My laptop doesn't have an internal optical drive. I have to use an external blu-ray drive connected to the USB 3.0 port. I want to insert a Linux LiveCD and then have a VM boot from it. I'm seeing from a basic Google search that there are several options available to boot from a USB thumb drive but no discussion about an external USB optical drive. I've attempted to use the PLOP boot device that seems to be popular with this kind of issue but that doesn't seem to recognize that the CD is bootable.
When I tell it to connect the CD-ROM drive it only has "auto detect" as an option and since I don't actually have an internal CD-ROM drive to begin with it doesn't make sense to choose SATA, SCSI, or IDE as its type. If it matters, my USB Controller is using USB 3.0 as it's compatibility setting.
I'm essentially trying to boot from USB but from a CD-ROM through the USB port. I hope that makes sense.
I know that I could probably convert the disk into an ISO and then boot from that but I don't want to do that if I can avoid it. I can't help but think that this should be within the capabilities of VMware Workstation.
I doubt that Plop can handle USB 3.
You should try to auto-detect the drive and assign it as IDE drive - make sure to check the "connected at boot" box.
But honestly - by far the easiest approach is to use an ISO-file.
Trying to boot via USB definetely is the most advanced option - which is also the most likeley to fail.
I don't have a USB optical drive to try but this has worked for me with bootable USB 2.0 thumb drives.
Set the firmware for the VM to EFI. "Power On to Firmware" and then from the Removable Devices menu connect the USB CD ROM device.
The VM firmware can be set to EFI in the Options - Advanced and check the box for "Boot with EFI instead of BIOS" or the manual way is to add the line firmware = "efi" in the vmx file.
In case the USB drive does not appear in the EFI boot list after connecting the USB device you may have to add the following line in the vmx file.
bios.bootDelay = 7000
The value is in milliseconds so 7000 is 7 seconds. You can adjust the time accordingly to give you enough time to connect the USB device from the Removable Devices menu before the virtual EFI powers up so that it sees the USB device in the boot list.
You might also have to try between USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 compatibility.
OP should specify the LiveCD he wants to boot - we can not assume that it has the required boot-files to boot via EFI-firmware
That's a valid point continuum. This disk is not a vanilla LiveCD that'd you'd get from say Ubuntu or Linux Mint, per se. The disk boots up to a minimal-ish CentOS environment with some extra rpm packages and some startup scripts. I've confirmed that the disk does in fact boot up when used in a physical machine. It is NOT specifically designed to be booted up using an EFI BIOS but rather the traditional BIOS.
I'm not so sure it matters precisely what bootup disk I'm using. I'd like to know to how to do this with any bootable disk even if it were a vanilla Ubuntu LiveCD or similar.
I've tried the two previous suggestions with little success so far. I've confirmed in the vmware.log that my optical drive is detected as a USB device at bootup but it doesn't seem to think it's bootable.
Why dont you simply use an iso-file ?
If the CD does not have the files required to boot from EFI firmware most of the suggested workarounds will fail.
Anyway - using an ISO is by far the easiest and most reliable approach
I recognize that that is a viable workaround but it does not answer the topic question. If the answer to the topic question is "it's not possible, because...", then that's the answer I would prefer to receive. If the answer is "it is possible, and this is how to you do it..." then that's what I hope to receive. I'm already aware of the workaround and I'll admit that I've already moved on and done precisely that. But I don't feel like I should mark this post as answered if it hasn't actually been answered.
I dont care at all wether you mark this post as answered or not.
If you are looking for a final answer you should tell us if your CD has the required EFI-bootfiles or not.
Without that info you will not get a final answer