Creating a Virtual PC with VMware

January 6, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Rather than operating a second PC or dual booting – an initially great solution to multi-operating system requirements that can lead to problems with document sharing – why not create a virtual computer?

There are several virtual machine applications that can be used to specify the basic virtual hardware before installing an operating system and among these VMware is probably the easiest to use. This is mainly due to its built-in selection of profiles for different operating systems, not to mention a large selection of virtual PC components from multi-core CPUs (assuming your PC is already equipped with a physical multi-core CPU) to USB devices.

Using VMware Player you can create a new virtual machine specifically for the guest operating system that you intend to use. This might be a Linux distro or even a different version of Windows; you might even install the same version of Windows!

Creating a Virtual PC with VMware

Setting Up a Virtual Machine with VMware Player

To get started, you will need a copy of VMware Player which can be found at downloads.vmware.com. Once downloaded and installed, the application will be ready to use to assist you in your creation of a virtual machine.

Launch the application from Start > All Programs > VMware > VMware Player and select Create a New Virtual Machine. Here you can choose between an Installer disc inserted in your computer, an Installer disc image file (iso) saved on your hard disk drive or you can select the last option, I will install the operating system later. The first two options will configure your virtual machine based on the detected OS installer disc, while the third can be manually configured.

By selecting this option you are presented with a list of options:

  • Microsoft Windows
  • Linux
  • Novell NetWare
  • Sun Solaris
  • Other

Selecting each of these will allow you to choose a specific release from the Version drop down menu; for instance you can configure your virtual machine for any release of Windows since 3.1.

With your choice made, click Next to name the virtual machine and select a location on your PC for it. Click Next again to set the maximum hard disk image size and decide how you will store the virtual disk image. Click Next once again to check the summary and if necessary select the Customize Hardware… button to make changes to the virtual machine’s components.

Configuring Virtual Machine Hardware

Just as you would add and remove memory on a physical PC before installing the operating system, the same is true with VMware Player – where it can be done a lot more easily!

Using the Customize Hardware… button you can select different options for memory, processors, additional CD/DVD drives, floppy disk drives, a network adapter, USB controller, sound card, display adapter and even add new devices.

Once you are happy with your configuration, click OK and Finish – the VM will be ready to power on, and all you will need to do is find a physical installer disc or download a disc image file to proceed with installation!

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