Create a New Virtual Machine With VMware's Fusion

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VMware’s Fusion lets you run an almost unlimited number of operating systems concurrently with OS X. Before you can install and run a guest OS, you must first create a virtual machine, which is a container that holds the guest OS and allows it to run.

Get Ready to Create a New Virtual Machine With Fusion

What You Will Need:

  • VMware’s Fusion v1.1 or later.
  • Available hard drive space. The amount of free hard drive space you'll need depends on the OS you plan to install. Some Linux installations will work fine with just 8 GB of available space, while Windows Vista works better with at least 20 GB of space.
  • An Intel-based Mac. Any Intel-based Mac, which includes most models from January 2006 on.
  • About an hour of free time. The amount of time the installation will take depends on the OS you plan to install, and the type of Mac you're installing it on.

Have everything you need? Let's get started.

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Create a New Virtual Machine With VMware's Fusion

After you launch Fusion, go to the Virtual Machine Library. This is where you create new virtual machines, as well as adjust settings for existing virtual machines.

Create a New VM

  1. Launch Fusion by double-clicking its icon in the Dock, or by double-clicking the Fusion application, usually located at /Applications/VMware Fusion.
  2. Access the Virtual Machine Library window. By default, this window should be front and center when you launch Fusion. If it isn't, you can access it by selecting Virtual Machine Library from the Windows menu.
  3. Click the New button in the Virtual Machine Library window.
  4. The Virtual Machine Assistant will launch, displaying a short introduction to creating a virtual machine.
  5. Click the Continue button in the Virtual Machine Assistant window.
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Select an Operating System for Your New Virtual Machine

Select the operating system you want to run on your new virtual machine. You have a wide range of operating systems to choose from, including Windows, Linux, NetWare, and Sun Solaris, as well as a wide range of operating system versions. This guide assumes that you plan to install Windows Vista, but the instructions will work for any OS.

Select an Operating System

  1. Use the drop-down menu to select an operating system. The choices are:
    1. Microsoft Windows
    2. Linux
    3. Novell NetWare
    4. Sun Solaris
    5. Other
  2. Select Microsoft Windows from the drop-down menu.
  3. Select Vista as the version of Windows to install on your new virtual machine.
  4. Click the Continue button.
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Select a Name and Location for Your New Virtual Machine

It's time to select a storage location for your new virtual machine. By default, Fusion uses your Home directory (~/vmware) as the preferred location for virtual machines, but you can store them anywhere you like, such as on a specific partition or on a hard drive dedicated to virtual machines.

Name That Virtual Machine

  1. Enter a name for your new virtual machine in the Save as: field.
  2. Select a storage location by using the drop-down menu, either The current default location or Other.
    1. The current default location. This will either be the last location you selected to store a virtual machine (if you have previously created one), or the default location of ~/vmware.
    2. Other. Use this option to select a new location using a standard Mac Finder window.
  3. Make your selection. For this guide, we'll accept the default location, which is the vmware folder in your Home directory.
  4. Click the Continue button.
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Select Virtual Hard Disk Options

Specify your preferences for the virtual hard disk that Fusion will create for your virtual machine.

Virtual Hard Disk Options

  1. Specify the disk size. Fusion will display a suggested size that's based on the OS you chose earlier. For Windows Vista, 20 GB is a good choice.
  2. Click the Advanced Disk Options disclosure triangle.
  3. Place a checkmark next to any of the advanced disk options you would like to use.
    1. Allocate all disk space now. Fusion uses a dynamically expanding virtual drive. This option starts with a small drive that can expand, as needed, up to the disk size you specified above. If you prefer, you can choose to create the full virtual disk now, for slightly better performance. The tradeoff is that you're giving up space that could be used elsewhere until the virtual machine needs it.
    2. Split disk into 2 GB files. This option is primarily used for FAT or UDF drive formats, which don't support large files. Fusion will split your hard drive into multiple sections that FAT and UDF drives can use; each section will be no larger than 2 GB. This option is only necessary for MS-DOS, Windows 3.11, or other older operating systems.
    3. Use an existing virtual disk. This option lets you use a virtual disk that you created earlier. If you select this option, you will need to supply the pathname for the existing virtual disk.
  4. After making your selections, click the Continue button.
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Use the Easy Install Option

Fusion has a Windows Easy Install option that uses the information you supply when you create a virtual machine, along with a few pieces of additional data, to automate a Windows XP or Vista installation.

Because this guide assumes that you're installing Vista, we'll use the Windows Easy Install option. If you don't want to use this option, or you're installing an OS that doesn't support it, you can uncheck it.

Configure Windows Easy Install

  1. Place a checkmark next to Use Easy Install.
  2. Enter a username. This will be the default administrator account for XP or Vista.
  3. Enter a password. Although this field is listed as optional, we highly recommend creating secure passwords for all accounts.
  4. Confirm the password by entering it a second time.
  5. Enter your Windows product key. The dashes in the product key will be entered automatically, so you only need to type the alphanumeric characters.
  6. Your Mac Home directory can be accessible within Windows XP or Vista. Put a checkmark next to this option if you want to be able to access your Home directory from within Windows.
  7. Choose the access rights that you want Windows to have for your Home directory from the following options:
    1. Read only. Your Home directory and its files can only be read, not edited, or deleted. This is a good middle-of-the-road choice. It provides access to files but protects them by not allowing changes to be made from within Windows.
    2. Read and Write. This option allows files and folders in your Home directory to be edited or deleted from within Windows; it also allows you to create new files and folders in the Home directory from within Windows. This is a good choice for individuals who want complete access to their files, and who aren't worried about unauthorized access.
  8. Use the drop-down menu to make your selection.
  9. Click the Continue button.
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Save Your New Virtual Machine and Install Windows Vista

You've finished configuring your new virtual machine with Fusion. You can now install an operating system. If you're ready to install Vista, then follow the instructions below.

Save the Virtual Machine and Install Vista

  1. Place a checkmark next to the Start virtual machine and install operating system now option.
  2. Select the Use operating system installation disk option.
  3. Insert your Vista install CD into your Mac's optical drive.
  4. Wait for the CD to be mounted on your Mac's desktop.
  5. Click the Finish button.

Save the Virtual Machine Without Installing an OS

  1. Remove the checkmark next to the Start virtual machine and install operating system now option.
  2. Click the Finish button.
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