Creating a VMware virtual machine is pretty straight forward, however, there are aspects worth mentioning that might not be so evident like booting from your host computer’s CD-ROM drive. For this tutorial, we are going to be using VMware player to create and run our virtual machine. VMware Player is a free visualization software, which you can use to play, as well as create all types of virtual machines. We will be using Windows XP for both, the host operating system as well as for the Virtual Machine, but you can use any combination you prefer; the instructions and outcome will be pretty much the same. I hope you find this tutorial useful and if you have any questions feel free to ask.
Creating the Virtual Machine
Download and install VMware player. The software is free for personal use, however, VMware requires you to register to be able to download it.
Select “I will install the operating system later” for now and click “Next” to continue.
On the following screen, select the desired operating system and the operating system version. For this example, we are going to be selecting Microsoft Windows XP Professional.
Next, give your virtual machine a name or leave the one provided by VMware. Click “Next” to continue.
Choose the amount of space to dedicate to your virtual machine. VMware will set it to a “recommended” size, you do not have to abide by this. In our example, VMware set the space automatically to 40GB, I changed it to 10GB which is a good minimum for XP if you have limited space. This is, however, entirely up to you.
Finally, check to make sure all settings you selected are correct and click on the “Finish” button to create your virtual machine. Some of these settings can be changed later if needed.
Installing the Operating System
Now that you are done creating your new virtual machine, we are going to install the operating system. There are many ways to accomplish this; you can install it from an ISO image or even booting from network, for now we are going to do it the most common way; booting from your computer’s CD-ROM drive. In order for VMware to do this, we will have to enter the virtual machine’s boot menu. Another alternative will be to enter the virtual machine’s BIOS and set it to boot from the CD-ROM drive; this alternative is recommended when you must boot prom the CD repeatedly.
Start your new virtual machine.
Immediately after starting your virtual machine, click on the virtual machine’s screen to take control; right after, click the ESC key to access the boot menu. Just like a regular computer, you have to be very fast and do it at the right time, otherwise, the machine will continue booting and you will have to shut it down and start again. A good way to do this, is starting the virtual machine, clinking on the screen to take control and immediately pressing the ESC key repeatedly until you get it. If you are having trouble entering the boot menu, you can easily increase your VM’s boot delay.
Once inside the boot menu, select the CD-ROM drive, boot from it and start installing your operating system.