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Thread: Run a Native Windows Installation on Ubuntu with Vmware Player

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Run a Native Windows Installation on Ubuntu with Vmware Player

    I found this tutorial in this web page here I resided to give it a try and it work perfectly. Now i can start my native windows without having to reboot and without needing to create a virtual machine.
    I only did some minor edits to the tutorial.

    Running existing Windows installation on Ubuntu is piece of cake. What you need is Vmware player and 10 minutes of spare time.

    There are two ways you can get your existing Windows installation to run in Vmware player:

    1. Vmware Conventer - It converts you existing physical Windows installation into virtual machine - means; if your Windows installation is 30 GB big, you will need another 30 GB of free space to store it somewhere. Not an option in my case.

    2. To setup Vmware player to use physical Windows installation. Don't worry, you will still be able to boot and use your Windows like you used to do.

    Let's start with the dirty work:

    I will save you a lot of trouble with creating necesarry .vmdk and .vmw files. These are files that contain your virtual machine information and are used by Vmware player. Download windows.vmdk and windows.vxm but don't just fire 'em up yet. Read on.

    Open console. You will use program "parted" to get some of your disk information and modify windows.vmdk file. Parted is already there in Ubuntu by default.
    Strat parted with "sudo parted", (or if you have several disks "sudo parted /dev/hdx" where x the letter of the disk containing Windows installation) and type: "unit s" then "print". You will get something like this:

    Note the underlined number. Now type: "unit cyl" and "print". You will get this:

    Again, note the underlined numbers.

    Open windows.vmdk file with text editor and find this part of file:

    Underlined values should be replaced with the values given by parted but there is a catch. Note that second RW value from vmdk file is not the same as the one you got from parted "Disk /dev/hda/". Thats because first partition on disk is master boot record or MBR which points to boot files of operating systems. It's lenght in this case is 63, and as far as I know, it is pretty standard value.

    We will use copy of MBR so actual start point of Windows parititon is parted's value "Disk /dev/hda" 240121727 minus 63.

    240121727 - 63 = 240121664 <- result goes to vmdk file

    Now, you do the same for your values and modify vmdk file. Don't forget about "ddb.geometry.heads" and "ddb.geometry.cylinders".

    Type "quit" in parted and make copy of MBR. Copy-paste this command into console:
    "dd if=/dev/hda of=windowsxp.mbr bs=512 count=63"
    If it doesn't let you do it, then try as root, write this in a terminal "sudo -i" and then the previous command. the file wil now go to "/root". remmember that cose you will need it later.

    Ubuntu part of work is done but DON'T run Vmware player yet. Put vmdk and vmx files together with copy of MBR windowsxp.mbr which is already in your home directory. (or in /root)

    Now reboot into Windows and set up another hardware profile for Vmware.
    Start-> Control Panel-> System, click on Hardware tab and Hardware profiles. You will find Profile 1 (Current), highlight it and click Copy, give it new name, Vmware for instance and move it up.While at Hardware tab in System properties, you can disable driver signing.

    One more thing to do. As you may know, work in Vmware machines is easier with Vmware tools. I took Vmware tools installation out of Vmware Server to spare you of downloading 100 MB + file and you can download it here. Unpack archive and put it somewhere on Windows partition.

    If you don't trust me, go to Vmware web site and download whole Vmware Server package for Linux. You will find Vmware tools for Windows inside windows.iso file.

    Finally, boot back to Ubuntu, run windows.vmx, choose newly created hardware profile at prompt and install Vmware tools once in Windows.

    Oh and, windows.vmx contains some of virtual machine properties like amount of RAM or enabled or disabled peripherals so scroll thru it with text editor and customize it with your own needs.


    - I you get ""Cannot open the disk" error, add your user to "Disk group";
    PHP Code:
    sudo adduser USERNAMEdisk 
    *write your user name

    - If you have Windows that requires activation, be sure to know what are you doing. I'm not familiar with Windows Activation procedures and rights so I can't help you with that;

    - If you get 0x000000xx BSOD in Windows upon boot, google for that error. One of the most common problems are hidden or restore partitions on brand-name/laptop computers;
    you can also try here.I had to do what says here to make it work

    - Xlib: extension "XFree86-VidModeExtension" missing on display ":1.0". error: Turn off Beryl of Compiz and try again.

    just in case here is (again) the page where i found this tutorial

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn

    Re: Run a Native Windows Installation on Ubuntu with Vmware Player


    I've followed the guide, but get an error from Grub while it starts in vmware: "Error 17".
    Does any one have a solution?

    It didn't say anything about grub (or similar boot manager) in the guide, so I though that the present of grub was implicit, because grub is necessary to be able to dual boot between Ubuntu and Windows.
    "Real programmers does not document. If it was hard to write, it should be hard to read."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Angry Re: Run a Native Windows Installation on Ubuntu with Vmware Player


    Currently i'm dual-boot (Edgy - XP). And i'm trying this guide so that I can run my XP in Ubuntu.

