Using your physical disk with vmware server to boot Windows XP

By thomas, 26 January, 2007
If you use your physical disk with vmware and see this message while booting: NTLDR is compressed There is an incompatibility between vmware's detection of your hard disk and your real bios's detection. A hack to get past this is to make an NT Boot floppy and tell the floppy to boot Windows from the Hard Disk.

NT Boot Disk

Follow the instructions from Microsoft (KB305595), or the following. Locate ntldr, and boot.ini on your system. They should be in the i386 directory, or in a subdirectory of /WINDOWS You can access the boot.ini file by opening the System control panel (right click My Computer and select properties). From the system control panel, select Advanced, then Startup and Recovery, click settings. Click the edit button "To edit the startup options file manually". The file that opens is the boot.ini file. Format a disk on your system using format a:. Do not make this a boot disk, just format the disk. Copy the three files onto the disk. You should only have the three files, ntldr,, boot.ini on the floppy. (This will not work if you made the floppy a bootable floppy, the io.sys file is read before ntldr and you go into dos instead of NT, for a detailed explanation see this). Reboot with the floppy to verify your boot disk works.

Boot Image

If your boot disk works, copy it to your vmware directory using dd
dd if=/dev/fd0 of=/var/lib/vmware/MyProfile/bootfloppy.img
Then, configure your vmware to use the bootfloppy and you should be booting happily.