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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

How to add LPT Parallel port to ESX virtual machine

Mapping Parallel Ports in a Guest Virtual Machine
To connect the virtual machine's first parallel port (LPT1) to the physical computer's
first parallel port, do the following steps:
1. Reboot the physical host and go the BIOS setup. Normally, you do it by
pressing F2 or Delete while the machine is booting. Find the parallel port mode
setting and set it to PS/2. (The choices are AT and PS/2.) If PS/2 is not
available as an option, set it to bidirectional.
2. Log on to the console operating system as root and enter the following
/sbin/insmod parport
/sbin/insmod parport_pc
/sbin/insmod ppdev
Type lsmod and confirm that these modules are in the listing of loaded
To make these changes permanent, add the three lines shown above to the end
of the file /etc/rc.d/rc.local.
3. Be sure the virtual machine is shut down and powered off, then add the
following options to the virtual machine's configuration file.
• Add an option called parallel0.present and set its value to true.
• Add an option called parallel0.fileName and set its value to “/dev/
• Add an option called parallel0.bidirectional and set its value to
4. Be sure the virtual machine is using virtual hardware version 6. Look for the
following line in the configuration file:
config.version = 6
This line should already be present in the configuration file for any virtual
machine created with ESX Server 1.5.x. and later. If the virtual machine was
created under ESX Server 1.0 or 1.1 and has not already been updated, add the
config.version = 6 line to the configuration file.
Important: When the virtual machine starts after you update the virtual hardware
version, you see a dialog box with the message “The CMOS of this virtual
machine is incompatible with the current version of VMware ESX Server. A new
CMOS with default values will be used instead.” Click OK. As the virtual machine
starts, the guest operating system may detect new virtual hardware and install
drivers for it. Respond to any messages as you would if upgrading the hardware
on a physical computer.
5. Start the virtual machine using the remote console. As it starts to boot, click
inside the remote console window, then press F2 to enter the virtual machine's
BIOS setup. Go to the Advanced I/O Device Configuration section and configure
the parallel port mode for the virtual machine to bidirectional.
Now your virtual machine can use a dongle or other parallel port device.
Important: As you start the virtual machine, you may see a message warning that the
parallel port is starting disconnected. If you do, connect to the virtual machine with a
remote console and use the remote console's Devices menu to connect the parallel
Important: Only one operating system can be connected to the parallel port at one time.

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