    But I've this problem when trying to boot Windows in VMPlayer. When windows loading it went to this BSOD. (Stop 0x0000007B error)

    Can anyone help me on this. I'm really stuck in here.

    My .vmdk file

    config.version = "8"
    virtualHW.version = "4"

    uuid.location = "56 4d 77 00 91 40 73 73-88 7d 44 4f 20 ab e7 2c"
    uuid.bios = "56 4d 77 00 91 40 73 73-88 7d 44 4f 20 ab e7 2c"

    uuid.action = "create"
    checkpoint.vmState = "windowsxp.vmss"

    displayName = "Windows XP"
    annotation = ""
    guestinfo.vmware.product.long = ""
    guestinfo.vmware.product.url = ""

    guestOS = "winxphome"
    numvcpus = "1"
    memsize = "128"
    paevm = "TRUE"
    sched.mem.pshare.enable = "TRUE"
    MemAllowAutoScaleDown = "FALSE"

    MemTrimRate = "-1"
    nvram = "WindowsXP.nvram"
    mks.enable3d = "FALSE"
    vmmouse.present = "FALSE"
    vmmouse.fileName = "auto detect"

    tools.syncTime = "TRUE"
    tools.remindinstall = "TRUE" = "FALSE" = "FALSE" = "TRUE" = "TRUE"
    gui.restricted = "FALSE"

    ethernet0.present = "TRUE"
    ethernet0.connectionType = "nat"
    ethernet0.addressType = "generated"
    ethernet0.generatedAddress = "00:0c:29:ab:e7:2c"
    ethernet0.generatedAddressOffset = "0"

    usb.present = "TRUE"
    usb.generic.autoconnect = "TRUE"

    sound.present = "TRUE"
    sound.virtualdev = "sb16"

    ide0:0.present = "TRUE"
    ide0:0.fileName = "windowsxp.vmdk"
    ide0:0.mode = "independent-persistent"
    ide0:0.deviceType = "rawDisk"
    ide0:0.redo = ""
    ide0:0.writeThrough = "FALSE"
    ide0:0.startConnected = "TRUE"

    ide1:0.present = "TRUE"
    ide1:0.fileName = "/dev/cdrom"
    ide1:0.deviceType = "atapi-cdrom"
    ide1:0.writeThrough = "FALSE"
    ide1:0.startConnected = "TRUE"

    floppy0.present = "FALSE"
    floppy0.fileName = "/dev/fd0"
    floppy0.startConnected = "FALSE"

    serial0.present = "FALSE"
    serial1.present = "FALSE"
    parallel0.present = "FALSE"
    Thanks in advance.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Re: Run a Native Windows Installation on Ubuntu with Vmware Player

    lopop, finish reading the post, there is a trobelshot section

    tray with what it says here "" it fix that problem for me

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Re: Run a Native Windows Installation on Ubuntu with Vmware Player

    thanks.. i'll try the method from the links

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

    Re: Run a Native Windows Installation on Ubuntu with Vmware Player

    Well, I've tried this twice now and keep encountering the same problem. Even after adding myself to the disk group I get this error:

    Cannot open the disk '/home/crysys/vmware/windows.vmdk' or one of the snapshot disks it depends on.
    Reason: Insufficient permission to access file.
    I tried this with my normal desktop using VMWare server but I figured my problem was the use of a SATA disk so I've moved over to a fresh Kubuntu install on an older box with VMWare player and a PATA drive yet the same problem crops up. I've gone so far as setting all the files permissions to 777. Am I missing something obvious?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005

    Re: Run a Native Windows Installation on Ubuntu with Vmware Player

    Quote Originally Posted by inapad View Post
    Put vmdk and vmx files together with copy of MBR windowsxp.mbr which is already in your home directory. (or in /root)
    what does that mean? dump it all in my home dir? make a new dir for it? how-to's for "absolute beginners" should be less ambiguous.

    i'm gonna jsut put them together in my ~/ and hope it works. Thanks for the how-to by the way. If this works, it should be a pretty good free alternative to parallels.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Belo Horizonte, Brazil
    Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope

