Install Slackware 11.0 in a VMware ESX Server 2.5.x VM 

Version 1.0
Author: Jayakumar Munuswamy <jay [at] vmwhere [dot] net>

This guide will help you install Slackware in a safe VMware virtual environment, with its own unique quirks to take care off.

Slackware is not officially supported on VMware, but it can be installed without too many problems, once you got past choosing 'scsi.s' and '/dev/sda', in the beginning and remember to install lilo on the MBR.

As always there are many ways of achieving this goal but this is the way I take. So your milage may vary!

1 Requirements

Download the Slackware install CDs:

OR Order a DVD from

I ended up downloading it via BitTorrent because it’s the fastest way I can lay my hands on it and also I can upload the ISO after downloading it taking some load off the Slackware mirrors.

In any case you would end up with the following file


2 Prepare a VM for Installation

For the installation in VMware you do not have burn these to CD/DVD’s. This because you can use this downloaded files (which are so called .iso images) directly in VMware to install.

In VMware create a new virtual machine

      (menu 'File'->'New'->'Virtual machine)

Select from list 'GNU/Linux’

Choose a representative name

     (e.g. 'Slack11’)

Accept further the defaults

Inform that you are going to install from iso image

     a. Select in VMWare the menu option 'Edit'

     b. Select from list 'Removable devices'

     c. Select from list 'CD Rom'

     d. Select tab 'CD-ROM device'

     e. Enable radio button 'Use ISO image'

     f. Click button 'Browse'

     g. Browse to the directory of your iso file:


     i. Click button 'Open'

     j. Click button 'OK'

You might do the following, otherwise just skip it:

Start the boot order to be from CD-ROM drive first

  1. While booting your virtual machine put the focus on this window (e.g. by clicking with the mouse on it, then pressing <ENTER>), and press <F2>
  2. Then move to the 'boot' tab
  3. Move the 'CD-ROM Drive' upwards, using the numeric '+' (e.g. on my machine this is <FN><+>)
  4. Press <F10> 'Exit and Save'
  5. Press <Yes> to accept

3 Prepare Disks for Install

Start VMware Slackware VM by powering it on.

The VM will boot from the CD/DVD image and stop at the boot: prompt for you start installation. If it does not boot from the CD go to step 8.

Because VMware uses SCSI disk emulation, you have to type:


You can see why (options), by pressing <F2> and or <F3>

Press <ENTER> to start the installation

Enter 1 to select a Keyboard Map: press enter

Type 'root' to login

First create disk partitions, using

  1. Type
    cfdisk /dev/sda
  2. Use the arrow keys to move to ‘New’ press enter,
  3. Select ‘Primary’ and then type in the size of your first partition.
  4. Type in ‘512’ as the size
  5. Changed its ‘type’ to 82 i.e. ‘linux swap’
  6. Press "New"
  7. Select "Primary" and then press enter to select the rest of the disk space as root
  8. Change its ‘type’ to 83 i.e ‘linux’
  9. Make it bootable by Selecting '[Bootable]', and press <ENTER>,
  10. This will mark the partition as 'boot'
  11. When finished press '[Write]', then 'yes' to save the result.
  12. Then '[Quit]' to finish.

If that works out successfully, type:


to start installation.

4  Choose Install Options

Scroll down to ‘ADDSWAP’ and then press enter, it will detect and offer your /dev/sda1 for installing your swap, say `yes`.

Setup will now format and mount and activate your /dev/sda1 as your swap partition.

Now your /dev/sda2 will be offered to be install partition, ‘Select’ and then select ‘Format’ and then select file system ‘resierfs’.

For each of these your options can vary, if you know what you are doing.

Source Media Selection, Scroll down to
    ‘1 Install from Slackware CD or DVD’ and select
    ‘OK’ and choose
    ‘auto’ for detecting the media.

Your installation CD should be found on

(if CD not found, go in VMware to the menu 'Edit', disconnect the 'CD ROM' and connect it again, then go back to Slackware, and try again)

Choose the programs you want to install

        ‘Full’ install

Choose e.g. 'newbie', then you will get the chance to install or not some individual packages.

5 Installation

Actually there isn't much to do during the install, it just does its own thing and a lot of text go past the screen really fast. So if you wanted to have hat coffee, now is a good time to catch up with it, because a "Full Install" takes some time.

6 Configure your install

Install from cdrom, select

/cdrom/kernels/scsi.s/bzImage press `okay`

Choose to skip a bootdisk

Choose no modem

Choose to enable hotplug

*Important* Choose to install simple lilo. If you do not choose to install lilo, you will get a black screen after restart. Note: you can type later on the command line


to install it again. 

Choose the standard console

Choose to press <Enter> when asked for parameter

Choose to install LILO in the MBR

Select Mouse PS/2

Yes to install gpm

Confirm startup services – no changes – selected `ok’

Yes to configure network

Hostname (e.g. slackware)

<cancel> for domain name

no for font testing

no for hardware clock

select time zone (I selected Asia/Calcutta)

select xfce as window manager

set root password





When finished, type


in the command line to reboot.

Disconnect the cd-rom device to set it physical drive.

After restarting press <ENTER> in the lilo boot menu

So Linux Slackware v10.2 did start successfully here

Login (e.g. as root)



to start xfce

It showes a very nice starting screen in high resolution immediately

Now install VMware tools for a probably even better resolution.

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