Running Ice Cream Sandwich in VMware

A few days ago I've blogged here, here and here about Android-x86 ports of Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) running in Virtualbox. In XDA developers forum I found a question, how to run ICS x86 in VMware player/workstation. Good question. Although there is no .vmdk version of ice cream sandwich out yet, I managed it – and I will show the steps how to do that below.


Searching the web brought no result – neither a ice cream sandwich .vmdk image nor a how to brew your own ics version for VMware player. After thinking a bit, I begun experimenting.

After installing Virtualbox and downloading the ics vdi image file, we need to convert this file to a VMware .vmdk disk. The steps how that can be done in a comfortable way are described here.

Configuring an Android 4.0 VM in VMware player

After converting the .vdi disk to a .vmdk file or a .vhd virtual disk (I have choosen the more universal .vhd disk type as output format during conversion) it's time to setup a VM in VMware workstation (or player). Below are the steps for VMware workstation 7.x – please adjust for VMware player 3/4 or workstation 8.

  1. Select File –> New –> Virtual Machine in VMware window or press Ctrl+N to invoke the configuration wizard.
  2. Select custom (advanced) checkbox and click Next in the wizard's start dialog box
  3. Confirm Hardware compatibility as "Workstation 6.5-7.x" and click Next.
  4. Let the option I will install the operating system later checked and click Next.
  5. Choose Linux as guest operating system, set Version to "Ubuntu" and click Next.
  6. Let the number of processors and the number of cores at 1 and click Next.
  7. Set the amount of Memory for the virtual machine to 512 MB and click Next.
  8. Set Network Type to Use bridged networking and click Next.
  9. If the dialog box below is shown, just click Next (VMware doesn't provide an option to select IDE Controller).
  10. Choose Use an existing virtual disk and click Next.
  11. Select the existing .vhd or .vmdk virtual disk file using the Browse button and click Next.
  12. Confirm Keep Existing Format and click OK. And at least close the wizard using Finish.

After processing the steps above, a VM with ice cream sandwich should be configured. All you need to do is: select the VM and launch it. After a few seconds the VM should boot and 5 to 10 seconds later the ice cream sandwich look screen should be visible. Just drag the closer to the right border to unlock and have fun.

Notes: If boot stalls with "init: cannot find /system/bin/servicemanager", something with the integrated disk went wrong. I've had this issue after converting my .vdi file to a .vhd file. Then I edited the VMware config file and changed the SCSI controller to IDE controller (see here). If I converts .vdi file to .vmdk disk, this error doesn't occur.

Also VT-X support on host is mandatory to execute Android x86 ICS in a virtual machine (VMware or Virtualbox). I don't know why this is mandatory. But today I was in contact with VMLite developers. They told me, that a .vdi image with ice cream sandwich x86 bootet on a host with VT-X support, although VT-X was disabled in options (see screenshot below). The same image won't run on a host without VT-X support.

Similar arcticles:
a: Ice Cream Sandwich-Testdrive in Virtualbox – Part I
b: Test: Ice Cream Sandwich in Virtualbox – Part II
c: Android-x86 Ice Cream Sandwich from VMLite Part III
d: Running Ice Cream Sandwich in VMware Part IV
e: Experimenting with ICS (in Virtualbox, VMlite, VMware)


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