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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First thoughts on Windows 8

I wasn’t particularly keen on Windows 8 myself. We’d just helped W’s dad switch Windows 8 from Chinese to English, which turned out to be difficult if you can’t read Chinese and don’t understand the various messages, but we managed to do it. The interface was different, but didn’t seem to offer a compelling reason to upgrade.

Naturally, this meant that I had to go ahead and do it. I figured that most people on Windows 7 would be hesitant about the upgrade, or even griping about the radical changes in the user interface. People buying new computers would be on Windows 8, and newcomers might even assume that the Windows 8 interface was simply the way to do it. Someday I might be more conservative about technology, but I haven’t reached that day yet. I can take tech risks (especially since I’ve got backups!), and it’s better for me to figure things out on my own time than to have to switch over when the circumstances require it.

I’m often in tablet PC mode, so I was curious about whether the new interface really would be more touch-friendly. I was also curious about the “Sharing” feature, which promised to be similar to the inter-app communication that I like so much in Android.

So far, Windows 8 is actually not that bad. I’d switched to using Launchy to start applications a long time ago, so I hardly used the Start menu. I didn’t miss it. I knew about the Charms bar and how to bring it up with a keyboard shortcut. I read through the other keyboard shortcuts and started finding my way around. I customized my lock screen, which my fingerprint lets me bypass.

I’m slightly disappointed that sharing isn’t supported for desktop applications, but oh well. It makes sense that the traditional apps haven’t been yet been rebuilt to take advantage of Windows 8’s new features.

We’ll see what new capabilities this might open up. Will I find apps that work together with my workflow? New tools that don’t yet support Windows 7?

I still miss the configurability of my Linux environment, but it’s easier to recreate the aspects I like from Linux in a Windows host than it is to get the drawing programs and automation programs I like working under Linux. Oh well. If I shift my business ideas towards development, I may dual-boot to Linux and have my lovely Emacs development/mail setup again. =)