    Re: Run a Native Windows Installation on Ubuntu with Vmware Player

    I have used the original guide by BlackMH to run a virtual version of my existing Windows XP from Ubuntu.
    Yes, it does work and is much more convenient than rebooting to get from one OS to another.
    However, it is unfortunately not all that straightforward and there are quite a number of problems.
    In addition, the guide as written above, which is essentially just taken straight from BlackMH's original, is just not up to the standard which is normal for guides/tutorials in Ubuntu forums. Certainly, the howto part needs to be clarified as it doesn't work everytime straight out of the box.
    I don't make any claims to being an experienced computer user but there are certainly many people who are considerably less experienced. As the procedure under discussion is fraught with traps for the unwary that could end up in serious damage to existing installations (both Ubuntu and Windows XP) this guide needs serious re-working before it is unleashed on unsuspecting Ubuntu beginners.
    I will mention some of the difficulties I came across in the hope that inapad may think about upgrading this guide into something which may be of benefit to the type of person who is most likely to use guides in this forum (i.e. home user/enthusiast, not a computer professional)

    1. USB devices
    VM Player does not support USB 2.0 so all USB connections become 1.1
    Not only that but a maximum of two USB devices can be connected to the virtual Windows XP at a time.
    So if your physical Windows XP has a USB printer, an external HD and a camera hooked up to it, and you need all three at once, you're going to have a problem.

    2. Windows activation
    Because the virtual Windows XP will be operated with a different Hardware Profile, it will need to be re-activated when first used. Now while this is just a minor inconvenience if it only happens once, it can become a major pain in the neck if you intend to occassionally boot into your physical Windows XP in addition to using your virtual Windows XP from Ubuntu. Everytime you boot to Windows you will have to re-activate it. After something around 10 re-activations, your CoA key becomes inactive and you need to call Microsoft to re-activate over the phone. This can take about 10 minutes.
    It is not clear to me how many times Microsoft will go on allowing the same version of Windows XP to be re-activated. Therefore, the possibility that your Windows may become permanently inactive must be faced.

    3. Virtual Machine boot errors
    Because nearly everybody who wants to try this will have a dual boot system, they should be aware that launching VM Player will load your usual boot menu. Two things can go badly wrong here:
    i) you boot to a virtual Ubuntu instead of Windows XP in error. This will badly mess up your Ubuntu installation to such an extent that you may have to re-install it.
    ii) you select the wrong Hardware Profile when booting to your virtual Windows XP. This will badly mess up your Windows installation (although I have no personal experience of this myself)

    4. Virtual Windows XP is illegal?
    Apparently, it is not legal to use one licensed version of Windows XP as both a physical OS and a virtual OS on the same computer. It's got to be one or the other.
    So, if you like the convenience of operating a virtual Windows XP from Ubuntu for small tasks but need to boot to the physical version of Windows for more serious work, then you've got a problem (in addition to the re-activation difficulties mentioned earlier).

    It is not my intention to completely turn anybody against the proceedure outlined here but be aware of the problems before setting off.
    There is an alternative that avoids many of the re-activation and illegality difficulties mentioned here although it doesn't give you a virtual version of your physical Windows XP. This is outlined in this guide and gives you enough Windows in Ubuntu to do anything you want but is particularly suitable for small tasks (I like to use a VM Windows to access Skype from Ubuntu as SkypeOut calls just don't work well in Ubuntu in my experience).

    I think this is a matter of putting all the cards on the table so that everybody knows what they may be letting themselves into. I hope others will share their good or bad experiences so that a more comprehensive all-embracing guide can be assembled.
    Last edited by PaulFXH; March 17th, 2007 at 12:08 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Los Angeles
    Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope

    Re: Run a Native Windows Installation on Ubuntu with Vmware Player

    I would thank PaulFXH for the above. He brings up some additional points that had never occurred to me - I never got far enough to discover these drawbacks. As someone who tried this howto, found it vague in key spots, and nearly ruined both the Ub. and XP existing installs, I would caution people against this until it's been enlarged upon and made more robust. If you are familiar with the procedures and it all makes perfect sense to you, then fine. But for me, having never set up a virtual machine before, it was not good. I also got blue screen errors and never got XP to boot.

    It does seem like there should be some very easy and safe way to identify and boot an existing install in a VM. Until I find that method, I will continue to dual boot and futz with Wine. I've also discovered the almost trivially easy way to get a remote session on a nearby Ubuntu machine using XDMCP and the Windows program Xming, a setup which seems much better and more responsive than 'remote desktop' or VNC. Quite pleased with that. This way I just leave Windows on the laptop yet can still use any Linux program or the full Ubuntu desktop on it at will, at least while on my home network. Linux is truly amazing.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Re: Run a Native Windows Installation on Ubuntu with Vmware Player

    i'v tried the guide and when i try loading the windows.vmx i get the following error..

    VMware Player cannot find the virtual disk "/home/tony/vmware/windows.vmdk". Please verify the path is valid and try again.
    Cannot open the disk '/home/tony/vmware/windows.vmdk' or one of the snapshot disks it depends on.
    Reason: The system cannot find the file specified.

    i have the windows.vmdk, windowsxp.mbr, and windows.vmx all in the same directory and it is in the /home/tony/vmware directory.. i dont know why it says it cant find it

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