Creating Virtual Machines In VMware Server From ISO Files Without Burning CDs/DVDs

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme

This article explains how you can create virtual machines in VMware Server from .iso files without burning the .iso file to a CD or DVD. This way you can save lots of blank CDs/DVDs.

I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Preliminary Note

For this tutorial I've downloaded the Debian Etch netinstall .iso image (from to my hard drive, and I'll show how to use this .iso file to create a Debian Etch virtual machine. Of course, this works the same with the .iso images of any other Linux distribution.


2 Creating A Virtual Machine From An ISO File

Open VMware Server (Applications > System Tools > VMware Server Console):

Connect to the Local host:

Then click on the Create a new virtual machine button:

The New Virtual Machine Wizard starts. Click on Next:

Select Typical and click on Next:

As Guest Operating System, choose Linux; as Version, choose the one that suits your .iso image best:

Give your virtual machine a name. If you like, you can change the Location, but that's optional:

Select the Network Connection (usually bridged networking is the best choice):

Specify the disk size for your new virtual machine (uncheck Allocate all disk space now to allow your virtual machine to grow up to the max. disk space that you've specified - that way your vm uses less space on your hard drive until the virtual hard drive (of the vm) is full. Click on Finish then:

After the New Virtual Machine Wizard has finished, click on the Edit virtual machine settings button to modify the vm's configuration:

The Virtual Machine Settings window opens. Mark the CD-ROM of the vm on the left side - on the right side you should now see settings that are related to the CD-ROM drive:

Select Use ISO image, then click on the Browse... button:

Select the .iso image that you've downloaded before from your hard drive (in my case it's debian-40r1-i386-netinst.iso):

Back in the Virtual Machine Settings window, click on OK to accept the new settings:

Now click on the Power on this virtual machine button to start the virtual machine and install it from the .iso image:

As you see, the installation starts from the .iso image:


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