.

**UPDATE: ah, the perils of the scheduled post – as this article went live the final RTM build of Workstation 7 has been released, I’ve updated the links in this post**


vSphere RC RAM Under VMware Workstation: How Low Can You Go?


Getting ESX (in it’s various versions) to run under VMware Workstation has proven to be a very popular article on this blog, if you are a consultant who has to do product demos of VI3/vSphere or are studying for your VCP it’s a very useful thing to be able to do on your own laptop rather than rely on remote connections or lugging around demo kit.

Good news; the RC build of vSphere will boot under the latest VMware Workstation build (6.5.2) without any of the .vmx hackery you had to do in previous versions and it seems quite fast to boot.

Bad news: the RC build of vSphere needs at least 2GB of RAM to boot, this is a problem for a laptop with 4GB of RAM as it means you can only really run one at a time.

Luckily: Duncan Epping (or VCDX 007; licenced to design :)) has discovered how you can hack the startup script to allow it to run in less than 2GB of RAM – details here, this isn’t officially supported – but it does work.

In the interests of science I did some experimentation with VM’s with various amounts of decreasing RAM to see what the bare minimum RAM you can get away with for a VM’d version of vSphere RC.

The magic number seems to be 768Mb of RAM, if you allocate less than this to the VM then it results in a Purple Screen of Death (PSOD) at boot time.


Note – this may change for the GA/RTM final version – but these are my findings for RC

The relevant section of my /etc/vmware/init/init.d/00.vmnix file looks like the following (note it won’t actually boot with 512mb assigned to the VM)


Some screen captures of the vSphere RC boot process below

image image

And finally the boot screen once it’s finished – it takes 2-3 mins with 768Mb of RAM on my laptop to get to this boot screen.


I am doing this on a Dell D620 with 4Gb RAM and Intel VT enabled in the BIOS, running Vista x86 and VMware Workstation v6.5.2 build 156735



I haven’t tried, but I assume I can’t power on VM’s under this instance of vSphere but I can connect them to a vCenter 4 machine and practice with all the management and configuration tools.

Happy tweaking…

Problem Installing VMWare Workstation on Windows 7


I have tried to install the most recent build of VMWare Workstation (6.5.1 build 126130) on my Windows 7 beta (build 7000) machine, and it fails with an error 1935 An Error occurred during the installation of assembly component {0BAE132A2- etc. etc. etc. HRESULT: 0x8007054F

 image image


Ah well, it’s still beta – guess there will be an updated build from VMWare at some point. This will prevent me from running Windows 7 on my main machine without some dual-booting 😦

Works perfectly the other way round (Windows 7 running as a VM under VM Workstation) so that will do for now.

Workstation VMs loose network connectivity


I’ve had a problem recently with VM Workstation on my laptop, both with previous beta versions and the current RTM build. My Windows XP Virtual machine that I use to run Outlook via Unity (and indeed all VM’s on my laptop) loose network connectivity via the host occasionally, this seems to affect VM’s configured for both Bridged and NAT mode – they just can’t ping anything. I do suspend/resume my Vista laptop quite a lot throughout the day, often with VM’s running so I guess this is one of the main reasons it gets upset.

The only fix I’ve found so far is to restart the VMWare NAT Service a couple of times, and sometimes it won’t stop so I have to kill the vmnat process via Task Manager (show processes for all users) and then restart the VMNat service via services under ‘Administrative Tools’ in control panel.


I’ve not managed to isolate this to a problem with specific VMWare or one of my 3rd party tools (AV/SSLVPN) yet, but will keep digging; let me know if you have similar problems.

I know of a similar, but different problem with the Trend OfficeScan Personal firewall service – but the workaround doesn’t resolve the problem and seems independent of it.

VMWare Workstation 6.5 Release


I’ve been running the beta versions for a while and have been impressed with the new Unity feature; finally matching what Parallels for the Mac has had for ages.

my previous posts here and here and how it is particularly useful for running more than one version of Outlook.

As ever, clean uninstall of the beta and reinstall of the RTM code, performance is excellent now, and Unity seems to work very well.

Quick (content obscured) screen shot below of how well it integrates into the desktop, even works with the Flip-3D feature in Vista


Unity icon colour is configurable image and I notice there are a load of per-VM configuration settings for how you can mark Unity presented windows.


Good stuff – Unity is definitely the killer feature that allows you to seamlessly run apps on a single desktop, wonder is this available in ACE/Player and would be good if you could do this in future with Linux apps onto a Windows desktop.

