CSE home virtual machines can be run using software from VMware. If your machine runs Windows or Linux, you can use VMware Player, which is free to everyone (in the world). If you have a Mac, you can run VMware Fusion, which is free to CSE students, those enrolled in CSE courses (http://vmware.cs.washington.edu), inexpensive for other UW students (http://www.vmware.com/vmwarestore/academicstore.html), and still pretty cheap for everyone else.

1) Obtain and Install VMPlayer

You can download VMPlayer for free from here:


Select the Windows version if you are using Windows at home.  Once downloaded simply click on the file to start installation.  Take the default answer for any questions you are asked.

NOTE: If your home machine is running Linux make sure it is running a 64-bit version of the operating system.  If the output of the command "uname -a" contains the string "x86_64" then you are OK -- download the "Linux 64-bit" version of VMPLayer.  Install the software by typing the command

                bash downloaded-file-name

Take the default answer for any questions you are asked.

2) Obtain the CSE HomeVM image.

Make sure you have enough free space on your home machine disk.  The download file is approximately compressed 4GB and will require approximately 8GB of space when unpacked.  By default the image  files will be unpacked in the folder where the downloaded file resides. Once unpacked you can delete the original download file.

Go to https://vmimages.cs.washington.edu/mostrecent/.

If your home machine is running Windows, download the "Zip file" version and unpack the file.

If your home machine is running Linux download the "Gzip tar file".  Unpack the image files by running the command "tar xzf downloaded-file-name".

3) Connect the VM image to VMPlayer

Run the VMPlayer application on your home machine.  On a Linux machine you can do this by simply type "vmplayer" on the command line or in the GUI by navigating "Applications -> System -> VMware Player".  On Windows there should be a VMplayer icon on your desktop.

When VMplayer starts running, click on the "Open a Virtual Machine" link.  Navigate to the folder where you unpacked the HomeVM image.

Click "OK".  Then click on the left-side tab that appears containing the VM name, which should be something like "uwcsefNN-YYYY-MM-DD".  Click "Play virtual machine".

4) Personalize Your Virtual Machine

Login as user A. Happy User, by clicking on that name. No password is required.  Once logged in, click on the terminal icon in the upper right corner of the the top toolbar (tool tip: "Setup New User"). You will be asked to provide a password for the root account; YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS root PASSWORD FOR MAINTENANCE PURPOSES.  You will also provide a username and password for your personal account. If you are part of CSE, use the same username as your CSE account. If not, any account name you'd like is perfectly fine. After answering the prompts, your virtual machine will reboot. After rebooting the login box will reappear, but this time with the user name you just supplied.


Note Well:  These are extremely simplified instructions and do not contain much explanatory material.  More information, including some troubleshooting information can be found at: https://www.cs.washington.edu/lab/software/homeVMs/linuxVM#install