I decided to move from mainly using Windows 7 to Ubuntu, and wanted to create a virtual Windows 7 machine inside my Ubuntu installation, for those times I absolutely had to use some Windows program. I chose VMware Player for this job, because there were still some problems with the Oneiric version of VirtualBox, and the Oracle repositories didn’t quite work.
I encountered some problems and will tell you how I solved them, in the hopes that this will help you, the reader.
You will need a VMware account to download the Player from their website. This is rather annoying, but I complied. Since the files are renamed with every version, I will not direct link to any files on their servers, but encourage you to register with a throwaway email account and get the latest version of the software you need. Notice that you will need to select either 32bit or 64bit version of the Player software, depending on your system setup. But you knew this already, didn’t you?
VMware distributes their linux software in *.bundle files, and I downloaded the file VMware-Player-4.0.2-591240.x86_64.bundle. Bundle files are self contained bash installation scripts, and you install the software with the command
sudo sh VMware-Player-4.0.2-591240.x86_64.bundle
Remember to replace the filename with the file you downloaded, of course.
The installation procedure is quite straightforward, so I won’t spend time with that.
After starting the program and creating your first virtual machine, make sure that you again select the right type of virtual machine for the operating system you plan to install. Again, 32bit and 64bit makes a difference, so if you want to install a 64bit Win7, select the x64 option in the wizard.
Avoiding noise and saving time, I just copied the Windows 7 disc image onto a USB drive and let the Player mount the image as a virtual DVD-drive for the virtual machine installation.
Once the Windows installation was finished, it was time to install the VMware Tools on the virtual operating system, to improve the virtual machine performance. VMware Tools allows for fullscreen operation and Unity, where you can launch the virtual machine programs (like Office) straight from the Ubuntu start menu. (Unfortunately Unity was not yet available for 64bit Win7 running inside 64bit Ubuntu Oneiric with Player 4.0.2. Fullscreen mode and other performance increases work fine though.)
Now we get to business. Normally one would simply select “Install VMware Tools” from the virtual machine dropdown menu, but all I got was an error message stating that the file could not be found on server. It also seems that the Tools installation files are not shipped with the Player. The files are not available for direct download from the VMware website either, so this is a bit of a problem.
So here’s what you need to do:
Using your linux computer, download VMware Workstation for linux from the VMware website. This is not free software but you don’t need to pay anything to download it, and you don’t have to install it. We are going to extract the Tools from the Workstation package.
Once the download is finished, go back to terminal and type
sudo vmware-installer –install-bundle VMware-Workstation-Full-8.0.2-591240.x86_64.bundle –extract /tmp/vmware
This allows you to extract the contents of the Workstation installation bundle in /tmp/vmware, without actually installing the software. Browsing the directory you should easily locate the *.iso files which contain the VMware Tools for each guest operating system. Now all you need to do is go to your virtual machine settings and mount the appropriate iso file as a virtual CD-drive on your virtual machine. Complete the installation inside the virtual machine and you’re done!
If you want Windows inside Windows using Player, and you cannot download the Tools from inside the Player, I guess you have to install the evaluation version of Workstation to find the iso files, since the installation exe cannot be extracted quite as easily as in linux.
If you have any questions, post them in the comments below and I will update the article.