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Thread: HowTo: Windows (XP) on Ubuntu with VMWare Server

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    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander

    Smile HowTo: Windows (XP) on Ubuntu with VMWare Server

    Vmware Server is now in the repositories. (7.10, also 7.04)
    See the updated instructions below.


    Are you too having problems with software that is only available on Windows and not on Linux? Are you still Dual Booting to solve this problem? After this HowTo you will never need to dual-boot again for your windows only software, like Adobe CS!

    That sounds great, but how?
    Did you ever heard about Virtual Machines? There is software available that can run Windows XP or any other Operating System inside your main Operating System. This means that you can run Windows XP in Ubuntu without the need to Reboot/Dual Boot.

    That sounds slow...
    It is indeed a little slower, but really: a little. Personally I am very willing to sacrifice that little speed in order to avoid Dual Booting.

    What else can I do with it?

    Run seperate Operating Systems for Online Banking and other things that you want to secure. Try out new Ubuntu Versions without Dual Booting, Try out other Linux Distro's etc.

    What can I not do with it?
    You will not be able to use hardware that doesn't work on Ubuntu. This is very important to understand!
    The Virtual Machine runs on top of Ubuntu, so it can only acces Ubuntu detected devices. It is a virtual machine with virtual hardware.

    Also don't expect to be gaming on a Virtual Machine at this moment. Heavy Videocard 3d things are just not supported right now. So for gaming it's unfortunately a no go. For everything else, just try it out!

    • Ubuntu Edgy, Dapper or Breezy or later.
    • A Windows (XP) Installation CD & Key
    • Internet Connection (+- 100 Megabyte file download)
    Procedure Gutsy & Feisty

    Because VMWare Server is now in the repo's, installation is much easier.
    • Make sure you have enabled the "partner" repository.
      • Code:
        sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list
      • Make sure the lines below are not commented out with a #. Save the file.(replace gutsy with feisty if necessary!)
        deb gutsy partner
        deb-src gutsy partner
    • Install VMWare Server
      • Code:
        sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install vmware-server
    • Get your serial at
    • Now skip to the section "Installation of Windows XP"
    Procedure Edgy and earlier versions
    First we need to install a few dependencies:

    In a terminal type
    sudo apt-get install linux-headers-`uname -r` build-essential xinetd
    This will install all needed dependencies (atleast I hope so )

    Breezy users will also need to install gcc-3.4.
    sudo apt-get install gcc-3.4
    We are now ready to download VMWare Server.
    • Go to
    • On the menu on the right click: Download VMWare Server
    • Click on the appropriate Download Now button.
    • Register as new user, do give a valid email adres, since you will be receiving the registration key by email.
    • Select the VMWare Server beta (for Linux)
    • Accept the EULA
    • Download VMware Server for Linux. (first mentioned, binary (.tar.gz) )
    The Installation
    • Open the downloaded file with the archive manager.
    • Extract it to somewhere, I will use /tmp here.
    • Startup the terminal and go to the extracted files
      cd /tmp  replace with your download directory
      cd vmware-server-distrib
        • Breezy users only. Execute
          export CC=/usr/bin/gcc-3.4
    • Execute the installation script
      sudo ./
    • You can accept all defaults, only thing you might want to alter is the directory where the Virtual Machines are stored. I have mine set to /home/username/vmware . But offcourse, just accept the settings you want to.
    • You will be prompted for your key during the installation. You will find the key in your email inbox
    • If everything went allright, the installation will finish without any problems
    We can now test if it worked by starting the VMWare server console
    • Via the menu Applications => System Tools => Vmware Server Console
    • If everything is allright, the server console program will show up.
    • If it didn't, start the terminal and execute
      This will display the errors, post them here and hopefully we can solve them.
    Installation of Windows XP
    Next thing we want to do is Install Windows (XP) !

    First we need a virtual machine
    • Insert your Windows (XP) CD into your CDROM drive
    • Open the VMware Server Console
    • select 'Create a new virtual machine'
    • => Next => Next => Select Windows Xp (or whatever Windows versions you want to install )
    • => Next => Enter a name and select a location for the Virtual Machine File (It contains the virtual harddisk, so it needs quite some space, min 2 GB, but I would recommend 8+ GB )
    • => Next => Select Network type. I am using NAT, but choose whatever fits you ( or your mood )
    • => Next => Choose the size for the Virtual Disk and set other preferences
    • => Next => Finish
    Now we can start the newly made virtual machine and the install of Windows!
    • Start the virtual machine
    • Hopefully it detects your Windows install CD and will start the installation! If it won't boot from the CD, stop the virtual machine and check/change the preferences for the virtual machine regarding the CD drive
    • Enjoy the installation and the freedom to use Ubuntu while installing


    You will definately want to install the VMWare tools, when windows has been installed. This will speed up your Windows responsiveness
    • Make sure your Windows Virtual Machine is Running and visable/selected. (Not in FullScreen)
    • Go to the VM menu (on the top in the VM Server Console)
    • Select Install VMWare Tools.
      This will start a installation wizard in your WIndows Environment. Just install the stuff and you will have better mouse and system responsiveness.
    CTRL + ALT will release the mousecursor from the virtual machine
    CTRL + ALT in FullScreen mode will get you out of the FullScreen.

    You can Suspend a running virtual machine. this way it will start very fast the next time you need it.

    To have sound support, add a sound device in the virtual machine settings.


    See Attached screenshots from my windows XP Installation and the succes of it.

    Please no discussions about Windows versus Linux in this Thread.

    Common Problems & Solutions
    • No Serial Number Received
    You can view your serial numbers at:
    • After a kernel upgrade VMWare won't start because it has not been (correctly) configured for the running kernel
    sudo /usr/bin/
    • fails to find the right kernel headers. It cannot find /usr/src/kernel/include and won't proceed to install.
    You have a updated kernel, but not the updated kernel headers.
    You can install them by executing
    sudo apt-get install linux-headers-`uname -r`
    Now you can succesfully run
    sudo /usr/bin/
    • You don't want to install the kernel headers manually each time there is an update.
    There is a package called linux-headers-*** that automatically installs the latest kernelheaders, so you don't need to install them manually each time.

    There are 4 flavours of this package: 386, 686, k7, server.

    If you don't know wich one you need, execute
    uname -r
    It will give you something like 2.6.15-26-k7 or 2.6.15-26-686

    Now you know the right flavour, install it by
    sudo apt-get install linux-headers-***
    Replace the *** with 386, 686, k7 or server.
    • Uninstallation failed and reinstall won't work
      A previous installation of VMware software has been detected.
      The previous installation was made by the tar installer (version 3).
      Keeping the tar3 installer database format.
      Error: Unable to execute "/usr/bin/vmware/
      Execution aborted.
    Look for the /etc/vmware directory and either move it to a different location or remove it altogether.
    sudo rm -R /etc/vmware

    According to Flip314:
    VMWare has stated that VMWare Server will be a free product, just like VMWare player.

    Used some information from a blogpost by James Wilford and a comment placed there by 'mips' ( )
    Thanks to Remusus for the linux-headers-'uname -r ' command.
    Thanks to firetux for the GCC-3.4 info
    Thanks to Nick Couchman from the VMWare forum for the uninstallation problems workaround.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Peturrr; March 2nd, 2008 at 06:54 PM. Reason: Updated instructions because of vmware server in the repos.


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