Running Linux in a VM
If your system doesn't meet those requirements, you will need to be running Linux, or dual boot your machine so you can run both Linux and Windows. We strongly suggest you use the Ubuntu 12.04 64-bit version. If your machine doesn't have 64-bit support, you can use the 32-bit version. Once you have Ubuntu installed, please follow the directions here.
Download Ubuntu 12.04
Download link to Ubuntu 12.04 64-bit version.
Go to the VMPlayer website and click the 'download' link. Download the VMPlayer that's appropriate for your operating system (e.g. Windows or Linux 64-bit), and install it.
Linux VMPlayer installation instructions
The VMPlayer download comes as a .bundle file. That's a binary executable, that will launch a setup wizard.
$ ls -l total 181056 -rw-rw-r-- 1 sarah sarah 185386101 Apr 26 22:19 VMware-Player-5.0.2-1031769.x86_64.bundle
chmod a+x VMware-Player-5.0.2-1031769.x86_64.bundle
Tip: Be careful about what you run as root! The root user has access to all the files on your system, so you usually don't want to run arbitrary commands as root. Always run commands without sudo, and without changing to a root terminal, where ever possible.
Running Ubuntu 12.04 in a VM
The next screen is your computer's information. The "Name" will be used for the machine name, and shown in all terminal prompts, so pick something short and sweet. You can change the Location of your VM independent of what you name the machine.
The next screen is hardware info. Increase the disk size to 40 GB, and chose "Store virtual disk as a single file". This makes it easier to copy the VM image from computer to computer. Uncheck "Automatically Start the VM".
Before you start the VM, you need to make some adjustments to the emulated hardware. Click "Edit virtual machine settings". Now, adjust the amount of memory available to the VM to be the recommended amount of memory. You also want to adjust the number of CPUs available to the guest. It should not be more CPUs than you have available (e.g. if you have a dual core, it should not be more than 2). Click the 'Save' button.
Once you've adjusted the emulated hardware, start the VM by clicking "Play virtual machine". If a "Removable devices" window pops up, click "ok". On the Software Updates window, click "Download and install".
After Ubuntu 12.04 has finished installing, you can proceed to these instructions