Unfortunately, the latest Ferret is not available for Windows users. Our projects do not support us to maintain Ferret in the Windows environment.
Windows users with some familiarity of Linux or Unix are strongly encouraged to install VirtualBox, create a virtual Linux system, and install and use Ferret from the virtual Linux system. (If this is a company computer, make sure you are permitted to create virtual machines on your system.) This will allow you to also use your usual Windows programs while also using Ferret or other Linux programs.
While we cannot provide support on doing this, the following information should help you get started (if you do not have an systems administrator
that can do this for you). If you have questions about VirtualBox or the Linux system you install, please consult their help pages. We cannot provide support for these products.
You can download VirtualBox for free from http://www.virtualbox.org. Follow their instructions for installing this product. This is a very simple process.
Then download a Linux system such as Ubuntu or Mandriva (there are many others as well). Free version of Ubuntu or Madriva Linux systems you can be obtained by going to
and navigating to the download page for the free system. Download the "ISO image" (a file that would be a installation CD). Currently only a 64-bit version of Ferret is available, so you probably will want the ISO image for the 64-bit version of the Linux system. You do NOT need to create a CD from this ISO image; instead, VirtualBox uses the downloaded file directly.
To create a virtual machine:
- Start-up VirtualBox, select the "New" button to start the "Create New Virtual System" wizard. - Select "Linux" and the Operating System under "OS Type", and select the appropriate value for "Version" (Ubuntu, Ubuntu (64-bit), Mandriva, Mandriva (64-bit), etc - there are many types). If you downloaded the ISO image for a 32-bit Linux system, select the one without the "(64-bit)" tag.
- You may want to increase the base memory size if you have lots of memory on your system. I personally suggest about 1024Mb if that is in
the "green area" of the slider (less than half your Windows system memory). Realize that when the virtual system is running, that amount of memory is completely used in your Windows system memory and not available to other Windows programs.
- Create a new virtual boot hard disk with dynamic expanding storage and give plenty of space (maybe 40 to 80 GB). This creates a file on your Windows hard drive. The size setting is the maximum amount of hard disk space the virtual drive file will use, but the actual size of the file on your Windows hard drive is whatever is currently being using by the virtual machine (the Linux system).
- Select "Finish" to create the machine.
You probably want to increase the video memory for the virtual machine:
- Select the newly created machine
- Select the "Settings" button
- Select the "Display" item
- Maximize the video memory setting. Unlike system memory, the video memory is shared between the virtual machine and other Windows programs.
- Select "OK" to close the Setting dialog box
To get the virtual machine up and running:
- Start the virtual machine. It will report "FATAL: No bootable medium found! System halted". - From this new window's menubar, select Devices -> CD/DVD Devices -> Choose a virtual CD/DVD disk file...
- Navigate to the Linux ISO image file you downloaded.
- Select "Open" to close the dialog box
- From the menubar select Machine -> Reset to restart the virtual machine. It should now start and run the installation procedure for that Linux system. This installation process should include creating at least one user for the system.
When the Linux installation asks you to remove the CD before restarting:
- From the machine window's menubar select Devices -> CD/DVD Devices -> Remove disk from virtual drive.
At this point you should have a working virtual Linux system. When you start it, you can log in, download Ferret installation files (using the internet browser provided by the Linux system), and install Ferret from the command line using a console window in the Linux system. Consult the Ferret installation help pages for more information.
If you find the internet connection slower than usual, you may want to change the network adapter from "NAT" to "Bridged Adapter" to improve connection speed. This is again in the "Settings" dialog under "Network". "NAT" goes through Windows to connect to the internet, whereas "Bridged Adapter" connects directly to the network card in your system.
Again, if you have questions about VirtualBox or the Linux system you installed, please consult their help pages. We cannot provide support for these products. We have to focus on helping people with Ferret and improving Ferret.