VMware does of course offer the possibility to use a named pipe, but you can only connect to it after the image has started running, which may result in bootup messages being truncated. And if you use the VMware option of directing serial to a file, then you can no longer interact.
Com0com solves this problem nicely by creating a pair of virtual COM ports, that are always available, and that you can use with VMware on one end, and putty or HyperTerminal on the other.
The only problem however is that, as of version 18.104.22.168, the current com0com drivers are unsigned. However, since I had a driver signing certificate begging to be used (before it expired), I have now made a signed version of the drivers available, so that you can easily install com0com without having to change the boot properties of your Vista or Windows 7 installation.
The signed 22.214.171.124 com0com drivers can be obtained here. They are compatible with any Windows 10, Windows 8.x, Windows Vista or Windows XP system.
Important Note: It is not because the signing certificate for the com0com driver above is now expired that this driver is invalid and/or should not be used. Timestamping was used at the time of the signature, therefore the driver package above is exactly as good as one using a non expired certificate. If signed driver packages ceased to be valid after the certificate expired, this would close the door for developers using a code signing certificate that they renew on a yearly basis, as it would require their users to upgrade their driver of applications every single year, which is of course nonsense. In short, regardless of what the expiration date on the certificate is, this driver package is no less usable or less safe that one with a non expired certificate.
Note that I stripped the GUI installer, so only the commandline one is available. Even with commandline, the installation is very easy however. All that you need to do is:
- Download and extract the files (using 7zip if needed)
- Open an elevated command prompt in the i386\ (32 bit) or x64\ (64 bit) directory
- Run the command:
- Enter the install command:
install - -
- Accept the prompts.
CNCB0, which you can use, one with VMware, and the other with putty.
Now you don't have to miss any bootup messages and you can use an interactive COM port that pesists regardless of the power status of the virtual machine. Enjoy!