Sneak preview of Windows 8 with VMWare Workstation 8.0.3

Here’s a sneak preview of Windows 8 evaluation version using VMWare’s Workstation 8.0.3. For those who read my earlier post “Experiences with VMWare Workstation 8.0.3 : The good, bad and the Ugly” the Windows 8 VM experience  must definitely rate as good. The setup and installation of Windows 8 in Workstation was a breeze. There was just one hiccup which is mentioned below.

The initial experience with Windows 8 is truly breath taking. The metro-style screen with its mosaic of tiles looks really great. Besides, Microsoft with Windows 8 is definitely taking the right path with a tile for the App Store and the SkyDrive. More on that later…

To get started download Windows 8 Release preview ISO image from Make a note of the Product key in the page.

Start your VMWare Workstation and choose “Create a new VM”. Browse to the directory which has the ISO image start the VM. Use the product key that you made a note of in the download page. While the installation will start you are bound to run into the error “Windows cannot read the product key from the unattend answer file”. To fix this issue power off the Windows 8 VM. Now select the “Settings” of the VM and remove floppy drive from the settings. Now Power on your VM. This time things should go smoothly and you installation process should begin.

Soon you should see Windows 8 installation screen

Choose the custom option as shown below

The installation should start and you should see

Follow the prompts and pretty soon you should see a really appealing Windows 8 metro style screen. The screen has a really cool tiled look. In fact with this look icons seem almost passe.

A quick look at this screen and you will see that Microsoft has now included the Store (App Store) and the SkyDrive. I am certain both of these will be put to great use in the future. Games and apps will be downloaded from the App Store. Play around the desktop.

Windows 8 is supposed to be based on touch where the user touches the screen to select an application. To navigate between applications or to get back to the metro-style screen move the mouse to the lower left corner of the screen and you should see a small metro-style screen. The top left corner has your current running applications.

I wanted to check out the Skydrive. So I created 2 text files in my Documents folder and selected Skydrive.

You can right click the files and select them. Go the bottom right corner and right click. You should see the task bar pop up. Click add and you will get a screen as shown below

Uploading files and folders to the cloud is bound to be commonly used in the not too distant future. The Skydrive right on your desktop will be a god send for users who want to keep a back up copy on the Cloud.

The App Store is another alluring addition.

If the boot  and load times of applications are fast in Windows 8 then Windows 8 looks to be a clear winner.

In fact with the stylish tiled look, touch interface, app store and Skydrive Windows 8 may actually give iPad a run for its money given the fact that Windows 8 provides actual computing capability in addition to consuming content.

Find me on Google+

Experiences with VMWare Workstation 8.0.3 – The good,bad and the ugly

VMs( virtual machines) are the fundamental unit of the cloud. So I was interested in getting my hands around virtualization and virtual machines. Fortunately VMWare’s Workstation provides you with the opportunity. VMWare gives the user a 30 day evaluation license to evaluate Workstation 8.0.3. So I downloaded VMWare’s Workstation 8.0.3 to my desktop in Windows XP. If you had read my earlier post “Installing and configuring Fedora 16 with Windows XP using a bootable USB”  I had a dual boot desktop running either XP or Fedora 16.

Installing and getting Workstation 8.0.3 started was a breeze. I then created a VM using the Fedora 16 ISO file which I had downloaded for creating the dual boot Fedora & XP. The Workstation created a VM for me in a couple of minutes. As before the VM running Fedora 16 has LiveCD in its top right corner. Or in other words it is running the OS of a virtual CD. Anyway it was great and seemed really easy to get started.

The Ugly: I wanted to do more things with the VM. I read up the documentation on “Using the WorkStation” etc.  I wanted to install the VMWare Tools, clone a VM, save a snapshot etc. When I tried to install Vmware Tools I got a message saying the CDRom was in use. I checked the setting and found the CDRom was being used to boot Fedora. I actually needed to “install to disk”. .  As in previous post I decided I needed to create free space. Unfortunately I got ahead of myself I think. While the workstation was running I tried to access Windows Disk Management. This took a long time and I also got a message saying that the device was busy. As an afterthought it appears perfectly reasonable as the Workstation must have allocated space for the VM on the disk and must have held the disk. My disk had a primary partition C: drive with Win XP, a free logical drive D: and a partition holding my Fedora 16. I foolishly deleted drive D: This is where all hell broke loose. This took a long time. When I opened Disk Management again I found that the values it was showing was out of whack. It was C: drive 1820 GB when it should have been 70GB. D:drive as 2087 GB and also sorts vague figures. I realized that I had messed up my disk.


Here a thought struck me. Maybe if I restart the system the OS will work things out. But alas when I rebooted I got this

error: No such partition

grub rescue>

I knew I had really messed up. I could not boot my system. As I had mentioned before I could not boot Windows from my CD drive as it did not work. After trying a couple of different things I tried to boot with my USB drive.

Thank God I was able to boot Fedora. I then used fdisk to see my partitions. I realized I had clobbered my 2nd partition which was showing an incorrect size. I used fdisk to set the size right. I then installed Fedora 16 on my PC by writing to disk. Unfortunately I lost my XP drive and I was left with a Linux only PC. Thanks to my fortune there was no data that I had lost. This was a new PC which I had got.

The Bad: Now with Fedora 16 up and running I decided I thought I will try to install Workstation 8.0.3 on Fedora 16. I downloaded Workstation 8.0.3 bundle and extracted it. But when it tried to run it I ran into my 1st problem.

Cannot load module pk-gtk-module & canberra-gtk-module and I also got a message “Failed”

So with some googling I found that I needed to do

yum install PackageKit-gtk-module &

yum install libcanberra-gtk2 libcanberra-gtk3 libcanberra-gtk2.i686 libcanberra-gtk3.i686

I also got the message that some kernel files needed to be compiled. When I went and checked

/lib/modules/3.1.0-7.fc16.i686 I founf that the “build” link was broken.  So I set off on another google search on how to fix the fedora build broken situation. Finally I found the answer here

I did a

yum install kernel-devel

As mentioned in the link above I rebooted the system. This seemed to create


The build in this directory was fine. Also giving uname -a showed that the kernel was updated to the new version.

I tried to start the Workstation 8.0.3 again. Now the number of complaints was less. I got a message saying the files needed to be compiled. When I clicked ok it went through the compilation process. I knew I was making progress. But anyway it once again bailed out with

Gtk-Message: Failed to load module “pk-gtk-module”: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

Gtk-Message: Failed to load module “canberra-gtk-module”: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

It appears that there is a patch which needs to be applied to fix the kernel. I used the following from this post

I downloaded workstation-8.0.2-linux3.2patch (15K) and ran the commands

cd /usr/lib/vmware/modules/source

tar xfv vmnet.tar

patch -p0 < ~/workstation-8.0.2_linux-3.2.patch

tar cfv vmnet.tar vmnet-only/

vmware-modconfig –console –install-all

Though my workstation 8.0.3 this went through fine.

I also did



I started the workstation 8.0.3 and lo and behold it finally came up.

I then downloaded Fedora 17 ISO file ( and created a VM with that. My PC with about ~ 1G ram groaned. It tool nearly 20 mins to be up and running.

The searching and fixing took me nearly 7 – 8 hours. I was finally able to get workstation 8.0.3 up and running with Fedora 17 VM

Also do take a look at  the good part of  VMWare Workstation 8.0.3 Sneak preview of Windows 8 with VMWare Workstation 8.0.3

Find me on Google+