Tag Archives: vmware_fusion

Picture of palm trees on an island

OS Quest Trail Log #64: Vacation Edition

Picture of palm trees on an islandAs October begins so does my two week break from my day job. Long before the word “stay-cation” became popular, my idea of a perfect vacation was one with no plans or clocks. That’s what my vacation will be this year. If the weathers good I’ll get out and about, otherwise I should get some quality time with computers and gadgets.  Thehe last trail log was only a couple weeks ago but, I’m hoping to get back to the monthly frequency with this one.

Kindle Fire

Of all the recent gadget news and rumors, the Kindle Fire is the one I’m more interested in. So interested I already placed my pre-order. There’s still some who are comparing Amazon’s tablet to other low cost tablets based on the specs. The specs are irrelevant for it’s success. Most competitors try to come up with specs that match the iPad when placed on a checklist. Amazon buries the tech specs and leads with what the Kindle can be used for:

a beautiful full color Kindle for movies, TV shows, music, books, magazines, apps, games, web browsing and more, for only $199

Unlike other tablet manufacturers they built the content first and then built the tablet. Whether they planned it that way or stumbled into it doesn’t really matter. It appears that most (all?) of that content will be coming from Amazon. The more technically inclined may root the device or seek out web based content but for most people it will be what Kindle provides out of the box. The Kindle is the first non-iPad tablet that has an answer to the question “why should I buy this instead of an iPad?”.

As for me, I’m already part of the Amazon ecosystem so this is a natural extension. I have to give it to Amazon, they make it easy to buy from them and they make me pay for the privilege.  I pay for a yearly Amazon Prime subscription for free shipping (the video is a relatively new addition) and now I’ll pay for a tablet to consume content and then buy more.

While $200 isn’t small change, it was low enough to get me on board. I’ve been spending more time in Amazon Video and it can’t be played on my iPad so this will help. I am concerned this is a rush to market for the holiday season along with being a Gen 1 device. I suspect Kindle Fire 2 will be significantly different even if the rumors of Amazon trying to buy WebOS aren’t true. (Or are true and don’t lead to a deal. Although I would be surprised if Amazon moved off Android since they already have the apps.

SpiderOak – Syncing Is Hard

I’ve been using, and liking, SpiderOak for my backups. I use it on my Windows Home Server 2011 and on my Mac & Windows PCs. I had been using it to sync files, mainly between some WHS folders and my Macbook Air so that files would be with me on the road. It wasn’t long before I had my first significant problem with it.

I’d been using it to sync my Bento database. I made significant changes the other night on my Macbook Air and when I went back to it the next morning all the changes were gone. Best I could tell the sync had overwritten the files from another machine, basically rolling back the file. Since I hadn’t used Bento on any other machine I knew it wasn’t a file with old data getting updated. Luckily I never really trust any sync, having been burned numerous times, so I had backed up the database after all the changes and could just restore it.

So SpiderOak is out as my sync solution. I’m using ChronoSync but that does require me to make sure the latest file is on my laptop before I go mobile. I’m still liking SpiderOak as a backup solution.

Software Updates

While there have been plenty of software updates, only one seems worth mentioning.

VMWare Fusion was upgraded to version 4. Since I recently purchased Fusion 3 it was a free upgrade for me. I try to avoid running Windows programs on my Macs so I’ve never been interested in features such as Unity or even game performance. Based simply on the time the VM runs, my primary usage is to run a virtual machine so that I can VM into work and keep everything work related separate from personal stuff.  Add a second VM for Windows 7 testing and another as a test web server and that’s about all I use. The point being, my needs are minimal and to keep that in mind when I say I like Fusion and it performs well for me.

The competition between VMware and Parallels (along with VirtualBox) seems good for us as the crown of “best” seems to switch between Parallels and VMware on a regular basis and prices stay relatively low. I’m on VMware because that was the least expensive choice at the time (VirtualBox on the Mac was causing be problems.)

Website Changes?

I was recently able to register the domain osquest.com when it dropped. It makes things a little easier to drop the “the” and not have to tell people to include it when I mention the name. I’m still deciding exactly how I want to implement it. Swapping the URL is a pain (having to switch internal links and do redirections) with little gain. It would be easier to just redirect the new URL to the old one. On the other hand this may be a good opportunity for a major redesign since I can move stuff to the new URL when ready. This may be a good vacation project.

Project List

Prior to my vacation I put together a list of things I wanted to work on. Even with the days off I don’t expect to get through everything on list list but I’ll list it all here just to see how bad I do. So in no particular order…

  • The previously mentioned website redesign. Off-hand I’m guessing this won’t see much progress during my vacation, at least not enough to go public with.
  • pfSense router – I’m happy with Untangle as both a router and UTM but I’m still interested in pfSense as a router. If nothing else it has more bells and whistles on the router side. I hadn’t used it because it didn’t work with my DSL. I no longer have that DSL line (it was a backup and to handle traffic when I went over my Comcast quota). Plus, there’s a new version of pfSense out.
  • Ubuntu Home Server – I’m happy with Windows Home Server 2011 but I’d like to get a Ubuntu server running as a home server too. I don’t think it will replace the WHS, but it may be fun to experiment with.

