VMWare Writelock Disk Error

VMWare is virtual machine software that lets you run a guest operating
system inside your operating system without having to reboot your
computer. This article covers an error that can happen which prevents
VMWare from starting up in the event of a crash. Note that I have only had
experience with this error on Linux systems, and it no longer appears to be
an issue with VMWare Workstation 4.5 and greater.

When starting VMWare, you may receive the following errors if it
crashed (or your system crashed) while you were using it:

“Unable to open either the disk ‘win98se-0.vmdk’ or the redo

“Failed to configure disk ide0:0. The virtual machine cannot
be powered on with an unconfigured disk.”

This means VMWare was shut down without powering down the virtual
machine and left behind some files which lock the virtual disk files. To
fix it, you need to delete any of the write lock files which are named
.WRITELOCK in the Virtual Machine directory.

This is a sample listing of a VMWare virtual disk directory:

-rw------- 1 chris users    
18664 2004-03-22 10:45 nvram
-rw-r--r-- 1 chris users    
11549 2004-03-23 09:33 vmware.log
-rw------- 1 chris users 575340544
2004-03-22 17:27 win98se-0-s001.vmdk
-rw------- 1 chris users  
  65536 2004-03-22 10:45 win98se-0-s002.vmdk
-rw------- 1 chris
users       389 2004-03-22 10:47 win98se-0.vmdk
-r--r--r-- 1 chris users       11 2004-03-18 09:07
-rw------- 1 chris users     397
2003-12-15 19:08 win98se.vmdk
-rwxr-xr-x 1 chris users    
1558 2004-02-09 10:29 win98se.vmx
-r--r--r-- 1 chris users  
    11 2004-03-18 09:07 win98se.vmx.WRITELOCK

In this example you would delete the write lock files named
win98se-0.vmdk.WRITELOCK and
then power up the virtual machine again.

Since upgrading to the 4.5 branch of VMWare I have no longer
experienced this problem.

Please also refer to this post on the VMWare message boards for another reason for getting this message and a possible solution.

Open firewall ports for MSN Messenger and ICQ

To connect to MSN Messenger and ICQ instant messaging servers through a firewall you will need to open up outbound ports to connect to them. This article describes which ports to open and has an example of how to do it using a Dynalink RTA200 ADSL router.

Editing the hosts file on Windows Vista

On Windows Vista the hosts file has a higher level of default security than earlier versions of Windows and it cannot be edited by a regular user unless the permissions are changed, or you run your text editor as administrator. This post looks at how to edit the hosts file on Windows Vista using notepad.

Apple Magic Trackpad on Windows (not Boot Camp)

I started using an Apple Magic Trackpad yesterday and already far prefer it to a mouse (I’ll do a review of it next week once I’ve used it a bit more). This post has a link to a page which shows how to connect a Magic Trackpad to a Windows machine that’s not on Boot Camp and a few observations I made when attempting to connect.

Use an Apple Magic Trackpad on Windows

This article at Digital Inspiration shows how to use a Magic Trackpad with your Windows PC. It has links to the driver files to download from Apple and 7-Zip which you will need to extract the necessary files. You’ll obviously also need to be able to connect to bluetooth devices with your Windows PC. In my case I had a Bluetooh dongle which did the trick nicely.

Issues I had and solutions

I had some issues trying to connect the trackpad in the first place but the main issue turned out to be that it was still connected to my Mac, even though it was a floor below where I was and there were a few walls inbetween me and the mac; so you may need to disconnect it from the Mac first.

The other thing I needed to do was keep hitting the on button on the right side; it kept turning itself off after every 5 seconds (or thereabouts) which prevented it from connecting to the Windows PC. This may have been a continuing issue with the Mac being in range and may not affect you.


I only just connected the trackpad to the computer I am writing this on a few minutes before writing this post, so haven’t had much of a chance to play around with it yet, but the following do work:

  • it uses tapping by default for clicking
  • one finger moves the mouse as expected
  • two finger scrolls up and down and left and right as expected
  • to click and drag you have to use the same finger; on a Mac you could e.g. use your thumb to click and then drag with the other finger
  • double finger tap does a right click (same as on a Mac)

On the downside, I have found:

  • no inertial scrolling (but then I didn’t actually expect it)
  • sometimes a tap does a click-drag type of thing and you end up selecting all (or some of) the text on a web page or dragging stuff all over the place

I haven’t tried any other gestures yet (and don’t expect them to work anyway) and will update this post if I find anything else useful or interesting.