November 22, 2006

Reinstalling Windows XP on VMware

My XP VM was giving me BSODs a lot, so I decided to reinstall. I first made sure I had the latest FC5 kernel, latest VMware, and I also downloaded a new XP CD in case my install media was bad. Incidentally I found an XP SP2 torrent, and this really made my install go much faster (SP2 took forever to install, IIRC).

Some notes:

  • Apparently when you right click My Documents and change its location, this is called “redirection.” By default, when you redirect one of the special shortcuts, such as My Documents, Windows sets it (kind of) available offline. I didn’t want this. To avoid this, before you redirect My Documents! run gpedit.msc (as a user with admin rights), go to User Configuration/Network/Offline Files and enable “Do not automatically make redirected folders available offline.”
  • Windows still needs to reboot a lot, I’ve found, so I’d actually reboot (or at least log out/in) after making the above change.
  • Palm Desktop still sucks when trying to run as an unprivileged user. The only way I could get it to install correctly was to change my account into the Administrators group, log out/in, install Palm Desktop, then revert my account to Users again. I also did my first HotSync while my user was in Administrators; I don’t know if this was necessary.
  • Additional Palm Desktop suckage! You must put usb.generic.skipSetConfig = "TRUE" in your .vmx file. And don’t forget to disable the visor module.
  • If you’re going to use alsa-oss (aoss) to make VMware use ALSA, be aware that you’re going to need to use the “split virtual disk into 2GB files” option (on by default; like the tool I am, I changed the default for no good reason). This is at least true as of alsa-oss 1.0.12. You can use vmware-vdiskmanager to split up an existing virtual disk if you screwed this up already.
  • For running as a non-privileged user, MakeMeAdmin, PrivBar, and Launch Admin are very useful.

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