Installing Novell Netware 6.5 under Virtual Server

A while ago now I posted about configuring the network drivers for Novell Netware.  Now I would like to go through installing different versions of Novell Netware – starting with the latest edition: Novell Netware 6.5.

You can download an eval version of Novell Netware 6.5 from here:

It even has an evaluation license file on it that allows you to run for 90-days with up to three clients (which is plenty for those of us who are just interested for personal curiosity).  Once you have the install media you should create a new virtual machine with at least 512mb RAM and an IDE virtual hard disk (you can use SCSI under Virtual Server but with a NetWare guest it will perform worse than IDE).  The install is fairly straight forward but there are a couple of issues to be aware of:

  1. Netware does not support running on a Centrino processor – so if you try to do this on your brand new Intel laptop – Netware will just crash.

  2. There are no Virtual Machine Additions available for Netware.

  3. Netware 6.5 has an updated Java engine (which is used for most of the graphical applications) that runs much faster in real hardware than older versions of Netware.  Unfortunately under Virtual PC / Virtual Server the new Java engine chews up a bunch of resource to launch.  This means that whenever you start an application the desktop will appear to freeze for a while before the application starts.  Once the application has started performance will be okay (this also causes a long freeze when first starting the desktop).

  4. As with all versions of Netware you will need to manually load the fixed drivers (link) for our emulated network card.  However this is harder with Netware 6.5 as for some reason it refuses to work with our floppy drive.  I know of two ways to work around this:

    1. Put the drivers on a separate CD and load them off of that.  The trick to know here is that when you create the driver CD you need to give it an easy to remember CD label as you will need to tell the installer to load the drivers off of <CD_LABEL>:

    2. You can use a tool like WinISO ( to put the drivers in the DRIVERSLAN directory on the install CD.  This is my preferred approach as this way the installer just picks up the right drivers and you do not have to fiddle with it at all.

And here you can see it running under Virtual Server:

Netware 6.5 under Virtual Server   Netware 6.5 under Virtual Server   Netware 6.5 under Virtual Server   Netware 6.5 under Virtual Server   Netware 6.5 under Virtual Server

Just to reiterate though – the performance is *bad*!  It is really only useful for curiosity and personal education.  Please do not think that you can use this for a production server environment.