Notes on Installing Solaris on a PC, using VMWare

VMWare allows you to install a second operating system on your PC. It is not the same as dual-boot, but it has certain advantages, mainly that it presents a standard hardware set to the second operating system. This solves the issue of searching for lots of drivers for the solaris install. Also it makes backing up the state of the second operating system very easy, which is useful if you are trying things that might break the system.

  1. Download VMWare Server from VMWare ( You have to register, but it's free.
  2. Install VMWare
  3. Create a new virtual machine;
    These settings work, but others might too:
  4. Download Solaris from Sun (

    You have to register, but it's free. You can download the CD (ISO) images and install directly from those, no need to burn the actual CDs.

  5. Install Solaris

    Choose the defaults, but de-select Kerberos. The following disk config seems to work well and provides a little flexibility for expansion:

      slice	filesys	start	size
      0	/	131	1024
      1	swap	3	128
      2	[backup]
      3	/ex/ho	1155	512
      4		1667	256
      5		1923	256
      6		2179	256
      7		2435	256
      8	[full disk]
  6. After installation completes, system info & registry will start automatically. You can cancel to complete later, or enter the login information from your Sun registration.
  7. The following command will allow you to set a system name
    setuname -n SYSTEMNAME
  8. If you have previously downloaded system patches, copy them to /var/sadm/spool
  9. Get any additional patches:
    smpatch download
  10. Back up any newly download patches to your patch storage location
  11. Install patches, using smpatch or the graphical patch manager interface (Launch -> Applications -> Utilities -> Update Manager)
  12. To install download-only patches:
    1. copy the patch file (.jar) from /var/sadm/spool to /var/spool/patch
    2. right-click, expand
    3. init 1
    4. patchadd /var/spool/patch/PATCHNUMBER
    5. init 3
  13. Install VMWare Tools:
    1. [VM window menu] VM -> Install VMWare Tools...
    2. copy to /Documents/download
    3. unzip files (rt-clk, Extract Here; refresh to see files)
    4. ./
      use defaults
    5. mv /etc/hostname.pcno /etc/hostname.vmxnet0
    6. mv /etc/dhcp.pcn0 /etc/dhcp.vmxnet0
    [ TO RUN TOOLS: /usr/bin/vmware-toolbox ]
  14. Fix screen resolution

    In the following, substitute your native monitor resolution for 1440x900 in the italicized parts, and set the values which follow to then next even mutiple of 100 (don't know why this works but it seems to).

    1. backup /etc/X11/xorg.conf
    2. edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf
    3. in Section "Monitor" Identifier "vmware", add:
      ModeLine "1440x900" 100 1440 1500 1600 1700 900 1000 1100 1200
    4. in Section Screen, add 1440x900 "Display" Subsections (depth 24), and remove all other "Display" Subsections except VGA
    5. after boot, screen may be wrong; right-click, choose correct setting
  15. Fix network indicator in system tray: right-click on icon, choose vmxnet0
  16. Install OpenOffice
    1. download software and install guide from
    2. transfer .gz file to /var/spool/download/
    3. rt-clk; extract here; refresh
    4. cd /Documents/download/OOF680_m14_native_packed-1_en-US.9134/packages
    5. echo action=nocheck >admin
    6. echo conflict=nocheck >>admin
    7. echo idepend=nocheck >>admin
    8. pkgadd -a admin -d . openoffice*

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