In the freeware review, I wrote about machine virtualization through VMWare, Virtual PC, and Parallels. What I forgot to mention is that slave operating systems running inside of these virtualization programs need to use special drivers for the virtual “hardware” it sees in the virtual machine.
Initially, when you install an operating system in the virtual machine, the slave operating system relies on generic, slow drivers for the video, network, mouse, optical drive, and other peripherals. In order to get the greatest performance from these virtual machines, it is necessary to use special drivers from the virtual machine creators. VMWare makes it exceptionally difficult to get these drivers, which are called VMTools. They are only available in the for-pay versions of its software, notably the VMWare Workstation.
Fortunately, there is a workaround to obtain those drivers. VMWare Workstation is available for Linux and Windows. Since Linux software is usually loosely packaged and unprotected in *.tar.gz files, it is easy to extract the driver files we’ll need for the specific operating system.
- Just download the evaluation copy of VMWare Workstation for Linux. It will be a gzipped tarball file.
- Extract the contents.
- Search for all *.iso files in the expanded files.
- Use the *.iso file that pertains to your slave operating system to install the drivers on the virtual machine. (For all Windows slave operating systems, it is “windows.iso”)
And there you have it. Immediately after installing the drivers, you will notice a huge performance change in your virtual machine.