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VMware is a virtual machine program. At the moment it's the fastest (at least under Windows). QEMU and VirtualBox are alternatives.

There are two free VMware products available: VMware Player for preconfigured operating systems and VMware Server for manual installations. VMware Server is the way to go if you don't want to pay for a VMware product, but you have to sign up at VMware to get it.

Getting debug output

In default configuration, serial port 1 is used by virtual printer. So, to use serial port 1 for debugging purposes, you must remove Printer device.

Redirect to file

If you're using a VMware product and want to redirect the serial output to a file, click the Edit virtual machine settings link.

If your virtual machine does not yet have a virtual serial port, add one using the Add button. Then select it and in the Connection box, choose the option Use output file and enter the name of the file, into which the debug output shall be written.

Redirect to named pipe

This page has a good explanation on setting up VMware with a named pipe. You can use Putty as well - in VMWare set up the desired named pipe name (for example: \\.\pipe\debug), set "This end is the server" and "The other end is an application". Putty will be able to connect as soon as you start up the VM.

Serial port connection using com0com

Setup com0com according to this short com0com guide.

Add a serial port to your virtual machine, allow it to connect at power on and specify the first virtual serial port you created in the field "Use physical port".

Connect your terminal application to your second virtual port.

Setting up Network

  • Make sure you have a network connection in the Virtual Machine settings tab. Note that using the 'NAT' option also works. Use VMWare's "Manage Virtual Networks" tool to figure out what subnet mask, gateway and IP range to use.
  • Start the VM and check for network connectivity.
  • If no connectivity, set the correct IP settings in the network control panel applet.
  • Reboot your computer.
  • Now install some software and test.

Setting up Audio

You need the following steps to activate experimental sound support with VMWare

Warning, these drivers installs hangs VM at the moment, so only for dev!

  • Edit the .vmx file and add these lines
sound.present = "TRUE"
sound.fileName = "-1"
sound.autodetect = "TRUE"
sound.virtualDev = "es1371"
sound.deviceNr = "-1"
sound.device = "/dev/dsp"
  • Download the WDM driver from here. Expand it and put it on a CD-image (The ROS install CD preferably)
  • Install ReactOS
  • After 3rd reboot you will be asked to install the audio adapter, choose to install from the cd-image and folder you put the driver on.
  • Open the device manager and see that your audio adapter now is installed
  • Reboot
  • Grab your favorite audio playback application. At the moment only Winamp (Winamp 2.91c), VLC 0.9.8a and MPlayer Portable are known to work
  • ReactOS contains a small app called mplay32.exe that can play a few formats!
  • Load an mp3 file and play :)

If you installed ReactOS and surf to this page, this file works better (same files) however cancel the pnp wizard and just execute the file in the c:\ReactOS folder and you're done after rebooting twice.

Supported Hardware/Sound cards

Using Soundblaster 16 in VMware

Download the package containing sndblst.sys and sndblst.dll from:

Mount your virtual HDD with the VMware DiskMount Utility or VDK. (Warning: Don't copy them inside ReactOS!)

Syntax: vmware-mount <drive letter>: "<.vmdk file>"
eg: vmware-mount r: "C:\Documents and Settings\Scott\My Documents\My Virtual Machines\ReactOS\ReactOS.vmdk"

Now copy these two files to the corresponding destinations on the newly mounted drive.

  • sndblst.sys to ReactOS\system32\Drivers\sndblst.sys
  • sndblst.dll to ReactOS\system32\mmdrv.dll (Rename the existing file mmdrv.old)

Finally unmount the virtual HDD.

Syntax: vmware-mount <drive letter>: /d
eg: vmware-mount r: /d

Edit your virtual machines .vmx file so its using the appropriate sound card.

Set sound.virtualDev = "sb16"

Note: The registry already has working entries & Drivers from NT4 SP4 and SP6 are rumored to be working... (Update: Fixed to work again in SVN 09/Jan/2005 - Filip)

As a recent update to this article, as of 9/14/07, Silverblade is commiting to SVN various sound and multimedia updates, also called WinMM.