Installing And Running VMware For Linux

This page details how I setup VMware to run a Win98 guest operating system.

Installing Vmware:

To install on Mandrake you will need to have the C compiler installed. If you chose the "development" option during installation you're all set.

If you did not choose the development installation and know what I'm talking about then just install the C development packages from the installation cdrom. If not, then boot from the installation cdrom and choose the "upgrade" option not "install" and then choose the "development" installation.

Next, login as the user you will be running VMware as. In a console, type su to become root and install the VMware RPM file you downloaded.

Run the configuration script:

Open a console and type:

Acknowledge the end user license agreement. If you get the following message answer yes:

None of VMware's pre-built vmmon modules are suitable for your running kernel, do you want this script to try to build the vmmon module for your system? (You need to have C compiler installed on your system) [yes]

Answer yes to the default location of the C header files.

Answer yes again to the "build vmppuser module" prompt.

When the configuration script prompts you:

Do you want this script to automatically configure your system to allow your virtual machines to access the host file system?

Type: No

Accept the defaults for most of the rest of the prompts.

Installing the VMware License:

After completing the installation of VMware, you will need to install the VMware license. Save the license file you received to the .vmware folder in your user directory (e.g: /home/johndoe/.vmware).

Be sure the file name license is in lower case.

Also, whenever you see a . before a file this means that this is a hidden file and you will need to either, set your file manager to "show hidden files" or if in a console, type ls -a, this will show all hidden files.

Configuring VMware:

Open a console and type: /usr/bin/vmware

Choose to "Run the Configuration Wizard".

Answer all of the questions regarding the system. Review your choices and click "Done".

Install Guest Operating System:

Power On you virtual machine with a win98 boot disk in the floppy drive.

Run fdisk and create a primary partition, set it as active and reboot the virtual machine with the boot disk in the floppy drive.

After rebooting, run fdisk again and format the C drive:

format /s c:

Reboot again (with a boot disk that has cdrom support).

Insert your win98 cdrom in the cdrom drive. From the dos prompt, cd to the cdrom drive and type "setup"..

cd e: setup

Make sure to change e to whatever drive letter the cdrom is on.

Install win9x as usual (this will take much longer than installing normally). That's it.

Install VMware Tools:

VMware will run a guest operating system without VMware Tools, however the graphics within the virtual machine will be limited to 16 colors. Installing the tools will give you a 32-bit displays with high resolution and much faster graphics performance. You'll also be able cut and paste text between Linux and VMware-Win9x.

Power on the virtual machine (the following steps all take place inside the virtual machine, not on the host computer).

On the Vmware menu, Choose Settings-VMware Tools Install

Double-click the My Computer icon on your win9x desktop. Make sure there is no floppy disk in the floppy drive and double-click the A: drive icon (the tools are on a virtual floppy).

Double-click VMwareTools.exe and follow the instructions.

When you click the Finish button after installing VMware Tools, the Display Settings window opens. Click the Advanced button. A dialog entitled Standard Display Adapter (VGA) Properties appears.

Click the Adapter tab.

Click the Change button. This will start the "Update Device Driver Wizard", click Next.

Choose the option to "Display a list of drivers in a specific location", click Next.

Click the "Have Disk" button. This brings up the "Install From Disk" dialog.

Enter the following path, and click OK:


Select "VMware SVGA (FIFO) display adapter", click OK.

Answer Yes to the on-screen question, then click Next to install the driver. After the driver is installed, click Finish.

The VMware Tools will be launched automatically after you reboot your virtual machine.

Adding Sound Support:

If you have never installed a Sound Blaster 16 Card in this Windows system previously, you will need the Windows 98 installation CD-ROM.

1) Launch "Add New Hardware" from the Windows Control Panel, click Next.

2) Select No for "Do you want Windows to search for new hardware?", click Next.

3) Select "Sound, video and games controllers", click Next.

4) Select "Creative Labs Sound Blaster 16 or AWE-32", click Next, then Finish.

5) Shutdown Windows via the Start menu, then in VMware, go to "Settings-Configuration Editor-Sound", for device enter "/dev/dsp", check "start connected" and "install". Save and exit. When you restart windows your sound should work.


VMware has a "Suspend To Disk" option, this will give you an instant on capability. If your running VMware in full screen mode, do Alt-Ctrl-Esc, choose "Suspend" then choose exit from the file menu. Next time you open VMware, Win9x will be up and running allowing you to skip the boot process altogether. Any apps you had open when you suspended will be open.

You may have noticed that installing the guest operating system can be tedious. If you have access to a Cd-burner you can burn the /vmware/win9x directory with all of the config files, virtual disks etc... to a cdrom. That way if you ever have to reinstall Linux you can just reinstall the vmware*.rpm, re-run the script and not have to reinstall the guest OS.

When I installed Linux I created a separate partition for my /home directory. I keep the /vmware/win9x directory on my /home partition and when I do a clean install of Linux I do not reformat that partition and everything on /home remains intact as well.

Bypass Configuration File Question:

Create a link either on your desktop or in your menu by using the menu editor and add the following line:

vmware -x <path to /win9x.cfg file>

Here are some alternate commands:

vmware -X <path to /win9x.cfg file>

This will automatically Power On and go to Fullscreen Mode

vmware -qx <path to /win9x.cfg file>

This will automatically Power On and exit at Power Off

vmware -qX <path to /win9x.cfg file>

This will both automatically Power On in Fullscreen mode, and exit on Power Off.