NetBSD Documentation: Running VMWare on NetBSD

The information below was inspired by installing vmware 2.04 on NetBSD-1.6 and NetBSD-1.6I.

Pitfalls in the installation

Pitfalls in the installation

Raw disks don't work!

This means that if you are in a situation that you want/need a dual boot system you'll need a 'plainDisk'. Since vmware sometimes chokes on a disk that contains a NetBSD disklabel, the best way to setup a Plaindisk configuration is to configure a virtual disk in the configuration wizard. The size does not matter since you can remove the virtual disk afterwards. When the wizard is finished, change the 'deviceType' of the disk in the .cfg file to 'plainDisk'. Now you have to correctly fill in the geometry of the 'plainDisk'. The filename is the 'fileName' field in the disk description (usually: ide0:0.fileName). The contents of that file should look something like this:

DRIVETYPE      ide
CYLINDERS    16384
HEADS           16
SECTORS         63
ACCESS "/root/vmware/win2000/disk.mbr" 0 63
ACCESS "/dev/rwd0e" 63 8193087
ACCESS "/dev/rwd0f" 8193213 4176837

The disk.mbr is a copy of the master boot record. You can create it by:

dd if=/dev/rwd0d of=disk.mbr count=63

Now that the mbr is a fake anyway, it is best to rip out all partitions that vmware should not know about. They sometimes give you mysterious crashes. The easiest way to accomplish this is:

vnconfig vnd0 disk.mbr 512/63/1/1
fdisk -u vnd0
vnconfig -u vnd0

You might also like the '-a' and '-i' options of fdisk, boot selectors are annoying when there is only one actual choice left...

To determine the other components of the plain disk, you'll need fdisk too. The first numeric field is the offset, the second one the size. You can directly take them from the fdisk table.

Hardware profiles

Check out the vmware documentation on Setting Up Hardware Profiles in Virtual Machines This might save you some work in re-installing drivers for the real hardware afterwards. It's not fatal, just very annoying.

Vmware segfaults and other mysterious errors

For w2000 and XP, check out the part on ACPI You will get lots of weird crashes (including vmware/sig11) when this is wrong.

Bridged networking

If your w2000 needs all kinds of networks drives and such, you really need bridged networking. NAT will just no be good enough for the job. Nice thing is that this that this works with NetBSD, although not in the most obvious way.

Start with configuring your virtual machine with 'HostOnly' networking. Now, setup a bridge like:

ifconfig bridge0 create
brconfig bridge0 add <your main interface> add vmnet1 up

I think you'll also need to enable packet forwarding by adding:


to /etc/sysctl.conf.

Linux realtime clock (rtc) support

The Linux RTC can be emulated using the linuxrtc option. Please be aware that this option makes your CPU 0% idle. It is only needed for Windows 9x for smooth rendering of for example menus. The Linux RTC can be emulated by adding linuxrtc=YES to the /etc/rc.conf file.

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