In order to use a virtual machine, you will first need to install VMware onto your machine. There are several different versions of VMware available:
VMware player is a basic piece of software to run virtual machines. VMware Player is publicly free, but it is limited in the amount of "fiddling" you can do with your virtual machines. You can download VMware Player here: http://www.vmware.com/download/player/
Students with a Computer Science department login/password can download a one year, licensed copy of VMware Workstation or Mac Fusion for free. In order to obtain the VMware software, login to http://clipper.cs.ship.edu/cgi-bin/elms.cgi with your clipper credentials.
When you log into the store, select your desired VMware software. (Workstation for Linux/Windows and Fusion for Mac).
One you've selected your product, add it to your cart. The price should be listed as FREE. Note that you will have to renew this purchase in 12 months.
Once VMware downloads, you can install it to your machine!
You can continue "purchasing" the available software in the store in this fashion. Once you are done, you can visit your shopping cart (the link is at the top of the page) and checkout. Once your order has processed, click the "Your Account" link at the top of the page. This takes you to a page with a list of all of your purchases.
If you click on a purchase, you will be taken to a screen where you can download the software. This screen also has the serial number of your product, which is necessary in order to use the software for the first time.
Dr. Briggs did a Tech Talk on the specifics of virtual machines. If you would like to see the videos of the discussion or read the summary, visit Dr. Briggs Tech Talk Week 2.