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How To Install VMware Server On A CentOS 5

How To Install VMware Server On A CentOS 5.0 Desktop

This tutorial provides step-by-step instructions on how to install VMware Server on a CentOS 5.0 desktop system. With VMware Server you can create and run guest operating systems (“virtual machines”) such as Linux, Windows, FreeBSD, etc. under a host operating system. This has the benefit that you can run multiple operating systems on the same hardware which saves a lot of money, and you can move virtual machines from one VMware Server to the next one (or to a system that has the VMware Player which is also free).

Also, with VMware Server you can let your old Windows desktop (that you previously converted into a VMware virtual machine with VMware Converter, as described in this tutorial:http://www.howtoforge.com/vmware_converter_windows_linux) run under your CentOS desktop. This can be useful if you depend on some applications that exist for Windows only, or if you want to switch to Linux slowly.

I want to say first that this is not the only way of setting up such a system. There are many ways of achieving this goal but this is the way I take. I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!

1 Find Out Your Kernel Version

Before we go on and install additional software, it’s a good idea to find out about your kernel version because in chapter 2 we will install the package kernel-devel which is needed by VMware Server. There are multiple kernel-devel packages available, and to select the right one you need to know your kernel version.

To find out about your kernel version, open a terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal):

Then become root by running:


Then run

uname -r

The output should look like this:

[root@localhost Desktop]# uname -r

which means you have kernel 2.6.18-8.1.3.el5 installled.

2 Installing Required Packages

Before we install VMware Server, we must install some prerequisites. To install them, go to Applications > Add/Remove Software:

Type in the root password:

The Package Manager opens. Go to the Browse tab and select:

  • Development > Development Libraries
  • Development > Development Tools

Then go to the Search tab and search for xinetd. Select the xinetd package for installation:

Do the same for the kernel-devel package. Please make sure you select the kernel-devel package that corresponds to your current kernel (so if you kernel is 2.6.18-8.1.3.el5, select the kernel-devel – 2.6.18-8.1.3.el5.i686 package).

Click on Apply afterwards.

The Package Manager will then resolve all dependencies, download the packages, maybe ask you to accept some unknown software keys (please accept them), and finally install the packages.

3 VMware Server

To download VMware Server, go to http://www.vmware.com/download/server/ and click on Download Now:

Accept the license agreement by clicking on Yes:

Then download the VMware Server for Linux .tar.gz file (not the rpm file!) to your desktop (e.g. to /home/falko/Desktop):

To get the serial number you need to run VMware Server, go to http://register.vmware.com/content/registration.html. Fill in your personal details. Afterwards you will get a page with a serial number for VMware Server. Write it down or print it out:

To install VMware Server, open a terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal) and become root:


Then go to the location where you saved the VMware Server .tar.gz file, e.g. /home/falko/Desktop (replace falko with your own username!):

cd /home/falko/Desktop

Unpack the VMware Server .tar.gz file and run the installer:

tar xvfz VMware-server-*.tar.gz
cd vmware-server-distrib

The installer will ask you a lot of questions. You can always accept the default values simply by hitting <ENTER>. When it asks you

In which directory do you want to keep your virtual machine files?
[/var/lib/vmware/Virtual Machines]

you can accept the default value or specify a different location where you have more free disk space, e.g. like /home/falko/virtual_machines, but this is up to you and not necessary.

At the end of the installation, you will be asked to enter a serial number:

Please enter your 20-character serial number.

Type XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX or ‘Enter’ to cancel:

Fill in your serial number for VMware Server.

After the successful installation, you can delete the VMware Server download file and the installation directory:

cd ../
rm -f VMware-server*
rm -fr vmware-server-distrib/

You will now find VMware Server under Applications > System Tools:

When you start it, select Local host:

With VMware 2.0 The most noticeable change is that the vmware server console is … gone.

Afterwards, you can create virtual machines (or import your virtual Windows machine that you created with VMware Converter):