Microsoft Windows has Free Virtual Machines

Wish I had know about these earlier. Microsoft offers free Windows virtual machines for VirtualBox, VMWare, and others. You can choose from Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10 (a few different flavors of each). They last 90 days before expiring, but you can snapshot them right after you install them to make it easy to reset that 90 days by rolling back to the snapshot.

Officially, these are for testing out the Edge browser, but you can also use them for whatever else 😉

Check them out here:



High End Desktop for a Low End price

Want to build a high end desktop computer for a low end price (around $600 or less)?

Note: I don’t include Windows 7 in the default build, as you can just download Ubuntu, Fedora, or OpenSuSE Linux etc. for free. However, I’ve included links for Windows 7 (student and normal) in the Additional options section.

I would like to suggest the following components for people that want a really nice system without breaking the bank.

I just built a new machine that could support running multiple VMware instances, encode FLAC quickly, and surf the web etc. without breaking the bank. I didn’t need or want video gaming support since I use a PS3 for that.
However, I’ll suggest a view options (including gaming cards) that will allow you to alter the basic system we’ll be discussing.

This build is based on AMD/ATI since it really does perform well and saves a good chunk of money, but the parts can be swapped very easily to make it an Intel system that won’t break the bank either.

I’ll expand on why I chose the parts and provide direct links as well. (I use Newegg, but use anyone you like)

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Fedora 11 – VMware Workstation 6.5.2

Over the past few years several people on the VMware communities forums have released patches to fix the vmware modules for the next “fresh” release of the Linux Kernel / Distro. I’ve used them in the past with much success, but I generally like waiting for the official VMware support. However, I’m pretty excited about Fedora 11 (just to many new goodies not to play) and I noticed there’s a new updated patch for 2.6.29 and even 2.6.30 Kernels!

VMware Workstation 6.5.2 module patches/discussion: 2.6.29

VMware Workstation 6.5.2 module patches/discussion: 2.6.30

Sun has official Fedora 11 support (and now 2.6.31) with VirtualBox: VirtualBox 3.0.0 (if that’s your cup of tea)

Note: Obviously Fedora is the test bed for the QEMU/KVM merger so you can go that route as well, but I love VMware. ;0)
Here is a great article to get you moving on the QEMU/KVM way of life: Clik Me


Verizon Wireless Broadband – RHEL 5.x / CentOS 5.x

I’m using the UM175 model so your mileage may vary.

Note: Red Hat officially supports various DELL branded EVDO modems by default in 5.x (see release notes)

Insert the UM175 and make sure the system detects it.

usb 5-1: USB disconnect, address 3
usb 5-1: new full speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 4
usb 5-1: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
cdc_acm 5-1:1.0: ttyACM0: USB ACM device <—— Note the cdc_acm driver was loaded for it and the device is under ttyACM0 (/dev/ttyACM0)

Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out how to use NetworkManager under RHEL 5.3 (yet) so I reverted back to the standard “network” service instead.

Example: (You DO NOT need to do this if you’re NOT using NetworkManager)
shell> sudo /sbin/service NetworkManager stop
shell> sudo /sbin/chkconfig –level 2345 NetworkManager off
shell> sudo /sbin/chkconfig –level 2345 network on
shell> sudo /sbin/service network start

Then use the “system-config-network” utility (Under – SystemAdministrationNetwork )

1. Select the “Hardware” tab and click “New”

2. Select “Modem” as the hardware type.
Note: The above info from dmesg shows “ttyACM0”, this will NOT be listed in the “Modem Device” selection (at least under mine it wasn’t), so simply erase what’s there and type in “/dev/ttyACM0” (no quotes). I left everything else the same and clicked “OK”.

3. Select the “Devices” tab and click “New” this will start a Wizard.
* Select “Modem” and click Forward.
* Fill in “Phone Number” with “#777” (no quotes)
* Fill in “Provider Name” with whatever (I put Verizon)
* Fill in “Login Name” with “” (no quotes)
* Fill in “Password” with “vzw” (no quotes)
* Click Forward and leave the defaults (DNS etc.)

4. Activate your new configuration (this will restart the network controls etc)

You may want/need to set various options under the ppp configuration (like auto start etc).

You should now be able to connect. Until someone posts how to get the NetworkManager working, you may want to create a shortcut of the “Network” applet on your Panel/Desktop. 🙂

Note: There are various ways to skin this cat. I just posted the easiest way I could for the general “Desktop” usage. ;0)

Vmware / Vmtools under CentOS 5.x Guests

I’ve seen various posts about people having issues installing/configuring the vmtools package under their CentOS guest.

So here’s my new “Quick Tip”

Inside your CentOS 5.x guest VM
Install/update the kernel source and gcc packages.

sudo yum -y install kernel-devel gcc

Then under the Vmware host application select “VM “Install Vmware Tools” and the “tools” package will be mounted to your host, simply untar the vmware-tools.tar.gz and run the install script inside.

The script will now use your kernel headers and the gcc packages to compile the needed modules.

You can either follow the on screen instructions to unload/load the required modules or simply reboot.