More on VMWare Server supports x64 Windows hosts

From time to time I have the pleasure of receiving 64-bit hardware from our hardware partners. I use these systems for testing Windows, other Microsoft and competitor products. Recently I downloaded the beta version of the free VMware Server product and installed it. Purpose was to test the 64-bit guest OS support which we currently do not have in Virtual Server or Virtual PC.

I installed the product on my Ferrari 4000, powered by a Turion64 processor. Install was a smooth ride. I had to uninstall a previous installed VMware Player. A new guest OS profile, Windows XP x64 Edition, was quickly created and it booted up as expected. RIS install over the network worked like a charm and the complete 64-bit guest was ready to roll in about 35 minutes. Test passed.

The second test I wanted to try is on one of my Intel based x64 non-branded systems. Kind of the latest gear from Intel. Unfortunately I do not have permission to share the hardware config nor the processor details (pre-production unit). I guess I want to adhere to this policy as I want to continue to receive sample hardware from our partners.
As for the test, I installed the VMware Server and tried to configure the same type of 64-bit guest. No luck. 64-bit guests are not supported on this type of hardware. Too bad. I called our internal Intel support and they provided contact information but unfortunately this went nowhere. I will try VMware instead. They already stated that their support for EM64T hardware may not work in the current version. We'll see.

Did someone else successfully install VMware Server beta on an EM64T system AND was able to install a 64-bit guest - Windows or non-Windows experience welcome!

Comments (3)

  1. Kenny Kerr says:

    EM64T isn’t enough to get 64-bit guests on Intel. You need EM64T processors that also include Intel VT. Currently your best bet is to get an Intel Pentium D model 920 or later all of which sport dual cores, EM64T, VT and other now standard features such as DEP. Unfortunately I currently only have the Pentium D 820 which does not include VT so I don’t actually speak from experience. Here’s Intel’s feature sheet for Pentium D processors:

  2. Jack says:

    Why would hardware support for VT be a requirement for 64-bit guests?

  3. Kenny Kerr says:

    I don’t have a clear answer for that but I do know that Microsoft’s current and future virtualization technology as well as VMware’s products won’t support 64-bit guests without hardware support.

    My guess is that hardware support just makes it far simpler to solve the problem so they’d rather take advantage of modern processors from Intel and AMD than reinvent that stuff in software especially when it comes to scenarios like running 64-bit guests on 32-bit host operating systems on x64 hardware.

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