Posts Tagged ‘VMWare’

Download Blank VHD Images


VHD is the virtual hard disk file format originally used by Microsoft Virtual PC, but fully compatible with VirtualBox, Citrix and VMWare.

Despite the fact that VHD is not native to any of these VM hosts, it is actually a very useful file format, widely compatibility with (and thus portable between) various pieces of host software. There is also a broad range of useful tools for modifying and working with VHD images. I’ve recently been experimenting with the Plop VHD Loader, one such 3rd party tool which allows the user to boot a real machine from a VHD file.

Although they are VHD compatible, hosts like VirtualBox and VMWare prefer to create images in their own (.VMDK, .VDI) file formats, so I’ve created some blank VHD image files of different sizes which are available for download below:

These are all self-expanding, so the files themselves are very small (you don’t have to download a full 40GB of nothing). Hopefully these will help you get started experimenting with VHDs. Enjoy!

Install Rhapsody DR2 on VMWare [How To]

Way back in December of 2010 I wrote a tutorial detailing how to get the NeXT OpenStep 4 OS loaded up in VMWare Fusion on the Macintosh. NeXT operating systems are full of nascent incarnations of OS X features, which makes them great fun for Macintosh geeks (myself included) to have a poke around in. Exploring OpenStep yields some interesting gems, but the trail really picks up in Rhapsody. Development of Rhapsody began when NeXT was purchased by Apple in late 1996; the OS itself takes the BSD underpinnings of NeXTSTEP/OpenStep and the desktop experience of the Macintosh, architecturally prototypical of what we now recognise as Mac OS X.

Needless to say, it’s a very interesting OS to explore, and can run pretty smoothly under VMWare. Here’s how:


Booting a Virtual Machine from a USB Disk (Easily)

Virtual Machines are fantastically useful – whether you want to try out something beta, something old, run apps across platforms or in the cloud, VMs are a killer part of any power user’s repertoire.

One thing which I’ve felt has always limited their flexibility, however, is their storage mechanism, the virtual hard disk. In a previous tutorial, I used Oracle’s VirtualBox to install Ubuntu Linux to an external storage device. Out-of-the-box, however, VBox and its ilk don’t make booting from a physical disk a particularly simple process (see here, for example).

Luckily, this doesn’t need to be, thanks to the Plop Boot Manager.

This boot manager obviates the need for any command line trickery to boot your VM from USB. (This assumes you’ve already got an OS installed to a USB drive – if you don’t, have a look at this tutorial, which demonstrates how to install Ubuntu to a USB disk from within a VM).

How to:

1. Download the Plop boot manager to your host computer (here)

2. Open up your virtual machine and connect ‘plpbt.iso’ to your virtual CDROM drive.

3. Connect your USB disk to the virtual machine.

4. Boot up the VM. When the Plop boot screen appears, select USB.

The machine will now boot from the external disk. Once the OS has started loading, it’s safe to ‘remove’ the Plop image from the virtual CDROM drive.

OpenStep Running Under Mac OS X with VMWare

I’ve had a great time today playing with the precursor to Mac OS X, the NeXT OS. For many Mac geeks, the NeXTSTEP/OpenStep is an object of curiosity, and what better way to learn about it than by getting your hands dirty and having a play around.

As far as I can gather, the NeXTSTEP OS originally only ran on ‘Black’ hardware – hardware produced by the NeXT company, using Motorola 68K CPUs. While the OS and the machines were both technically brilliant, the hardware was, for most, prohibitively expensive. In the early/mid 90s, NeXT uncoupled OPENSTEP – the advanced and easy-to-use object-oriented software development environment – from its hardware and operating system, eventually porting to several software platforms (including Windows NT!). They updated their own NeXTSTEP operating system, in the form of OpenStep/Mach, which coupled the dev environment with a Mach kernel based OS designed to run on common (Intel x86 and other) hardware.

This is a guide on how to get OpenStep up and running on VMWare Fusion for Mac – I suspect it’s mostly Mac aficionados who are curious about this stuff, and most of the guides I found were either for Linux or didn’t ‘finish the job (i.e. ending up with a black & white OS with no sound!)

Required Materials

Disclaimer: none of the above files are my own creations, I am merely placing their links in a single location to facilitate their easy retrieval. The boot floppy and 4.2 update are hosted by Apple, while the SVGA driver and custom drivers floppy image were obtained from Laurent Julliard’s site. The remaining drivers were linked to from this forum thread. I also take no responsibility for any equipment damage or loss of any kind (data or financial) as a result of using this guide. Onwards…

Preparing the Virtual Machine

For this guide, I’ll be using VMWare Fusion 3 for Macintosh (OS X 10.6.5).

  1. Open the ‘New Virtual Machine Assistant’ and press ‘Continue without disc’
  2. Select ‘Create a custom virtual machine’
  3. Some people recommend creating a virtual BSD machine – I used OS: Other & Version: Other, so select these now.
  4. Hit ‘Customise Settings’ to open the machine configuration panel. There are a number of custom options required to get OpenStep running smoothly.
  5. CPU and RAM: Set the VM to single core with 128MB of RAM. (Remember how dreamy 128MB of RAM was back in 1995? It’ll be plenty for this application)
  6. Hard drive: You’ll need to create a new hard drive (I called mine ‘OS4.2.vmdk’), of bus type IDE – OS4.2 VMWare SCSI drivers not available to my knowledge –  and of disk size 3GB. The only rule here is that the drive has to be between 800MB to install the OS and 4GB to remain compatible. Uncheck ‘Split into 2GB files’ and check ‘Pre-allocate disk space’. Hit apply.
  7. You will need to create a new Floppy drive to get those boot and driver disks working. First, you will need to configure those weird .floppyimage files. Under Mac OS X, I simply changed their extension to .img. Do this for all the images in advance.
  8. Return to VMWare: Click ‘Other Devices’ and then ‘+’, then hit ‘Add Floppy’ in the context menu. When it asks you to select an image file, point it to the Install Disk image.
  9. Finally, attach the OpenStep install disc to your virtual CD drive – hit ‘Virtual Machine’ and select ‘CD/DVD’ and either select the drive you have the OpenStep disc or locate the .iso file of the disc image.

Installing OpenStep

  1. You are now ready to power on the machine for the first time. After OPENSTEP has checked the RAM memory, you will be presented with some boot options (interestingly, anyone who’s seen an OSx86 bootloader will recognise this screen). Hit enter to progress to the next screen. (Fig 1)
  2. At this stage, the Device Drivers floppy disk will be requested. Click the floppy disk icon on your VMWare window and select ‘Choose Floppy image’. Point this window to the ‘Custom Drivers’ floppy .img and hit return. (more…)