1 2 Previous Next 16 Replies Latest reply: Jun 28, 2005 12:03 PM by magi RSS

    Will VMWare boot to a USB ThumbDrive?

    r0b Novice

      I have been trying to make this happen, but have as of yet, had no luck...

       

      I have tried to verify through the "BIOS" that it can boot to USB, but see no option.

       

      Setting the ThumbDrive into the USB port and opening a VMWare is fruitless for me also.

       

      I would HIGHLY like to see this feature integrated into VMWare as the testing that I have done, it has met all of my needs, other than that one.

       

      I work with bootable ThumbDrives frequently and would like to incorporate my test lab into the VMWare entirely...

       

      Thank you for your time in advance!

       

      Rob.

        • 1. Re: Will VMWare boot to a USB ThumbDrive?
          jlandin Enthusiast

          Try setting the VM to use a physical disk, and point it to the physical USB drive (block device) as seen by the host OS.

           

          I don't have a bootable thumb drive handy to test this with but I see no reason why it wouldn't work. This is a beta after all, we're supposed to beat it up.

          • 2. Re: Will VMWare boot to a USB ThumbDrive?
            r0b Novice

            I don't understand what you mean by "block device".

             

            All I know is that if I try to do it with the hard disk, I get the choices of 0:0 - 1:1...  I only have one hard disk connected to those choices at slot 0:0...

             

            As with the Floppy choice, I can only select either an image or physical A:...

            • 3. Re: Will VMWare boot to a USB ThumbDrive?
              petr Champion VMware Employees

              I don't understand what you mean by "block device".

               

              That's problem with those Windows people...

               

              All I know is that if I try to do it with the hard

              disk, I get the choices of 0:0 - 1:1...  I only have

              one hard disk connected to those choices at slot

              0:0...

               

              When you'll try to add raw SCSI disk to the VM while your USB drive is connected to your host, one of available devices for "rawdiskification" should be your USB drive.

               

              But if you are using Windows host, you probably do not want to do that - Windows unconditionally mount filesystems they known, so you would corrupt disk by accessing it from both host and guest.

              • 4. Re: Will VMWare boot to a USB ThumbDrive?
                r0b Novice

                "That's problem with those Windows people..."

                 

                What exactly is this to mean?

                • 5. Re: Will VMWare boot to a USB ThumbDrive?
                  petr Champion VMware Employees

                  "That's problem with those Windows people..."

                   

                  What exactly is this to mean?

                   

                  That they are missing basic terminology.

                  • 6. Re: Will VMWare boot to a USB ThumbDrive?
                    r0b Novice

                    So instead of being a dick about it and knocking the person asking the question, why not try to explain it so maybe that user learns something.

                     

                    Remember, not everyone is where you may be, some of us are still learning.

                     

                    There's a difference between a newbie and a lamer...  Try getting it right...

                     

                     

                    Message was edited by: r0b

                    • 7. Re: Will VMWare boot to a USB ThumbDrive?
                      Master

                      So is the problem that you can't set a USB device to "start connected" like you can with other removable devices?

                       

                      One thing you could try (and I admit this is clumsy) is:

                      1) power on the VM

                         - the USB drive won't be connected yet.  Ignore the

                           resulting boot failure.

                      2) connect the USB drive to the VM, then reboot the VM:

                         - if the drive is physically disconnected and you have

                           the VM set to autoconnect USB devices, then click in

                           the VM's display to grab, and plug in the USB device.

                           Then press Ctrl-Alt-Ins.

                         - or, use the VM->Removable Devices menu to connect the

                           USB drive, then VM->Send CtrlAltDel.

                       

                      Now the VM should be booting with the USB drive connected; if the BIOS is set to boot from the USB drive it should just work, or you can grab and hit Esc during the BIOS logo screen to invoke the boot order menu.

