Thursday, August 18, 2011

Installing XP-SP3 under VMware

I received no response to my support request on the VMware forum.  After some thought, I decided that I may not have rebooted after installing the VMware Player.  I deleted the previous VM, rebooted and imported the XP Mode machine again.  This time, I did not touch the default machine configuration.  I had expanded memory on the previous attempts, but decided to keep things standard to see if that made a difference.  This time I made it through setup and now am installing software.  Seems I have to start with a fresh XP Mode install.  No issues with crashing.

Windows immediately started complaining that anti-virus software was not installed, so I decided to install Microsoft Security Essentials this time.  I normally use Zone Alarm Internet Security Suite or Symantec Norton Internet Security suite, but MSE is free, has good recommendations from Windows Secrets, my favorite and only technical newsletter, and this is just a virtual machine.  I thought I might as well try it out.

After installing that, I needed to install VMware Tools, which I think are what make integration of the Virtual Machine with the host OS work better.  That has now finished installing, so I will attempt to upgrade the memory (from 256KB to 2GB) and make sure I can see and access the host's physical hard drive, at least the folders I need. 

Now the VM is configured and I have installed Superbase Classic.  I have tested my medical practice management application and it runs fine.  I tried the contact management application and it cannot connect to the host machine.  It needs to communicate via UDP on two ports with a SIMPOL file server on the host.  I have the VM set up in network adapter bridge mode, which means it has a separate IP address from the host.  I cannot ping between them, even with personal firewalls turned off.  Both machines can ping the gateway and other machines on the network.  I rebooted the VM and now have some connectivity.  However, I must open a command prompt and ping the guest VM's IP from the host before I can connect the file server on the host to the Superbase client on the guest VM.  I was able to turn on the host and guest firewall and still get the connection, but that pinging nonsense needs to be fixed.  I must post another note in the VMware forums to see if anyone else has experienced this.

I also want to see how do I install my app so that it shows up in Unity.  Unity is VMware's method for making apps in the virtual machine show up on the host's desktop, appearing to be native applications.  It adds popup menus just above the host's Start Button and hides the VMware player. Anything that you launch from the Unity menus appears to be part of the host.  That is similar to Virtual Applications used by Microsoft's XP Mode.  I mentioned Virtual Applications in an earlier post.  I mention it here because users don't really want to know or deal with the complexity of virtual machines, so I have to make everything look seemless.

I'm still experiencing lag with VMware, so I may need to live with it, until I replace my development machine with an Intel i7 CPU.  It may not be VMware's fault.  I just noticed the browser interface doing the same thing as I type this blog. I think those pauses are due to the blog being saved automatically while I type.  I'll try to be more observant and determine what is really going on. 

Anything else will need to wait, though.  I have stayed all night working on this and I now need to sleep. Next I'll install Linux in another virtual machine.


-djinks         Apps and Services: www.jinksinc.com

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