VMWare

SCVMM 2008 R2 Lab

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After nearly two years of use, the VMWare server 2 lab setup that I was using for running test desktop/server virtual machines because mostly unusable because the Win7 VMs would BSOD frequently.  After waiting patiently for VMWare to hopefully release an updated version, I could no longer handle the troubles.  This time, however, I decided to give SCVMM a try.  So far, I really like it for my lab VMs – it’s much faster and certainly more reliable!  Below is my quick setup guide, just enough to get me up and running

  1. Install Windows 2008 R2 (with SP1)
  2. Configure Windows with .NET, PowerShell, WinRM IIS Extensions, IIS, Hyper-V
  3. Apply fix (for what, I don’t remember!) – Set HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System\ LocalAccountTokenFilterPolicy (REG_DWORD) to 1
  4. Install SCVMM 2008 R2 with all defaults
  5. Install the SCVMM console with all defaults
  6. Add host for VMs (which was my external dual hard drive setup for RAID 0)
  7. Created a new VM to ensure this worked
  8. Converted VMDKs (make sure to uninstall VMWare Tools first!!!) to VHDs

Converting my VMDKs was a major hassle.  Even though the functionality is builtin to SCVMM to do the conversion, it just didn’t work for me as the VMs would BSOD on startup.  To make this work, I had to do a 2-part conversion.

  1. VMWare Converter to convert the VMDK from Server 2.x to Server 1.x
  2. StarWind to convert the new VMDK to a VHD
  3. Finally, I was able to successfully add the VHD as a new server in SCVMM
  4. Don’t forget to install “Virtual guest services” for the VM within the console ;-)

Anyhow, happy lab virutalizing :-)

Windows 7 Aero in VMWare Server 2.0.2

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I use the free VMWare Server 2.0.2 to host my virtual machines (our current workstation images) for development and troubleshooting.  We’re in progress of migrating our desktops to Windows 7 with Office 2010, so naturally I have a VM with the image that we are deploying.  Normally this isn’t a problem.  However, I have experienced a few problems with Win7 on VMWare Server 2:

  1. Graphics fail to function after installing VMWare Tools and only shows a blank black screen once Windows starts
  2. The VM hangs when doing some “intense” graphics processing.  What I really mean by this is the VM will lock up if you do anything too quickly…like browsing the Internet.
  3. The fancy Aero graphics does not function (e.g. Windows is running in “basic” graphics mode)

My solutions to these are

  1. When installing the VMWare Tools, do not install the VGA graphics driver
  2. Increase the VM’s video RAM size by adding the below line to the .vmx file (this particular value equals 64 MB)
    svga.vramSize = “64000000”
  3. OK, so I don’t have this one working yet, but I’m getting there :-)  If you know the answer, please share!