Thursday, June 7, 2007

Virtual machine on your flash drive

Today we'll discuss deployment of virtual machine on generic flash drive. Of course, there’s nothing difficult to copy virtual machine files to flash drive and then open .vmx file and start virtual machine, but I’ll try to “do it right way” and automate process of launching machine as much as possible.

Everybody knows about Windows “autorun” feature. That’s exactly what we need! To enable autorun behavior we should place file named autorun.inf to the root directory of flash drive. Let’s find out exact content of this file for our purposes. Starting from simple things: let’s change default drive icon to virtual machine one. All we need is a config.ico file from VMware installation and one line in .inf file. Copy config.ico to the root folder of flash drive and rename it to config.icon (otherwise Windows will suspect graphical media content on flash drive and may be will prompt to view it). Hence the first line of our file is:

[autorun]
icon=config.icon

Second step is a new drive label. I’ll install Ubuntu on my flash drive, so the new file line is:

[autorun]
icon=config.icon
label=Ubuntu


The main thing: how to launch virtual machine? Open command does not work, but shellexecute is a thing we need. Simply type shellexecute=ubuntu.vmx – this will launch installed virtualization software.

Looks pretty good, but there are small problems here:

1) Workstation does’not run virtual machine, it just opens vmx file (-X command line parameters solves this)

2) Player 2.0 does not understand gui.fullScreenAtPowerOn = "TRUE" vmx entry anymore, so we can’t just launch virtual machine in full screen.

I wrote a small application called vmlauncher that detects installed virtualization software and launches it appropriately. It also configures shared folder from the host’s My Documents folder. If no virtualization software detected, vmlauncher offers to install VMware Player (distributive should be placed on the same flash drive in “VMware\VMware Player” folder).

The final autorun.inf content:

[autorun]
icon=config.icon
label=Ubuntu
shellexecute=vmlauncher.exe .\ubuntu\ubuntu.vmx
UseAutoPLAY=1

Plus vmlauncher.exe in the flash drive’s root directory.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Tuning priority for virtual machines

Another one small utility is ready now! Adjust priority for any launched virtual machine and track number of running machines. Program supports VMware Workstation, Player and, I believe, VMware Server (not tested).

Here comes small screenshot:

Download link: http://vmunit.com/vmpriority.zip

Hope this thing will be useful for some of VMware users!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Blogging Experiment

Blogs are very popular now. PCMAG says we are living in the "Year of Virtualization" and I would say it's not only the "Year of Virtualization" now but also the "Blogging Decade" as well. Consequently, when I understood the need of website to promote my small "virtualization utility", the first idea was to use a blog model instead of an ordinary "shareware site". The good thing is users can comment and hence improve every aspect of site functionality: product price, registration questions, product features, bugs and so on.

Please let me know what do you think about this experiment, comment!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

What is Inventory

VMPlayer Inventory is designed to work jointly with VMware Player. Player is awesome free product from VMware but it has a lack of management and configuration capabilities. Inventory offers you virtual machine management capabilities similar to upper level VMware products.


Inventory is a lightweight program hiding in the tray and ready for use in any second.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Inventory Features - 8 reasons to try it

1) Start and stop virtual machines in a convenient way. Just like in VMware Workstation or VMware Server.


2) Edit virtual machine settings. With usual VMware interface.
3) Add, remove and configure virtual hardware.

4) Automatic inventory population. Inventory automatically searches for virtual machines on your computer at startup. If you launch a new virtual machine it will be automativally added to inventory too.
5) Mount virtual machines disks to your host system. The simple way to access data on your virtual machines. Mounting means the new disk drive appears in the host system wich you can use to read/write data as a generic disk drive.

6) Save taskbar space. Inventory will hide unnecessary Players windows if you like. All the Players are easily accessed in any time through the Inventory menu.


7) Tray visualization for launched virtual machines.



8) Problem machine configuration auto-detect and auto-fix. Sometimes virtual machine runs with VMware Server or VMware Workstation, but refuses to start when using VMware Player. Inventory automatically detects possible problems and fixes them.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Download

Target platrform: Windows 2000 and higher
Current version: 1.0.16
Release Date: March 10, 2007

VMPlayer Inventory setup (800 Kb)

Download VMware Player
Don't have a Player yet?

Donwload VMware Player (28 Mb)

Download VMware DiskMount utility
If you wish to use Software to mount virtual machines disks, you should download and install free VMware DiskMount utility:

Download VMware DiskMount utility (9 Mb)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Order Inventory

Home License ($24.95)
Business License ($44.95)

I use ShareIt service to proceed orders.

Trial Usage
You can evaluate full-featured Software for 14 days. Then you have to either buy the Software or remove it from your computer.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Support

If you experience any problem with VMPlayer Inventory, please leave a comment here or send me e-mail to support@vmunit.com