Running Windows 7 desktops on VMware

“Another posting by MTHammer1…”

I thought I’d pass this along.  (Others have already dealt with the issue in the community, but this comparison might provide some additional benefit to someone out there.)


As you would expect, with Windows 7 only at a Release Candidate phase, VMware hasn’t provided a Windows 7 template yet for the creation of new virtual machines.  Consequently, you need to choose something “close”, or, use the option, “Other” for the OS, and choose the architecture (32 or 64 bit)


Selecting “Windows Server 2008, 32bit” template is a nice choice, as everything appears functional with the resulting VM. 

Selecting “Other, 32bit” produces generally the same .vmx VM config file, but with a notable exception.  No usable virtual NIC.  (A maximum CPU percentage is also lacking, but for just the installation of the machine, the missing NIC is significant.) 

Comparing the .vmx files created by the two options, you discover some pros and cons:

1.      Using the “Windows Server 2008” route:

a.      PRO – The template is easy, convenient, fast, fun, and popular with the Google posters.

b.      CON – vCenter reports the OS as being a Server OS – probably generating confusion for us admins.

2.      The “Other” template route:

a.      PRO – Looks “good” in vCenter, and is the best way to keep to distinguish the actual OS from others.  (You get to name it yourself!)

b.      CON – You need to download the .vmx file, add the line “ethernet0.virtualDev = “e1000”, and upload the changed file to vCenter.

WinMerge (or similar) yields the differences in the files for easy viewing.  You can see the (NIC) problematic part of the network section in the two snippets below.


While modifying the .vmx file is a ~10min hassle, I would recommend doing that until VMware turns out a new template. 

(Wisdom says:  “You pay now or you pay later, but you always pay more later.”  The implication and application:  “Confusion-driven mistakes in the server room rarely cost less than 10 minutes.”)