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MSDN Universal DVDs & VMware Workstation 4

I've spent hours trying to install guest OSes onto VMware 4 using the MSDN DVDs.  I feel like a total idiot, b/c I've had no success so far.  I've tried building my own bootable CD-Rs.  I've searched for bootable images (I'm assuming ISO images?) that MSDN promises in its Subscriptions FAQ:

No joy.  From the following thread...

...I'm scared I might be forced to dust off an old 3.5" floppy drive and install it into my PC?  Please, say it ain't so!  What am I missing?  Any hints would be greatly appreciated.

Dave Smith
Tuesday, October 7, 2003

I believe they fixed the floppy problem in version 4.01 or 4.02 - whatever is current, haven't checked in a while.  The VMWare newsgroups offer pretty good support, especially recently as they seem to have run off a particular full-time troll.  Sorry to see you go, Chuck.

As far as the MSDN DVDs, there _must_ be some way to generate a bootable ISO CD image.  If not, you are in major PITA mode, but I guess you already know that!

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Tuesday, October 7, 2003

I'm successfully created bootable Windows 2000 and Windows XP discs by following the directions found at

There is a link to download the images required to make CDs bootable.

Michael Mata
Tuesday, October 7, 2003

I think Michael might have meant Bart's Boot CD page.  See the following website:

I've successfully created Windows XP boot CDs using Bart's instructions.

Norbert Burger
Tuesday, October 7, 2003

Thanks much for the advice.  I gave up on the VMware website too soon last week, and didn't even notice the newsgroups (oops).

Dave Smith
Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Easier (and simpler) instructions to "get" the boot sector needed to make BOOTABLE cds off MDSN's DVDs:

In brief:

1) Get the boot sector off the DVD you are interested in (Windows2003 Server, for instance)

2) Copy the _relevant_ folders to your HDD (in MSDN multilanguage DVDs, it's fairly easy to know which directories have the "boot&install" files of the version you want.

3) Create a boot CD with the files (_in the same dirs relative to the CD root dir_) and using the previously boot image.

The "catch" is that using (Barts Boot Image Extractor), you get the _same_ boot sect you had on the DVD, so you get maybe 3/4 different choices (Windows 2003 Standard Spanish, Windows 2003 Enterprise Spanish ... <French>, etc), but only one will work. it's somewhat a PITA, but it's a way of getting Boot CDs.

In any case, to install OSs in VMWARE, you only have to put the DVD in the drive, and to tell the BIOS to boot off the cd, and it'll work OK (been there, done that _countless_ times)

And the latest VMWARE Workstation is 4.0.5


Javier Jarava
Wednesday, October 8, 2003

This all makes no sense. Microsoft offers ISOs on their site for download for MSDN customers. Why would they not provide those same ISOs to their DVD customers?

Brad Wilson (
Wednesday, October 8, 2003

I would imagine they are, its the same subscription, just different distribution.

Mind, my subscription lapsed in March, it finally became uneconomic.  If anyone has worked out MS's system for organising their DVDs then I'd be happy to learn it.  I seem to have 15 DVDs with mostly the same software on, with different coloured labels.

Simon Lucy
Wednesday, October 8, 2003


You are correct.  The ISOs *do* seem to be available for all non-Win9x platforms on the subscriber site.  This weekend, I had checked for a Win98 ISO on subscriber downloads, and a Win2k ISO on the DVDs.  I gave up on the ISO search after those two failures.

I have no idea why they don't provide the ISOs via the DVDs (I just checked the Win 2003 Server DVD - also not there).  Perhaps it's a way to discourage piracy?  Since you can only get the ISOs when you log in with your Passport?  Just a guess on my part.

Anyway - I'm hoping the ISO method will be less painful than building my own CD-Rs for the non-Win9x OSes.  Thanks again, everyone, for all the great feedback.

Dave Smith
Wednesday, October 8, 2003

My last update from MSDN (I have a universal DVD subscription) shows this as a new disk for the October shipment:

2429          ISO CD images for:

Windows® 2000 Advanced Server, Windows® 2000 Professional, Windows® 2000 Server, Microsoft Windows ServerT 2003 Enterprise Edition, Microsoft Windows ServerT 2003 Standard Edition, Microsoft Windows ServerT 2003 Web Edition, Windows® XP Home Edition, Windows® XP Professional, Windows® XP Professional with Service Pack 1a, Windows® XP Tablet PC Edition (English)

So it looks like the CD images are coming. They haven't been there before this, though.

Chris Tavares
Wednesday, October 8, 2003

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