Running Fedora 11 in Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 SP1

There are some wonderful open source network monitoring tools out there.  A few that I want to try only run in a unix/linux environment.  I don’t have any spare hardware nearby so I decided to install linux in a virtual machine.

Getting Fedora (RedHat’s free linux distribution) to install and run in a Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 SP1 Virtual Machine was somewhat less than painless.  On a Core 2 Duo Laptop it required the following steps:

  • Disable hardware virtualization in the BIOS.  Not sure why, Debian seemed to work with it enabled.
  • Append noapic nolapic noreplace-paravirt to the options passed the kernel on boot.  This was done by pressing tab at boot and manually adding the options to the end of the kernel boot line.  This prevents several “unrecoverable error system will restart” and “kernel panic” messages on boot.
  • After install but before running the installed OS, append vga=791 to avoid unreadable/pixelated graphics.

Most of these steps are outlined in this very helpful post at Kartones Blog (though he was working with Debian).

Anyone whose had to go through this pain is asked, “Why didn’t you use {VMWare, VirtualBox, Xen, etc…}?”  Virtual PC 2007 is free and was already on the local network.

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