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I've started using VMware virtual machines for all of my software development projects and have a few questions for others doing the same thing.

First, how can you rename the virtual machine and the name of the virtual hard drive? I have a base development machine that I clone for different projects. I'd like to name the machine and it's hard drive according the the project (right now when I copy them via cut and paste, the file names remain the same and I can only organize them by putting them in a specific directory).

Second, what is the best way to back up a virtual machine? Is it possible (by breaking the virtual hard drive up into chunks instead of one big file) to get incremental backups working? It seems time machine always tries to make a copy of the whole thing which is time consuming because each virtual machine is around 30GB.

Finally, how slow would it be to have a virtual machine shared on an NFS mount on a wireless N network and used from multiple computers (but with only one person using it at a time.) Would it be more reasonable on a gigabit lan connection?

Thanks for your input! And please feel free to share any advice or wisdom about using virtual machines for software development and the best ways to speed them up!

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This should probably be three questions. I wanted to upvote because two of these are good questions, but didn't upvote because they really should be separate. – Josh Mar 17 '10 at 3:07
Good point, I'll make sure to break up questions in the future. – user31273 Mar 17 '10 at 18:48

I found the answer to the first question, how to rename the virtual machine, it's files, and it's hard drive so it's easier to organize things if you clone one virtual machine for each new development project.

You can use the command (in the VMware directory) vare-vdiskmanager -n "orig name" "new name". I've tested it on Mac, Windows, and Linux and that part works. Reference and more details

That renames the virtual hard disk, but the VM isn't renamed yet and the VM needs to be told the HD name changed.

First edit the .vmx file and change the line that references the old name of your hard drive, in my case this was

scsi0:0.fileName = "old name"

Then you can safely rename all the files in the VM directory that do not end in .vmdk (the non virtual machine disk files) to the new name of your virtual machine.

Finally, inside your VM Library you change the name that shows up on the list to match the new name and you're all set!

Seems like there should be a simpler way, but after a lot of frustration, I now know the above works!

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