Anyone have any familiarity with VMWare?

DeannaRV used Ask the Experts™
I keep hearing about this program called VMWare, and since I need to run an old DOS application in my line of work, I thought perhaps I should look into it more.  I don't, however, want to pay $400 for a program that causes constant crashing or XP headaches.

I like the idea of being to run Win98 and XP at the same time, without having to create a dual-boot system.  But, my question is, does it really work??

Thanks in advance for all comments, links, praise, criticisms, etc.

Deanna   ;-)
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yup, it works, I've used it several times to test out prospective OSs or certain things with regedit etc prior to trying it on a live machine...

Hi DeannaRV,
Its a great program but you need a pretty decent system to run it efficently. cause it basicly splits your resources for the generic system you set up. Least thats what I have gotten from my experiences from it..

also used it to set up a test win 2k3 server environment complete with active directory and win 2k clients...
you need to have a hefty amount of ram to use it properly, as the guest OSs use that but other than that I would highly recommend it...
Assuming you have install media, you can use any OS with it...
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I'm running XP on a 2 gHz P4 system with 512 MB RAM.  I'm assuming that's what you mean by "hefty" ... but if not, please advise!

So you think it's worth the 400 bucks?  I can't seem to get anyone to talk about price, for some reason!  Is there a "lite" version out there that I don't know about?

I'm not aware of a lite version but I dare say there might be, never looked, I got a full version from work.

Like I said above memory is the key, but as you'll be using it to emulate a DOS environment, you ain't gonna be using a shedload of RAM...

You might want to see if they have a trial code or something so you can give it a shot and see if it does what you need before paying.. may have a 30 day trial code or something..

Hi D,

Have been using VMWare workstation for nearly two years now, since it was recommended to me on an MCSE training course.  Use it for some development work, but mostly for setting up lab networks.

On a AMD Ath XP 1800, 1GB RAM I typically run two or three virtual machines as servers.  I can then connect across the LAN to them from a number of clients.

You can allocate how much system RAM is devoted to each virtual machine that you configure.  You can happily have XP installe don your PC and then set up a Windows 98 Virtual machine that will only want 64MB RAM - no problem.  Both will be able to access the various network resources that you have available.

It'll run all mainstream OSs including Windows 3.1 and MS Dos 6.0, as well as various flavours of Linux.

You can download the installation package and get an evaluation serial number that will allow you to run it for thirty days.  Give it a try and see what you think.  It's invaluable for any IT systems professionalwho wants a lab environment but who can't cough up the cash for a selection of real servers.  

Also useful for testing software without crashing your main system.  You can set up a virtual machine which then exists as a set of files in a directory.  Make a copy of these files, run up your virtual machine and start testing your new software.  If the new software stuffs the machine simply restore the copy you made of the original files and try something else.....  Great.

Have fun...

I like Microsoft Virtual PC if you are running XP, it runs better than VMware.

If you just want to run DOS programs, look into DosBox as it is free:

I was able to run Windows 98SE using Bochs but it runs very slow, Bochs is also free:

I hope that these alternatives may be able to help you out if you cannot afford the $400 VMWare price.

VMWare is a take off on the Mainframe OS called VM...
Basically it splits up your machine and lets individual instances of different OS's run simultanneously and prevents one OS from affecting another.

BTW.. can you just right click on the application icon... select properties... then under the compatibility tab run in win95 mode... see if that lets it work...

VMWare is extremily usefull when you have a large testing enviroment, we were looking into purchasing IBM Blade server for here at work to cut down the space we have for our servers since we have over 30 Compaq Proliant server, i was very amezed by the things you could do with vmware, it sure helpded us on space problem and locations of servers, as far as reliability and performance i give it 9/10 (not to including the price tag) that was a little extreme, but we all pay for improvements. so bottom line, i would get it and try it for yourself you will not be disapointed, but like everyone else said, make sure you have the hardware to back you up, you need quite a bit of juice to have it running smooth, then again it depends on your test enviroment.

Like the other guys here, I have used VMWare to access multiple O/S's on a single W2K box. It's a great tool for examining different O/S's and testing multiple scenarios. I used to use it whilst I was a Software Tester, and regularly used to have 2 to 3 operating systems running at once (perhaps a W2K Server, NT4 Server and W98) - and all this from a humble 1GHz machine with 512MB RAM. The newer versions have improved greatly in since I started using it. Initially you were very contrained on the size of HDD you could assign your "virtual machine" - I don't believe it's a problem now.

VM Ware is nice and easy to use too - simply specify the type of Virtual Machine you wish to create (e.g. WinXp) and it'll then startup in a Windowed environment - all you do then is stick your Windows XP CD and install it like you would on a physical machine. Once you've got everything installed you then have your very own VMDK (virtual machine) which you can go back to time and time again.

You can even use VMWare's in built ability to use the image as read only - i.e. you boot up the image, play around and make changes and then close the O/S without actually applying changes to you virtual machine - great for those "what would happen if I type format c:\?" moments.

One thing I would say though is that you are going to need a lot of hard disk space in your machine. You could perhaps consider using removable hard drives. When I used VMWare I had 3 removable HDD (around 60GB a piece) each containing around 10 different images (i.e. all my combinations of OS & Apps - W2k Eng, W2K FR, NT4 JP, W98 DE, etc).

Even though I don't use it at work anymore I still use it to test different platforms - what better way to get to learn Linux than to create a virtual machine - that way you don't commit yourself to anything :-)

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