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- Most Windows XP builds can be activated.
- Windows Vista 5112-5219 can be activated, however the cracks are a little bit harder to find (modded XP cracks).
- Windows Vista build 5259 & 5270 cannot be activated easily (might need to look that up), as a result launching explorer from IE disables the Themes service and limits you from running more than 3 programs (much like starter mode). It is possible to bypass activation, however that explodes the timebomb and you won't be able to logon.
- Windows 7 builds 6801 and later can be activated (including 6956) using a batch script which deletes activation files from the system (SLUI).
- Windows 7 builds after the RC (7100) can be activated by a crack which works on RTM (7600) (including the E version of 7264).
At the level of VMware Workstation 14.x & 15.x
- Windows Vista build 5048 can have Aero without problems, however it relies on CPU processing so it makes the system extremely slow on lower-end hardware.
- Windows Vista build 5112 can have Aero in VMware, although no one knows how to enable it (I did get somewhere after fixing the corrupted registry and a lot of tweaking, however the rundll32 command always crashes when attempting to enable Aero. Even replacing all DWM related files with modded ones does nothing.)
- Windows Vista build 5219 and later can have Aero, although it is extremely buggy and almost unusable.
At the level of VMware Workstation 7.1.2
- Windows Longhorn build 3706 and later immediately crash the entire display and the system upon enabling DCE.
At the level of VMware Workstation 6.5.x
- Windows Longhorn build 3706 and later work, however it depends on the hardware tested on. (On my ancient Core2 laptop from '06, the sidebar crashes.)
Note: Higher is better and the builds at the bottom of the list are usually the worst.
- 5259.3 (Very Stable)
- 4074 (Awesome Aero)
- 4029 (Good sidebar)
- 3718 (Plex)
- 5112 (Aero is a pain to enable)
- 4093 (A bit interesting)
- 4084 (Worst build ever)
- 6956 (interesting UI)
- 7264 E (E is good)
- 7000 (Stable)
- 6801 (Vista-ish)
Windows XP Family
- 2462 (Localized in many languages)
- 2419 (Watercolor theme)
- 2223 (Business theme)
- Starter (Terrible)
|Windows Build||Stability||Activation||VMware Compatibility||VMware Tools?||Rating||Notes|
|Windows 7 build 6956||Stable||Yes (script)||Yes; Supports Aero||Requires XP version; breaks Aero||Excellent||Has interesting UI features absent in later builds, 1st to include the "betta" fish wallpaper.
Activation can somehow break Windows Defender and invalidate its signature.
|Windows 7 build 7264||Near-RTM Stability||Yes (RTM methods)||Yes; Supports Aero||No||Excellent||The only build to feature the E SKU.
Windows Update works to an extent providing Windows Defender security updates.
|Windows Vista build 5048||Very Stable||Yes||Yes (needs at least 2 CPU cores to have a fluid Aero experience)||No (Installer breaks)||Excellent||Very nice build, small in size and lightweight on hardware (excluding Aero), has some bugs.|
|Windows Vista build 5112||Depends on hardware||Yes||Aero is unsupported||No||Okay||Introduces some major changes to the OS and doesn't support Aero except on LDDM-compatible drivers.|
|Windows Vista build 5259.3||Depends on hardware||No||7.1.x range required to enable Aero||No||Very Good||Aero is very interesting in this build + Cool-looking start menu.|
|Windows XP Family|
|Windows FLP||Lightweight and Stable||Not Needed||Yes, to an extent||Yes||Very Good||Light and fast, although it lacks most XP accessories.|
|Windows XP Starter||Stable||Untested||Yes, at the level of XP Home||Yes||Terrible||Worst OS ever, limits everything you do and doesn't even respond to
NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM requests.
Installing VMware Tools on Longhorn
- You can either use this package (Tools v14), or manually install it yourself.
- To install (skip steps 2-3 & 7-8 if you are using the above package):
- Be sure to de-timebomb and remove the activation, or else the timebomb will explode after the installation.
- Insert the Windows XP tools iso and start the setup.
- Ignore any error messages that may appear, and instead do not click OK and go to
- Find the VMware Tools temporary install folder and copy it to somewhere else, and click Ok for the setup itself after this.
- Set the Windows XP Compatibility to
vcredist_x86.exeand install it.
- If your Windows Installer version is >=3.1 then skip this step, else set again the Windows XP Compatibility to
instmsiw.exeand install it.
- Download and install Application Verifier.
- Open up the verifier, add the file
C:\Windows\system32\msiexec.exe, and enable the Compatibility --> HighVersionLie using the values of
Major Version = 5; Minor Version = 1; Build Number = 2600; Service Pack Major = 2; Service Pack Minor = 2
- Install the msi package of VMware tools (
VMwareTools.msi), and follow along the installation.