Windows 7 + VMWare 6/VMWare Fusion 2

So the first thing I do when I get back from PDC? After taking my youngest trick-or-treating at the Redmond Town Center, and settling down into the weekend, I pull out the PDC hard drive and have a look around.

Obviously, I'm going to eventually spend a lot of time in the "Developer" subdirectory--lots of yummy PDC goodness in there, like the "Oslo_Dublin_WF_WCF_4" subdirectory in which we'll find a Virtual PC image of the latest CSD bits pre-installed, or the Visual_Studio_2010 subdirectory (another VirtualPC image), but before I start trying to covert those over to VMWare images (so I can run them on my Mac), I figured I'd take a wild shot at playing with Windows 7.

That, of course, means installing it into a VMWare image. So here goes.

First step, create the VMWare virtual machine. Because this is clearly not going to be a stock install, I choose the custom option, and set the operating system to be "Windows Server 2008 (experimental)". Not because I think there's anything really different about that option (except the default options that follow), but because it feels like the right homage to the pre-alpha nature of Windows 7. I set RAM to 512MB, chose to give it a 24GB IDE disk (not SCSI, as the default suggested--Windows sometimes has a tentative relationship with SCSI drives, and this way it's just one less thing to worry about), chose a single network adapter set to NAT, pointed the CD to the smaller of the two ISO images on the drive (which I believe to be the non-checked build version), and fired 'er up, not expecting much.

Kudos to the Windows 7 team.

The CD ISO boots, and I get the install screen, and bloody damn fast, at that. I choose the usual options, choose to do a Custom install (since I'm not really doing an Upgrade), and off it starts to churn. As I write this, it's 74% through the "Expanding files" step of the install, but for the record, Vista never got this far installing into VMWare with its first build. As a matter of fact, if I remember correctly, Vista (then Longhorn) didn't even boot to the first installation screen, and then when it finally did it took about a half-hour or so.

I'll post this now, and update it as I find more information as I go, but if you were curious about installing Windows 7 into VMWare, so far the prognosis looks good. Assuming this all goes well, the next step will be to install the Windows 7 SDK and see what I can build with it. After that, probably either VS 2008 or VS 2010, depending on what ISOs they've given me. (I think VS 2010 is just a VHD, so it'll probably have to be 2008.) But before I do any of that, I'll make a backup, just so that I can avoid having to start over from scratch in the event that there's some kind dependency between the two that I haven't discovered so far.

Update: Well, it got through "Expanding files", and going into "Starting Windows...", and now "Setup is starting services".... So far this really looks good.

Update: Uh, oh, possible snag: "Setup is checking video performance".... Nope! Apparently it's OK with whatever crappy video perf numbers VMWare is going to put up. (No, I didn't enable the experimental DirectX support for VMWare--I've had zero luck with that so far, in any VMWare image.)

Update: Woo-hoo! I'm sitting at the "Windows 7 Ultimate" screen, choosing a username and computername for the VM. This was so frickin flawless, I'm waiting for the shoe to drop. Choosing password, time zone, networking setting (Public), and now we're at the final lap....

Update: Un-FRICKIN-believable. Flawless. Absolutely flawless. I'm in the "System and Security" Control Panel applet, and of course the first thing I select is "User Account Control settings", because I want to see what they did here, and it's brilliant--they set up a 4-point slider to control how much you want UAC to bug you when you or another program changes Windows settings. I select the level that says, "Only notify me when programs try to make changes to my computer", which has as a note to it, "Don't notify me when I make changes to Windows settings. Note: You will still be notified if a program tries to make changes to your computer, including Windows settings", which seems like the right level to work from.

But that's beyond the point right now--the point is, folks, Windows 7 installs into a VMWare image flawlessly, which means it's trivial to start playing with this now. Granted, it still kinda looks like Vista at the moment, which may turn some folks off who didn't like its look and feel, but remember that Longhorn went through a few iterations at the UI level before it shipped as Vista, too, and that this is a pre-alpha release of Win7, so....

I tip my hat to the Windows 7 team, at least so far. This is a great start.

Update: Even better--VMWare Tools (the additions to the guest OS that enable better video, sound, etc) installs and works flawlessly, too. I am impressed. Really, really impressed.