                      • 8. Re: Will VMWare boot to a USB ThumbDrive?
                        petr Champion VMware Employees

                        So instead of being a dick about it and knocking the

                        person asking the question, why not try to explain it

                        so maybe that user learns something.

                         

                        I believe I did it - second part of my answer told you what you can try, without using term 'block device'.

                         

                        And well, block device means block device.  There are character devices, where smallest unit you can operate on is one character - like keyboard, printer, serial port - and block device, where smallest unit you can operate on is block - like hard disk, CDROM, floppy... or USB Thumb Drive.

                         

                        For direct accessing block devices VMware offers rawdisk interface, which you can use.  But you must guarantee that nobody else (== your host) will not write data to the device.  It is simple with Linux, or if there are no partitions Windows understand with Windows, but if your host is Windows, and there are partitions Windows understand, they'll automatically mount drive, and accessing it from guest corrupts it

                         

                        Besides that, you can access your drive through generic SCSI interface (as USB storage devices are based on SCSI), or generic USB access.  Unfortunately neither of these two will allow you to boot from that device.

                        • 9. Re: Will VMWare boot to a USB ThumbDrive?
                          r0b Novice

                          Thank you for the tips, I tried them, but unforunately I still can not boot from this USB device...

                           

                          I have it so that VMWare can see the device, but I don't have a choice for it in the BIOS.

                           

                          I can see that the VM is trying to boot from the Floppy, Cd, then right to PXE...

                           

                          Even if I hit ESC and try to select the "Removable Devices" choice, it does nothing and moves on to PXE...

                           

                          Thank you for your effort magi!

                          • 10. Re: Will VMWare boot to a USB ThumbDrive?
                            Master

                            Hmm, I thought our BIOS had boot-from-USB support, but evidently not.  So the only option for now is the rawdisk workaround mentioned above (with caveats) to make it look like a SCSI device to the VM.

                            • 11. Re: Will VMWare boot to a USB ThumbDrive?
                              r0b Novice

                              Right on, well thank you for taking the time to at least make me not feel technically inept...  ;p

                               

                              I'm really not that bad with computers...

                               

                              But I couldn't figure out how to get it to work.

                               

                              It's nice to know that it isn't a feature.

                               

                              Though if added, it would be greatly appreciated! 

                               

                              Thank you again!

                              • 12. Re: Will VMWare boot to a USB ThumbDrive?
                                continuum Guru User Moderators vExpert

                                I think the USB-drive connected as SCSI-raw-disk will not be able to boot.

                                Maybe booting from a floppy is a way to work around this.

                                If the guest is XP or higher it is worth giving it a try.

                                • 13. Re: Will VMWare boot to a USB ThumbDrive?
                                  Lawrence Enthusiast

                                  The problem is that a lot of newer PCs don't come with floppies (that how we order ours).  The PCs can easily be booted from USB, so why bother with a floppy (which is so slow).

                                   

                                  It would really be nice if VM Worstation v5 supported this feature, that way for HelpDesk folks testing deployment scenarios, setups, etc., there is an ability to minic the physical world.  Lacking USB boot support isn't a small thing for us.

                                   

                                  And silly comment above regarding Windoze folks not knowing basic vocabulary, many may not, but that's no excuse for using ancient terminology only used in some circles and not others (especially when the 'other' is SOOO much larger than the first).  It reflects poorly on the person who talks in a general forum with *nix and Windows people, and uses terminology used almost exclusively in one of those realms, not both, rather than using common terms.

                                   

                                  I'm not an OS bigot.  OSes ONLY role is to stably run apps.  Its the Apps that I care about.

                                  • 14. Re: Will VMWare boot to a USB ThumbDrive?
                                    continuum Guru User Moderators vExpert

                                    Every VM has a virtual floppy-drive and floppy-images but as fast as harddisks.

                                    So there is really no reason to discard this option before you have tried it - don't compare this way of booting into an installed Windows with booting from flop[pies for install. This is a completely different story.

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