Oh the tools I use…(more)

20 October 2012

It’s been a few years and even though I make my living mostly by programming under/for Windows, I run OSX. To do my programming work, I run Windows as a Virtual OS (VOS) under VMWare Fusion. Currently I’m back a generation of Fusion, but I looked at and tried the Parallels and Virtual Box. While I don’t remember why, Fusion worked better for me and the software I run under Windows.

I haven’t been a great fan of a lot of Windows 7, 8 don’t ask. XP was good enough for me. It runs in a fairly limited system and very well as a VOS. The world though progresses and XP is being put out to pasture.

The latest M$ tools don’t even run on it. So, recently I built up a VOS for Windows 7. What a pig, it *really needs* 4G RAM! It’s so bad that I had to Bootcamp it and ditch OSX on my laptop to get work done, since my current Air laptop only has 4G. New machine? As cool as that Rectal-Macbook sounds, I don’t want to spend the money for an OSX pig to run my Windows fetish. Anyway that’s sad, but not this story.

As a consultant, I’m constantly loading new software and tools as needed by my clients. It doesn’t take long for the machine to get bogged down and I need to build a new Virtual OS. I call this process, time to clean the windows. You don’t like it, but you do it. And it’s a known pain, often…always I don’t load all of the tools for old clients. And Murphy being himself, once and while … often … next day …, I need to update or fix something. Ugh! I have to load software and risk blowing up my current OS for my most active project/client(s).

I’ve always thought wouldn’t it be nice to have a virtual OS per client, or at least for similar client projects.  The VOS on Fusion are packages, which act like a simple file, much like and probably are a ZIP files. A lot of applications and frameworks these days use this same packaged file distribution method. So with Fusion, I can I just copy the file, rename it and start using the new OS.

Back up. When I first started with VOS, I thought that ‘snapshots’ would allow this flexibility  but they don’t seem to work for me. Snapshots are more like a single thread of backup points, and you can’t really tree off many snapshots or at least I couldn’t figure them out to work with my way of thinking.

Copying Fusion virtual machines with a simple OS copy works. One problem with that, is they are copies. Even the name is a copy, so there can be a bit of confusion if your virtual library has two or more with same name. Today, I set out to see how I can change the name w/o loading it first and figuring out which one is which. It turns out, that it’s really very easy. Here’s how on OSX with Fusion:

  1. Select the VOS and duplicate the file (apple-key-D)
  2. Renaming it is optional but key I would think (e.g. xpCustomerA.vmwarevm)
  3. Then I open up that file/package
  4. Open up the *.vmx file inside at the base directory.
  5. Search for displayName and change the name between the quotes.
  6. That’s it load and run.



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