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  • Rough guide to getting an existing Windows XP partition to boot as a VMWare guest under Linux
  • Two screens without rebooting, with xrandr

Rough guide to getting an existing Windows XP partition to boot as a VMWare guest under Linux

Because I might have to do this again someday…

  1. Install VMWare Server. Use the advanced config to create an image that uses your existing hard disk.
  2. Boot Windows (physically). Back up the current hardware profile.
  3. Boot Linux. Download the SCSI drivers from http://www.vmware.com/download/ws/index.html#drivers ..
  4. Change your GRUB config so that it doesn’t time out. You do _not_ want to accidentally boot your Linux partition while inside Linux.
  5. Start VMWare with your Windows image. Use the recovery console. Mount the SCSI drivers FLP as a floppy and copy the files to c:\windows\system32\drivers .
  6. Boot Windows physically. Use the Control Panel – Add New Hardware dialog to add the VMWare SCSI driver. It might also be a good idea to disable ACPI for the computer
  7. Boot to Linux. Use VMWare to load the Windows image.

The SATA drive complicated things a bit, but I eventually got stuff sorted out. Yay! Next step: Wonder if seamless is worth the trouble…

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Two screens without rebooting, with xrandr

Dual screens can improve your productivity by up to 50%. It’s one of the reasons why I like working at home – I can hook the desktop’s monitor up to my laptop for even more coding goodness. I could hook the Cintiq up if I ran X across a network connection, but three screens would just spoil me rotten. ;)

I used to switch my xorg.conf manually depending on whether I wanted a dual-screen or single-screen setup, but that required closing all my applications and restarting X. I wondered if there was a better way to do it. I came across Ubuntu Forums: Switch view modes (twinview) without leaving/reconfiguring X?, which led me to HOWTO: YES! There IS an easy way of trying out Xorg.conf without reloading X. The main post wasn’t helpful, but the segment “HOWTO: Make use of RandR 1.2 – or the ability to stick with one X configuration and dynamically add or remove screens and change display setups dynamically” was. I checked if xrandr was on my system, and it was. I removed the unnecessary lines from my xorg.conf and added the lines about SubSection “Display”… and it worked. Hooray!

For future reference, here’s the command I used to set up my dual-screen display:

xrandr --output LVDS --right-of VGA-0   

This rocks.