Installing Vail onto a Virtual Machine Part 2 – VMWare Server

by Nigel Wilks on April 26, 2010 · 12 comments

in Guides

In my last post I walked you through installing Vail using VMWare Workstation. This time; we are going to use the free version of VMWare Server. The same rules apply as to VMWare Workstation so I’ll recap what I previously posted.

Before you continue with the guides you need to ensure your PC can support a 64 Bit OS guest (generally a machine fitted with a processor capable of hardware-assisted virtualisation such as the AMD-V™, Intel® VT or VIA® VT processor will do). Microsoft provide a free utility to check your machine meets the requirements, the Microsoft® Hardware-Assisted Virtualization Detection Tool. One word of caution with this, most manufacturers turn off the Virtualisation features in the BIOS, and some hide them in obscure menu systems. The HP system I used to create this guide kept the settings in the Security menu which took a while to find.

For these guides, I’ve picked VMWare Server and Workstation as both of these will run 64 Bit Guest Operating Systems on a 64 Bit Host. If you choose a different tool, then ensure it can do the same. As Vail is 64 bit only, you need that capability.

To follow this guide, you will first need to register with VMWare to get a license key and the download link. Once you have done this, installation is a breeze and you can probably accept the defaults. It is Web Based, but uses non standard ports and you’ll probably be accessing VMWare locally so you don’t need to pay that much attention if you don’t want to.

So unless you have a port conflict with the default ports offered above, just click on Next to move on.

Under Commands, in the top right of the VMWare Console. We want to click Create Virtual Machine.

Give the Virtual Machine, remember this is just the name in the console and not the name of the server. You will also see the name of the datastore, the default will be standard and just resides off the c:\virtual machines folder. This is where you will need to copy your installation ISO later.

As Windows Home Server Codename Vail is based on Windows 2008 x64 we can tell VMWare it’s that OS. That will help it assign us the right VMWare Tools later.

Now that we’ve done the basics, we can now choose what sort of specifications we want to give the server. Bear in mind this will take resources from your host computer, so don’t go too mad as your performance will suffer. For the Beta, the minimum spec will suffice but you can increase these later on anyway so start low and increase if required.

160GB is the minimum requirement for Vail. There isn’t much point creating a larger disk for the Beta; but you can edit your settings later and add additional disks if you want to experiment with Duplication.

Adding a Network Adapter will be useful for the Beta!

The next screen offers three different choices of Network types. Bridged Networking offers a network set-up as though it was a truly separate PC. It will receive it’s own IP Address. For the purposes of the Beta, this will give us the best way of testing Vail.

One of the more convenient features of VMWare is the ability to mount an ISO. As the files you downloaded for the Beta are all in ISO format, you won’t be needing to burn these to DVD first. You’ll need to copy the install.iso file to c:\virtual machines\datastore first as you can’t browse the hard disk in the same way you can in VMWare Workstation or a normal PC as you can see below.

Unless you really want to; choose not to install a Floppy drive.

Install USB support if required.

And finally review your settings and tick “Power on your Virtual Machine now” and click Finish.

The last step in the process is to be able to view the console, right now your Vail installation has probably started but you can’t see what’s happening. So just click “install-plug-in” and the console plug-in will install.

So; with very little effort and some “borrowed” resources from your Home PC you can be up and running using Windows Home Server Codename Vail in no time at all. You are not quite finished yet though and you’ll want to finish the rest of this guide once Vail has installed because VMWare Server comes with a suite of drivers to improve the performance of the Virtual Machine. Installation is easy, but you need to complete the installation of Vail first as these are installed on top of the target Operating System. To do this, click on the Virtual Machine menu at the top of the VMWare Console screen and click install VMWare Tools.

This will then mount an ISO containing the VMWare Tools and the Autplay function will prompt you what you want to do with the disc. Choose to run Setup.exe

When the installation is complete, you’ll be prompted to reboot. Choose that option. That’s it you really are done with setting up Vail in a Virtual Machine now. So check out Alex’s installation guide and see what’s new!

Update: Whilst it’s possible to run a 64bit guest on a 32bit host you’ll need to bear in mind you will be limited to the physical restrictions of your base PC (mainly RAM) and performance will be much better on a 64bit host.

Article by

I'm a Technical Architect based in the UK predominantly working on Windows Server and Active Directory based solutions. I'm also a Microsoft Windows Home Server MVP and moderator/author at I've released the FirePlay for Windows Home Server, WHS PHP Installer, MySql Installer for WHS and Wordpress Installer for WHS Add-Ins as well as co-author of the SanEncore and WHS Health Add-Ins with Alex Kuretz.


Wolfgang April 27, 2010 at 10:40 am

I was today able to install Vail on a VMWare-Server with WinXP-SP3 32bit as host. Strange but it worked without errors.

Damian April 28, 2010 at 9:15 am

@ Nigel,

Any idea why installing Vail on a 32bit system worked for Wolfgang? The only PC in my house that runs a 64bit O/S is my laptop. All desktop PCs in my house run 32bit which is where I was originally planning on testing out Vail.

Nigel Wilks April 28, 2010 at 9:29 am

You can run 64bit OS’s on a 32bit host though but you do get 32bit hardware limitations (i.e. RAM limit). I should have spelled that out in the article so will correct.

Damian April 28, 2010 at 9:32 am

Thanks Nigel. Since my PCs are 32bit I am already at the RAM limit (only have 3GB installed). Will give this a try this weekend!!! Meant to ask, can you do this on a RAID 0 setup? My main desktop PC is RAID 0, will that cause issues?

Lars May 3, 2010 at 2:16 pm

I’m considering installing “vail” on a rather ancient laptop (64 processor but only 80 GB) with an extertal HD (160 GB). Any caveats to consider?

jam3ohio (jim) February 14, 2011 at 8:12 am


Thanks for this article. I used it this weekend to load VMWare Server and the RC for WHS2011 on my main desktop. It took longer to download the WHS2011 RC from Connect than to set it up! I now have a full server running on VM thanks to your guide here…very well written.

Your effort here is appreciated!


Nigel February 14, 2011 at 9:02 am

Thanks Jim. I just re-stepped through both guides using the walk throughs to make sure they still applied to the RC’s.

Glad it worked for you.

John (ITBeast) Keller August 18, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Hey Nigel,

I just got done posting an Article at UWHS on a step by step How To on Running VMWare Server 2 on Windows Home Server 2011. Anyways Jim (jam3ohio) pointed this how to on creating a Virtual Machine with VMware Server 2 you did back When Windows Home Server 2011 was still Vail.
Since I do not believe in recreating the wheel I would like permission to reference your creating a Virtual Machine with VMWare Server 2 as additional guidance on what to do once VMware Server 2 in properly installed and configured.

Let me know and nice article.

Nigel Wilks August 18, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Hey John, go right ahead and reference.


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