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VMWare guest OS does not see plug-and-play PCI card

Posted on 2013-06-05
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Last Modified: 2014-06-09
I have a legacy application that has no installation media running on an ancient Windows 98 PC.
I have managed to virtualize everything including the parallel software dongle.

The software relies on a plug-and-play PCI PCLTA-21 Echelon LonWorks network card. The host is running Windows 7, and see the card just fine. The card was made for Windows 95/98, and Windows 98 sees only an undefined PCI adaptor. There is no .inf file available as a driver (apparently, it completely relies on plug-and-play).

Is there a setting in VMWare that affects plug-and-play behavior? Can I define new hardware, other than the standard list it provides (LPT, Hard drive, usb...)
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Question by:Qordinate
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Expert Comment

by:Miguel Angel Perez Muñoz
ID: 39221728
Plug and play only configures IRQ and memory resources, but driver may be required. Since you see as undefined device, dis device has assigned resources but requires driver to be managed from OS. Have you got any floppy or whatever? maybe your program setup has this drivers.
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LVL 118
ID: 39221825
The VMware Guest Virtual Machine hardware will be different to your existing old legacy hardware.
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Author Comment

by:Qordinate
ID: 39222082
It has a setup utility, but as I said in the post, the device manager requires an .inf file, and there isn't one. The card doesn't include a driver because it says it is plug-and-play. I'm asking if there is a setting in VMWare that allows it to behave the same as the host for plug-and-play.
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LVL 118
ID: 39222226
I'm afraid not.
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Author Comment

by:Qordinate
ID: 39261196
So there is no way to have a VM behave as any motherboard does in respects to plug and play? Every motherboard I put the PNP PCI board into recognizes it immediately - just not the VM.
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Accepted Solution

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 500 total points
ID: 39261205
Unfortunately no, The VMware Virtual Machine is an isolated Virtual Machine, it does not use any of the Host Physical Hardware directly, other than the CPU.

Adding PCI components to the Host is not going to be detected by the Virtual Machine.

There is a special function in VMware vSphere, called VM Direct Path IO, which allows the presentation of a device in a PCI slot, to be "passed through" to the Virtual Machine.

However, this still requries vendors drivers to be available to support the device.

It would seem in later versions of the OS, eg Windows 7, drivers are included in the OS to supported the device.

If using using a VMware vSphere Server (ESXi 5.x) and a server compatible with VM Direct Path IO, it's possible this could be used to supported your Virtual Machine with the special
PCI PCLTA-21 Echelon LonWorks network card.
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