[THIN] Re: ARTICLE: Running VMWare workstation VM's as a service

  • From: "Tony Lyne" <Tony.Lyne@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <thin@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 25 Jun 2004 16:43:39 +1200

Great Article Jim,

Thanks for sending it to the group.

Tony Lyne
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Computerland Central 
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-----Original Message-----
From: Jim Kenzig http://thin.net [mailto:jimkenz@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx] 
Sent: Friday, 25 June 2004 2:31 p.m.
To: thin@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [THIN] ARTICLE: Running VMWare workstation VM's as a service

The June issue of Windows .Net magazine has a good article about how to 
run VMware VM's as a service which may interest some of you:
See

http://www.winnetmag.com/Windows/Article/ArticleID/42607/42607.html





VMware-At Your Service!
Run VMware Workstation VMs as services
Chris Wolf
Feature
InstantDoc #42607
Windows & .NET Magazine

If you're a VMware enthusiast, you've probably on more than one occasion 
wanted to log off from your computer while leaving your virtual machines 
(VMs) running. Or, maybe you've wanted selected VMs to start as soon as 
your system boots so that your host system can log on to a domain 
controller (DC) running inside one of the host machine's VMs. Sound too 
good to be true? That's what I thought. I assumed that logging off of my 
computer and having my VMs remain running was an unattainable dream. But 
I discovered that getting VMs to run as services is possible and very 
easy to configure.

Tools for Service
VMware doesn't natively support running its software as a service, but 
configuring VMware Workstation 4.0 VMs to run as services is almost as 
easy as tying your shoes. All you need to get started are two 
tried-and-true Windows resource kit tools: instsrv.exe and srvany.exe. 
Both tools are available as free downloads. Go to 
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads, enter Windows 2003 Resource Kit 
Tools in the Keywords field, and click Go. Then, click the Windows 
Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools Download button at the Windows Server 
2003 Resource Kit Tools Web page to download rktools.exe-which contains 
the most recent versions of Instsrv and Srvany-and run the executable to 
install the tools on your system.

Note that you can install the Windows 2003 resource kit tools on a 
Windows 2003 or Windows XP system. If your host system runs Windows 2000 
or Windows NT, you can acquire Instsrv and Srvany from the Win2K or NT 
resource kit CD-ROMs or you can install the Windows 2003 resource kit 
tools on an XP system and just copy Instsrv and Srvany from the XP 
system to the %windir% folder on your Win2K or NT host system. The 
Windows 2003 versions of Instsrv and Srvany run on the earlier OSs 
without any problems.

Getting Started
Installing the resource kit tools updates the system path to include the 
resource kit installation folder. Updating the path requires a reboot, 
so be sure to reboot your system after installing the resource kit. 
Alternatively, you can copy Instsrv and Srvany to a folder already in 
the path, such as the folder C:\windows\system32.

With the resource kit files in place, your next task is to determine the 
location of the VMware application's vmware.exe file. I used the default 
settings when installing VMware, so the path I needed was C:\program 
files\vmware\vmware workstation\vmware.exe.

The last bit of information that you need before you configure the new 
service is the path to the configuration file of the VM that you want to 
turn into a service. This file is in the folder in which the VM was 
created and has a .vmx extension. All my VMs are stored on my system's E 
drive, so the path to the .vmx file of the VM that I want to run as a 
service is E:\vms\w2k1\w2k1.vmx. When you have the vmware.exe path and a 
VM's .vmx path information, you're ready to create the service.

Creating the Service
First, decide on a name for the service. I prefer to preface the name of 
the VM with VM_ to form the service name. For example, I would give my 
VM named W2K1 the service name VM_W2K1. After you decide on the service 
name, you can use the following syntax to set up the service:

instsrv <VM service name>
   <Srvany path>
So a sample command might be

instsrv VM_W2K1
   c:\windows\srvany.exe
Now you need to modify the service's parameters by using a registry 
editor and the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Windows Services 
snap-in. In the registry editor, navigate to the 
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\<VM service name> 
subkey. Right-click the VM service name, select New, then click Key. 
Name the new subkey Parameters.

Right-click the Parameters subkey, select New, then click String Value. 
Name the new value Application. Double-click the Application value and 
enter the path to the vmware.exe file on your host system (put the 
pathname in double quotation marks), followed by -x, followed by the 
path to the VM's .vmx file (put the pathname in double quotation marks). 
For my configuration, I used the string value "C:\program 
files\vmware\vmware workstation\vmware.exe" -x "e:\vms\w2k1\w2k1.vmx". 
Close the registry editor.

Open the Windows Services snap-in. Locate and right-click the newly 
created VM service and select Properties. In the service's Properties 
dialog box, click the Log On tab. Ensure that Local System account is 
selected, and select the Allow service to interact with desktop check 
box, which Figure 1 shows. Click OK to close the service Properties 
dialog box. You can now use the Windows Services snap-in to start your 
VM service. By default, the service is configured as automatic, so the 
VM will start when your system starts. Each VM that you configure to run 
as a service will appear in its own window on the desktop. Because the 
VM is running as a service, you'll now be able to log off of your 
system, and the VM will continue to run.

Tuning VMware
The configuration steps you've performed thus far will let any number of 
VMs run as services without problems. However, you might find that some 
built-in VMware features will get in the way. For example, when multiple 
VMs attempt to start and share the same floppy drive, VMware displays a 
message that the floppy drive will start as disconnected on all VMs 
except for the one that was powered on first. You must click OK to 
acknowledge the message before the VM boot processes will continue. To 
prevent the need for manual intervention at boot time, you might want to 
configure the settings of each VM on the host so that their floppy 
drives don't connect at power on.

To configure a VM's floppy drive to start as disconnected, open the VM 
in VMware, double-click the floppy drive icon, then clear the Connect at 
Power On check box and click OK in the floppy drive's Settings dialog 
box. One other method for preventing the floppy drive from connecting at 
power on is to open the VM's .vmx configuration file in Notepad and set 
the floppy0.startConnected parameter to "false".

VMware hints might also interrupt a VM's startup process. You can 
prevent all hints from appearing for any particular VM by opening and 
editing the VM's .vmx file in Notepad. To disable all hints, add the line

hints.hideAll = "true"
to the file, as Figure 2 shows.

Take It to the Max
Now your VMs can run in ways you've never imagined. For example, you can 
configure a VM to run as a DC that your host OS can log on to. When 
you've attained the "unattainable dream" of running VMware as a service, 
the possibilities are endless.

Resources
WEB SITES
VMware
http://vmware.com

Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads

Windows & .NET Magazine Network is a Division of Penton Media Inc.
Copyright © 2004 Penton Media, Inc., All rights reserved

  Ps. A while back i had a hard time finding how to turn of the PC beep 
sound for a VMware session. I'd just like to pass on to everyone there 
is a 'mks.nobeep = "TRUE"' feature you can add to your vm's .vmx file.

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expertise, proprietary software and best practices, EOL provides 
custom-tailored solutions for each client?s mission and specific goals.
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