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VMware Workstation 4.5 an App-Making Machine

Creating a virtual machine is simple. A wizard presents "radio button" options for Windows 3.1+, Longhorn, Linux and Novell guest OSs. VMware even includes an MS-DOS option, but beware: If you choose it, you won't be able to use the handy VMware Tools that offer enhancements, such as graphical support and time synchronization between virtual machine and host.

I installed Linux Red Hat 9, Mandrake Linux 10, FreeBSD, Windows Professional 2000, Windows Advanced Server 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 as guest OSs in individual VMs. Next, I configured a virtual disk file with 4 GB of disk space for each of the VMs.

If you don't allocate the disk space up front, VMware will resize the file dynamically as the OS grows with new applications. That's not a good thing, as dynamic allocation reduces overall VM performance, so do the allocating yourself. You can always add virtual disks for each of your guests as needed.

VMware gives you three options for connecting guest OSs to a network: bridged, NAT (network address translation) and host-only. Bridged networking provides direct access to an external Ethernet network, but the guest will need an IP address separate from the host's. VMware bridges or maps a virtual network onto an existing physical network adapter.

If you don't have extra IP addresses for guests, you can use NAT to gain access to the external network using the host's IP address. However, if you don't need access to an external network, or if you want to maintain a secure environment, a host-only network will suffice.

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