I’ll see how much progress I make on these. Between other shiny things catching my attention and vacation I’ll have to pick a choose. We’ll see how much progress there’s been with the next trail log.

Optimizing A Windows Vista Virtual Machine

The Team Fusion blog has an article about optimizing Vista on VMware Fusion 2. Since it’s from the VMware folks it’s titled as VMware specific, but it’s appropriate for any Vista virtual machine.

Suggestions include:

  • Disable System Restore
  • Disable Screen Saver
  • Optimize Power Management for Virtual Machine
  • Disable Windows Sidebar
  • Disable Remote Management
  • Run Windows Disk Defragmentation Utilities
  • OPTIONAL: Change to Classic UI

Disabling system restore is something I hadn’t considered although I do severely limit the disk space it’s given. I like the option of bein able to roll back patches and update, although vm snaptshots and backups would work too.

My Windows Vista vm on my MacBook is running under VMware Fusion and has 728MB of memory allocated to it, with 2GB of RAM on the MacBook. Performance is acceptable but I’m a light Vista users on the MacBook.

On my iMac I’ve got 1GB out of 3GB allocated to Vista. While I tend to run a little more software I wouldn’t say I stress the system.

OpenSUSE Not On VMware Fusion

Last night I decided to see how OpenSUSE installed on VMware Fusion. I figured it would be a good way to kill a couple hours while watching TV. No such luck. I managed to make it all the way through the install but it died in the final phase where it does the hardware scan. Restarting the VM in Failsafe mode allowed me to resume the installation but with the same result.

I’m not the only one who’s encountered the problem and this article indicates it’s a problem with the X-Windows software and the version 7.3 should fix the problem.

On the other hand, there’s an OpenSUSE appliances available for download and others have indicated it installs and runs successfully.

But at this point the night was over and I lost interest in getting OpenSUSE running. I may go back to it in the future. Next time I’ll be sure to update x-windows during the installation.

For the record, I was at the latest everything. VMware Fusion 1.1.1, running on OS X 10.5.2 and using an OpenSUSE 10.3 (64-bit) DVD image that I just downloaded.

Windows Vista Home Premium

While Vista isn’t new on the Quest I did add a new flavor, Windows Vista Home Premium. At $100 less than Vista Ultimate it seems to be the version to get. There are only a things Ultimate provides over Home Premium including Windows Complete Backup & Restore, Windows Fax and Scan, and Bitlocker disk encryption. I don’t care about any of those but there is one thing that Windows Vista Home Premium won’t give me, and that’s Remote Access through Windows Home Server. I’m installing this in a virtual machine on my MacBook so remote access to it through WHS is not something I need in this particular case. I’m more likely to use this as the remote PC than want to remote into it.  Microsoft should add Remote Access support to Vista Home Premium since it seems to be targeted at the same people as Windows Home Server – those with lots of audio and video media.

Installation on VMware Fusion 1.1.1

I used the New Virtual Machine Wizard to create the VM. The wizard is very straight-forward so I won’t bother to include screen shots of every step. I selected the following options (listed in the order they’re asked for in the wizard):

  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows
  • Version: Windows Vista
  • Name and Location – Save As: Vista Home Premium
  • Name and Location – Where: A directory I have on an external USB drive for VMs
  • Disk Size: 30GB
    I kept the default settings where disk space is only allocated when needed, so 30GB is a ceiling.
  • Easy Install used
    I entered an ID and password to be created. Since I use Windows Home Server this is the same ID/password created on the home server and the other Windows VMs I use. I also enter the product key. I also keep the default of making my Mac home folder accessible from the VM as read-only.

I let the virtual machine start immediately and install from DVD. Twenty minutes later I’m presented with the logon screen. Once I logon the VMware Tools install kicks off automatically. When they’re done the virtual machine reboots.

Post Install Setup & Configuration

Once the VM reboots and I logon the first thing to do is fix the sound driver. As the Fusion Release Notes indicate the sound driver needs to be updated:

When you install Microsoft Vista 32-bit edition in a VMware Fusion virtual machine, there is no sound output. To correct this problem, run Windows Update to update the sound driver from within Vista.

To update the sound driver in a VMware Fusion virtual machine running Windows Vista 32-bit edition:
1. In the virtual machine, from the Windows start menu, right-click Computer and select Properties.
2. In the left pane, under Tasks, select Device Manager.
3. When prompted for your permission to continue, click Continue. Windows displays the Device Manager.
4. Right-click the Multimedia Sound Adapter with a warning symbol (indicating that there is no driver) and select Update Driver Software.
5. At the prompt How do you want to search for driver software?, select Search automatically for updated driver software. Windows finds and installs the appropriate driver for your virtual sound card.
6. When you are prompted to restart, click Restart Now.
Sound should now work in your Microsoft Vista 32-bit virtual machine.