VMWare Workstation 6.5 Release Candidate Build 110068


There is a new build available for VMWare Workstation, I’ve installed it on my Vista laptop; definitley seems a lot faster and unity is pretty slick now at screen refreshes.

Flawless uninstall/reinstall as per usual VMWare standards… it’s almost there!

Unity icon has now changed to a rather nasty pinkish colour 🙂




PSOD – Purple Screen of Death

Just incase you ever wondered what it looks like here is a screendump..

this is the VMWare equivalent of Microsoft’s BSOD (Blue Screen of Death)


I got this whilst running ESX 3.5 under VMWare Workstation 6.5 build 99530, it happened because I was trying to boot my ESX installation from a SCSI hard disk – which it didn’t like – I assume because of driver support, swapped for an IDE one and it worked fine…

update – actually the VM had 384Mb of RAM allocated and that’s what actually stopped it from booting.. upped to 1024Mb and it runs fine.

Its the first time I’ve seen one – all the production ESX boxes I’ve worked with have always been rock-solid (touch wood)

I’m preparing a blog post about unattended installations of ESX when I hit this, in case you were wondering.

VMWare Workstation 6.5 Beta 2 – my experiences


I’ve installed the updated build of 6.5 as Eric discussed here; first impressions Unity works much, much better – less screen jitter and flashes of guest desktop – performance definitely improved too and makes my multi Outlook setup much nicer to use.

imageAlso noted that the unity icon has changed colour from red to orange..


I’m always impressed at how well VMWare Workstation uninstalled and re-installs between Beta versions.. works 100% every time for me.. impressive considering how many drivers and helper services it installs into the host OS.

Don’t think it will be long until RTM now…

Running ESX 3.5 and 3i Under VMWare Workstation 6.5 Beta Build 91182


Following on from my earlier post I upgraded my installation to the new build of 6.5. it un-installed the old build and re-installed the latest without a problem, took about 30mins and required a reboot of the host OS.

All my previously suspended XP/2003 VM’s resumed ok without a restart but needed an upgrade to the VMTools which did require a restart of the guest OS – all completed with no problems.

Now, onto installing ESX….

I used the settings from Eric’s post here to edit my .vmx file

ethernet0.virtualDev = “e1000”

monitor.virtual_exec = “hardware”
monitor_control.restrict_backdoor = “true”

Note – you need to select an x64 Linux version from the VM type drop down, if you have to go back and change it via the GUI after you’ve edited the .vmx file it overwrites the Ethernet card “e1000” setting to “vlance” so you need to edit again otherwise the ESX installer won’t find a compatible NIC and won’t install.

it was initially very slow to boot; 5mins on my dual core laptop with only one error – which was expected..


To improve the performance I changed my installation to run the non-debug version of the Workstation binaries (rename the vmware-vmx.exe to vmware-vmx-debug.exe)

note: this isn’t recommended unless you know what you are doing, VMWare will rely on the output from the debug version of the code if you need to report any issues)

It also seems to work for the installable version of ESX 3i… (although I’ve not quite figured out the point of that version yet :)).


Install prompt


it did fail with an error the 1st time round..


this was because I had specified an IDE disk as per the ESX instructions, I changed it to a SCSI one and it worked ok.




The ESX 3i install has a footprint of about 200Mb on disk, and ESX 3.5 uses 1.5Gb.

I’m going to keep the 3.5 install on my laptop and will try to use linked clones to maintain a couple of different versions/configs to save disk space.. I’m sure I could knock up a quick script to change the hostname/IP of each clone – if I do I’ll post it here.

Why would you want to do this? well because you can, of course 🙂 and its handy for testing patch updates and scripts for ESX management etc.

I will  also try to get a ESX DRS cluster running under workstation with a couple of ESX hosts and shared storage over iSCSI using something like OpenFiler as shown here. won’t exactly be production performance, but useful for testing and demo’ing.

New VMWare Workstation 6.5 Build(s) and ability to run ESX 3.5


As a result of this post from Eric Sloof I note there is a new build of Workstation 6.5 available; I hadn’t noticed this as I haven’t had much time to follow the forums and my beta/RC (as used in this post and installed here is build 84113) hasn’t notified me there is a new release as all the previous 4.x/5.x beta’s have.

Oddly I checked this morning before I saw Eric’s post and it reported no new builds available – assume this is because its still a beta programme.

Anyway – if you downloaded the previous build before 14th May then go to this page and you can update your registration for the new build (below).


I’ll be trying this out in the coming week and hopefully will be able to get ESX running on my laptop under VMWare Workstation (very handy mobile demo platform).