VMWare ESX – Windows XP Installation

We needed a xp pro pc running from the datacentre for downloading and local maintenance. No problems I thought however by default XP doesn’t seem to recognise the hard disks :

"Setup did not find any hard drives installed in your computer"

Well after googling the problem I stumbled across a website by Techhead and an article explaining how to proceed. A couple of notes you need to be aware of before proceeding.

1. VMWare offers two types of hard disk controller — choose LSI

2. Of the drivers available for these controllers there are two for the LSI chip. Try the old one first … oo and if you use the new one by mistake. Trash the vm and start again.

3. The mouse is seriously sluggish until VMWare tools are installed (even then it’s not the fastest thing).

Okay on with the detail

Step 1:

Download the appropriate floppy disk image of for the hard disk controller you wish to use.

They are available as :

Old LSI Logic XP Driver (recommended)

Newer LSI Logic XP Driver

Bus Logic XP Driver

store the image along with your ISO’s you use with your ESX server.

Step 2:

Create the virtual machine choose Windows XP Pro (32bit).
Connect your Installation CD/ISO file.
Choose the disk controller you want to us – VMWare recommend Bus Logic, it would appear that the LSI is quicker.
Ensure you have a floppy drive created and associate with the appropriate driver .flp file (DO NOT CONNECT YET).

Step 3:

Power on and when prompted hit F6.
Connect the floppy drive and back in the VM hit return.
Follow the prompts to install Windows.

Step 4:

Login and Install VMWare tools.

Step 5:

If this box is anywhere near the internet AntiVirusFirewalling and Windows Update immediately !

Good luck.


Web Tunnelling over SSH

Not new information but all the same useful for either secure traffic or bypassing web cache restrictions.

First example is a socks proxy to allow you to secure web traffic over a wifi link or just avoiding web caching filters.

From unix, linux, *BSD or MacOSX type in :

ssh -N name@ssh_server -D 9999

or from windows download plink.exe from http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/ (putty.exe is also a must). The command from windows is :

plink -N -D 9999 name@ssh_server

What this does it to open an encrypted tunnel with an entry point of Localhost:9999.

Once the connection is established you then configure your web browser to use a socks proxy of Localhost port 9999. You web traffic will be tunneled over an encrypted link to the server ssh_server.

An additional security step you can use from Firefox is to get the dns resolution of the site done at the remote end instead of locally. In this way you can browse intra-net web sites over the SSH link.

For Firefox in the about:config page change network.proxy.socks_remote_dns to true