So I update the driver, reboot and test the sound which works fine.

The VMware Easy Install creates it’s own PC name (which is random so meaningless) and uses “Workgroup” as the workgroup. I change the PC name to match my naming convention and change the Workgroup to my home workgroup. Which needs another reboot.

Then it’s time to run Windows Update to get all the security patches so I go into Windows Update and tell it to check for updates. The first update I get is an update to Windows Update itself. Once that’s installed I check for updates again and there’s 45 updates totaling 105.3MB. (It really is time for SP1) I install those updates and there’s another reboot. I then configure Windows Update to download updates when they’re available but not install them.

I try to connect to my Windows Home Server software share so I can install the connector software but I can’t. I’m told “File Sharing & Discovery” is off so I say to turn it one. Then I’m asked if I want to change my network type to “Private” which is recommended if I’m at home or work, rather than turning File Sharing on for a public network. I click the selection to make the switch. I still can’t connect to the Share.

The VM is configured to use NAT networking with the host. I shut down the VM, change this to bridged in the virtual machine network properties (so the VM gets it’s own IP address), and restart the VM. Now I can connect to the share and install the Windows Home Server connector software. I do a backup once the connector software is installed. Also, changing the network to Bridged cause Vista Home Premium to see this as a new network so I made it a Private Network by selecting “Home Network” when prompted.

I haven’t done the activation yet. I’ll wait the 3 days allowed in case I find I need to re-install the VM.

Additional Software

I already installed the WHS connector software. Now it’s time to install AntiVirus software. I already use free versions of Avast and AVG on other VMs so I wanted to try something different on this one. I decided to go with Avira AntiVirus PersonalEdition Classic which is free for personal (non-commercial) use.I picked it mainly because I never used it before and wanted to see what it was like. Their full version (the one you pay for) rates high for virus detection.

Lastly, I use Windows Live Writer for creating blog posts and I find a couple other Windows Live offerings intriguing although I haven’t actually used them. So I run the Windows Live Installer and select the following installs:

  • Windows Live Sign-In Assistant
  • Windows Live Mail
  • Windows Live Photo Gallery
  • Windows Live Writer

Once these installs finish my Windows Vista Home Premium virtual machine is complete.

Summary

The virtual machine currently takes 11.8GB on disk although that can grow to 30GB if I add software and data. The installation took me about 3 hours although I wasn’t sitting there immediately responding to every prompt. The install probably would have been faster if I installed from a DVD image rather that a physical DVD and the time to download that 105MB of updates will vary depending on the Internet connection.

The VMware Easy Setup feature simplifies the setup even if it doesn’t get things exactly the way I want them. Changing the PC name and workgroup is a simple task.

Fedora 8 on VMware Fusion

Fedora8_BW122 Along with Ubuntu and Mandriva I recently installed a Fedora 8 virtual machine under VMware Fusion. I’m installing Fedora 8 on VMware Fusion 1.1 which is running on my 13″ MacBook.

The VMware Wizard runs just as it did for Ubuntu and Mandriva so you can see the screen shots in those posts. The only difference was in the choice of guest OS. I picked Redhat as the Linux to install since Fedora itself wasn’t a choice.

Once the Fedora 8 ISO image I was using booted the Fedora install kicked off. Unlike my previous installs I chose to install all the available options, which were: Office & Productivity, Software Development, and Web Server. The screen shots from the Fedora install are below. Click the thumbnail for the full size image.

FedoraInstall-1 FedoraInstall-2 FedoraInstall-3 FedoraInstall-4 FedoraInstall-5 FedoraInstall-6 FedoraInstall-7 FedoraInstall-8 FedoraInstall-8a FedoraInstall-9 FedoraInstall-10 FedoraInstall-11 FedoraInstall-12 FedoraInstall-13 FedoraInstall-14 FedoraInstall-15 FedoraInstall-16

Then I installed the VMware tools from the RPM package which generated a security warning,

FedoraInstall-17 FedoraInstall-18

After installing the software from the RPM package it’s necessary to configure the VMware Tools by running vmware-config-tools.pl as root. Like Mandriva, the configuration didn’t recognize the kernel. But this time when I said I wanted to build the kernel it let me. No doubt because I had installed the software development tools. When answering the questions in the script I accepted all the defaults and didn’t have a problem. At the end of the config script there are instructions on how to restart networking. The following commands need to be run from terminal before the network could be used:

/etc/init.d/network stop

rmmod pcnet32

rmmod vmxnet

modprobe vmxnet

/etc/init.d/network start

After this everything worked fine and the VMware tools could be invoked with the command /usr/bin/vmware-toolbox from terminal. Some options, such as shrinking a disk are only available when run a root.