I’ve recently been developing an Excel-based Dashboard that connects to either Mercury Interactive’s Test Director or Hewlett Packard’s Quality Centre or “Application Lifecycle Management” tools. However, in order to test the Dashboard, I needed access to a copy of one of these tools. Hopefully this should give you a brief explanation and pointers on how to run a copy up in a VM of Windows 7. I don’t intend to go through all the details of configuring HP ALM, as that is unique to you and your environment, but hopefully this should give you some pointers.

The best bet for me was to run it on Windows 7 (since I don’t actually have any Windows Servers), although you can also run it on Linux or Unix boxes. The official statement for HP ALM is that it will NOT run on Windows 7. However, there is a workaround.

In order to do that I needed to download several applications:

VMWare Player
HP ALM evaluation copy
Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition with Advanced Services Service Pack 3
WinZip
ISORecorder 3.1

The first thing I did was download an evaluation copy of HP ALM. You need to register for an HP Passport before you can, but that is relatively painless (it’s just a login ID). Be warned, the zip file comes in two parts: a 300mb file and then a 1.5gb file, which will then extract to a 2.5gb iso. You do need something like WinZip to extract this ISO properly.

Creating the Virtual Machine

I then installed a copy (legal!) of Windows 7 professional into a Virtual Machine. After trying Microsoft’s own product that came with Windows 7 Professional, together with Oracle VM VirtualBox, I settled on VMWare Player which allowed a virtually pain free installation. Note that VMWare Player doesn’t allow snapshots like the other virtualisation hosts do, but it was the most reliable for what I needed. Microsoft’s own functionality point blank refused to support Windows 7 64 bit in a VM, and although Oracle’s VM VirtualBox was quite handy, it wasn’t so neat and quick on the install.

Update: Over the last year (2013), Oracle VM VirtualBox has come on in leaps and bounds in terms of stability and ease of use, such that I would now recommend it over VMWare Player, particularly since it also allows you to create snapshots.

Installing HP ALM

For neatness sake, I first extracted all the files from the HP ALM ISO using WinZip. I then changed the files that I needed, and created a new ISO using ISORecorder. The alternative is to load up HP ALM in your VM, run the installation and then edit the file after installation and re-run the configurator from the Windows Start Menu, but I found that to be slightly unreliable.

Depending on whether you are using a 32- or 64-bit version of Windows on which to install HP ALM, you need to edit one of the following files from the ISO:

ALMInstallationWin32TARGETDIRrun_after_finish.bat
ALMInstallationWin64TARGETDIRrun_after_finish.bat

Find the line that begins:

REM set SKIP_VALIDATIONS=-wOsValidator -wLicenseTypeValidator

and remove the “REM”, then save the file and reintegrate it into the ISO. You might as well integrate the SQL Server Service Pack as well, by copying it over the existing version at:

ALMInstallationWin32sql_express
ALMInstallationWin64sql_express

Once I had installed the OS to the VM, I then attached the ISO as a drive and started up the VM. The first thing to do is run the SQLEXPR_ADV.EXE (AKA Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Advanced SP3, following the instructions to install SQL Server.

Next, run one of the following executables:

ALMInstallationWin32setup.msi
ALMInstallationWin64setup.msi

HP ALM should now install, although there is a fair amount of configuration for you to do. Use the default configuration for JBOSS unless you have also installed IIS and want to configure that manually.

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