BackTrack is a Linux distribution which comes configured with a set of tools and a menu layout designed to assist with pentesting. The distribution is available as an ISO image which can be burned to a CD (although, at 854MB it's a bit big for most CDs) becoming a bootable Live CD. It is also available as a VMware image which allows the distribution to be run in a virtual machine (VM) on the desktop.
The VMware image was created using VMware Workstation 6, but may work under Workstation 5.x - I don't know, I haven't tried because I wanted to install BackTrack into a new virtual machine under VMware Workstation 5.5.9.
There's a handy pdf guide to installing BackTrack 4 beta to a hard disk drive available at the [remote-exploit forums]  and following the guide to the letter results in a hassle-free installation. Before getting to the stage where I could follow this guide, I had to set-up a new virtual machine and create a virtual disk large enough for my needs. Every time I do this, I choose the wrong options and end up having to redo the VM set-up - usually because the distribution can't detect the virtual disk due to my choice of SCSI adapter type.
Here then are the steps required to set-up a VM in preparation for the hard drive installation:
- File > New VM > Custom > Linux (Other Linux 2.6.x kernel).
- Name the VM and select a location for it.
- Choose the number of processors you want the machine to use.
- Choose the amount of memory available to the machine.
- Select use bridged networking.
- Choose the BusLogic SCSI Adapter.
- Create a New virtual disk.
- Choose the recommended SCSI interface.
- Choose disk options (I went for 8GB, with all space allocated now and split into 2GB files).
- Choose a filename for disk file.
- Wait for disk creation to complete.
That's the VM created. Now it's only a case of downloading the ISO image file and editing the VMs CD-ROM connection to "Use ISO image" and pointing it to the BT4 ISO.
After starting the VM and logging in as u:root p:toor you are ready to follow the hard drive install guide.
It's worth noting that BackTrack 4 is based on Ubuntu and as such, it may be easier to select Ubuntu as the guest operating system instead of "Other Linux 2.6.x kernel" when setting-up the new VM. I haven't tried this and I'd love to know if anyone has had success, or otherwise, with that choice.