To get started:
- Install and run VMware Player.
- Make sure you have your Windows XP installation CD ready.
- Make sure you have created the virtual machine configuration file (.vmx) and a virtual hard disk (.vmdk).
- If you are installing for real (NOT in VMware Player), unplug the cable that connects to the Internet until after you have finished setting the Windows up and configured a firewall.
If I get lots of mails from people asking how to create the .vmx and .vmdk files, I will add a paragraph about it.
To begin the installation:
- Place the Windows XP installation CD in the CD-ROM tray.
- Start the VMware Player and open the Windows XP .vmx file (e.g. named win_xp.vmx).
With the virtual PC booting, hit Esc button to enter the BIOS setup. Select option 3. CD-ROM Drive. Hit Enter to start booting from CD.
The virtual PC should start booting from the Windows XP disk now. If you have a SCSI hard disk or you wish to install the operating system in a RAID configuration (use several hard disks to boot the operating system), you might need to install special drivers. In reality, you would press F6 at this stage. In virtual machine, we will skip this.
You will now reach the Windows XP welcome-to-setup screen. You can choose to setup Windows XP or repair an existing installation. Using the second option might be useful if your Windows XP does not boot and you need to fix it. However, in our case, we want to start a clean installation. To do so, press ENTER.
It's time to partition our virtual hard disk. An empty unwritten-on hard disk will contain no information. It will be unpartitioned. To make it usable, we need to partition it.
If you're installing on a hard disk that was previously used, partitions WILL exist. You will need to destroy one of the partitions to install the operating system. It will also cause the loss of data on that partition. So make sure your personal, irreplaceable data has been safely backed up.
In case partitions exist, you will want to erase one or all partitions (no screenshot provided) and then create new partitions. In case the disk is empty, you will just need to create new partitions. If I get lots of emails from people asking how to delete existing partitions, I will make another "simulation" and provide necessary screenshots.
In our case, we have a 6GB empty hard disk. We want to partition it. The unpartitioned space is already selected (highlighted in white). In case there are several physical hard disks available, we would see several lines of unpartitioned space information. We would then have to select (highlight) one of them (using arrow keys).
As you can see, we have 3 options:
- Setup Windows XP on a selected partition - press ENTER.
We do not have partitions ready yet.
- Create a new partition in the unpartitioned space - press C.
This is what we want to do.
- Delete selected partitions - press D.
If there were partitions we wanted to delete, this is what we would do.
Again, our choice is to create a new partition. Press C.