Working with Virtual operating systems (Part III)
In the last two parts ( Working with Virtual operating systems (Part II) & Working with Virtual operating systems ) of the article we have seen about creating and configuring a virtual machine. In this part we will look into some of the miscellaneous options in VMware Workstation.
Workstation allows the user to take screenshot of the VM running. You can take a screenshot when the virtual machine is powered on. (Donít confuse screenshot with snapshot, both are different in VMware)
The shortcut key is ctrl+alt+prntscrn. After taking the screenshot it will ask for a location to save it. The formats supported are BMP (Bitmap) and PNG (Portable Network Graphics). If you donít save the screenshot it will reside in the hostís clipboard. To change this option goto Edit->Preferences or press Ctrl+p to show the preferences window. In the workspace tab there will be an option Save screenshots to. Select the options you need. The clipboard option when checked saves the screenshot temporarily in the hostís clipboard. The File option when checked saves the screenshot as a file. In that there are two options, setting desktop as the default location and ask for location.
Snapshot is similar to a restore point. Snapshot manager maintains the snapshots of the virtual machine. Press Ctrl+M to see the snapshot manager or select it from the menu VM-> Snapshot-> Snapshot manager. This is how snapshot manager looks like.
Currently the VM donít have any snapshots. Lets take a snapshot. Click the Take Snapshot button in the above screen. A dialog box will appear and ask you to enter the name and description for the snapshot. You can enter your own description. It is better to note the current date and time in the description box for the ease of restoring the VM.
This is the screenshot of the VM while taking the snapshot.
Now I am going to change all its backgrounds, themes, passwords etc.
The screenshot after making changes.
Now we will see how the snapshot works. Goto Snapshot Manager. This is how it will look like.
When you click the snapshotís name the screenshot of the previous settings will be shown as thumbnail. You can delete the snapshot if you donít need it. To revert to the snapshot just click Go to. The snapshot manager reverts exactly to the same settings before taking the snapshot. Just try it. It will help while using Windows virtual machines, because windows crash often.
You can suspend the VM while running. Just like pressing a pause button while hearing music. It saves the current state of the machine and whenever you start the machine it restores it. You can even shutdown the host operating system with a suspended guest OS. When the VM is suspended it will show a screenshot of the OS.
VMware gives you the option of recording the screen as a video file. It is a powerful option. You can even record a video on how to install an OS right from the beginning. The capture movie option is enabled as soon as the VM is powered on. You may think that, there is lot of screen capturing programs with wide range of options. Yes there are. But if you ever tried to record the screen using a screen capturing program you would have come across some difficulties. Some time it stuck in the middle, the mouse pointer will shake etc etc. But the capture movie option is very good in handling the recording. It records smoothly.
It has three different qualities of recording. High, medium and low. The default and only format is AVI. It also has an option Omit frames in which nothing occurs. When this option is enabled the program wonít record the screen when nothing is happening. Wow, what an option!
When you start the recording an icon will be shown in the status bar.
When you want to end the recording jus click the icon and select Stop Movie capture.
We have seen how to connect the physical hard disk to the Virtual machine in the last part of the article. If you donít want to use the whole physical disk you can share selected folders, in which you want to work in the guest OS. To enable sharing goto the settings of that VM. Select Shared Folders in the options tab. In the right pane options of that will be shown. Select Always enabled. Click Add to add the folders you want to share. Add shared folder wizard comes up. Click next to select the host path (i.e the folderís location in the host OS). The Name text field enables you to set custom names for the shared folders inside the guest OS. After selecting the folder click next. In the additional attributes page select Read- only option to make the share read-only. Click finish to end the wizard. Click ok in the settings to close it. Removing the share is easier. Instead of clicking Add option click Ďremoveí after selecting the shared folder which you want to remove.
Where can I view the shared folders?
If the guest OS is windows, the shared folder can be seen under the same drive letter of the host OS.
If the guest OS is Linux, navigate the file browser to mnt/hgfs/ . You can view the shared folders.
You can add or remove the shared folders even when the Guest OS is powered ON.
Enhanced virtual keyboard option gives full control over the guest OS without disturbing the host OS. You can even press Ctrl+Alt+Del. The host OS will not detect this and opens the task manager (Assuming the host OS is windows). This virtual keyboard also protects the user from key logging activity. If you are using virtual keyboard the key logger cannot record the activity. As like many other virtual keyboards, you canít actually see a keyboard like window. But it works in the background.
VMware player is a tool that comes with VMware workstation. It simply runs the Virtual Machine. You canít edit any settings or add any devices to the VM. It helps greatly when you are using the VM in a different host. Create the VM, configure it, add the required devices. Copy the whole folder with the configuration file (with extension .vmx) to any other system (Make sure the new system is compatible). Install VMware player (it is a freeware). Run the VM with ease.
In this article we discussed some of the miscellaneous options in VMware. These are the options that will help you a lot in mastering the basics of VMware. VMware is a powerful tool. The more you dig, the more you learn. Try out the other available options. Happy learning!
Re: Working with Virtual operating systems (Part III)
Nomination this Article for Article of the month - May 2009
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