Saturday, October 23, 2004

Loading XP on Linux with VMWare

Well, tonight I find myself reinstalling Windows. Doh!! No, no - I haven't abandoned Linux. Quite the contrary. A few months back, I had discovered the joys of VMWare Workstation, a piece of software that lets you run multiple operating systems on one computer via "virtual machines." So, I was running Windows XP on my Linux box. Well, when I installed it back then, I forgot how sickly bloated XP was, and only gave myself a 4 GB partition in which to run XP. Needless to say, that is not enough; XP itself takes nearly the entire 4 gig!

I had found a how-to for enlarging my VMWare "virtual disk" size, by creating a second larger virtual disk, then using Norton Ghost to clone the original virtual disk to the new larger one. That would be all fine and good, if in fact it worked. I don't know if it's just me, or the fact that my version of Ghost is a couple years old, but every time I tried to do the clone, it would hang at some random spot in the middle of copying the drive. I tried everything I could think of, including defragmenting the source disk and various other things I'd read about when googling for help. Nothing worked. I needed another solution.

So I decided to create a new virtual machine with the proper sized partition this time. I create a 40GB virtual disk, and set out to load XP again. Of course, I ran into the same problems I had run into a few months back when trying to get the virtual machine to boot from the CD: it wasn't recognizing my CDROM drive.

I ended up having to do 4 things to make it work:

1. Set the CDROM drive to /dev/hdc (or whatever your CD drive is). For whatever reason, the default /dev/cdrom wouldn't work for me, even though it works on my other virtual machines under VMWare.

2. As root: CHMOD 66 /dev/hdc

3. Toggle "legacy emulation" to "on" in VMWare for the CDROM drive.

4. When VMWare boots up, hit F2 to enter VMWare's BIOS. Go under the "Boot" menu and set it to boot from the CDROM drive. (This is a critical step that I missed last time I had installed XP. I ended up making the 6 floppy setup boot disks, and what a pain that was!)

Right now, I'm suffering the horrors of Windows Update, patching this new XP install. Ugh.

So why am I going through all of this, you wonder? Well, I have a web development client who is insisting that I use Microsoft's ASP .NET, as other components of their web site already use it. They are also requiring me to provide to them a Microsoft Front Page template. (I despise Front Page to the core of my very soul). So - I have to get an IIS web server up, and sadly my new laptop runs XP Home and not XP Pro. XP Pro is required in order to run ASP .NET. Like I said, my original XP-on-the-Linux-box didn't have enough free hard drive space to load anything else, so I'm creating a new XP install with plenty of room to run the web server, .NET framework, and anything else I might need. I hope to avoid installing Visual Studio .NET (what a nightmare that is... hours and hours!) - I'm going to try to use Dreamweaver for my ASP .NET coding (it has various extensions that make such a thing possible), and then just make the web template in Front Page at the last minute. Man I hate Front Page.

So that is my tale of woe for the day. Remind me NEVER AGAIN to take on a project that requires the use of Microsoft products exclusively. It's not even paying that well, and for all the time I'm putting in trying to configure my systems to run properly for this project, it's hardly worth the money.

I hope your evening has been better than mine! :) As soon as this service pack is done installing, I am off to bed!

1 comment:

Josh said...

That is a pain, that's for sure. I came across your blog while googling for information on VMware. I've used VMware in the past but I'm really wanting to install Fedora Core 6 using VMware on my XP machine. Thanks for the great read.