Install ReactOS in VMware
This guide gives you sound, a smooth mouse, copy paste between guest and host, and you can drag files from ReactOS to your host but not in the opposite direction. Resolution doesn't change when resizing VMware, but you'd want to use stretch anyway, because unless you have an old low res monitor, things are going to be super tiny.
- Create a (typical) new virtual machine and choose Windows XP Professional
- Select your ReactOS iso in the next step
- Click next until finished with the guide (feel free to configure disk space, memory, etc.)
- Boot and install ReactOS
- In ReactOS, double click Applications Manager on the desktop and install Firefox
- Search for "vmware tools 10.0.12", the last version supporting Windows XP, and click the first or second link for the x86 exe (this page)
- Install typical or complete version of VMware Tools
That's it. The fact that you can use VMware Tools for Windows XP shows that ReactOS is indeed an impressive reimplementation of Windows. And using it for old school win32 C development is a breeze.
If the mouse is laggy, then try again without removing USB Controller from the vm's hardware. This controller is added when selecting Windows XP, but if you choose Other when selecting what OS to install, you have to add it yourself. The reason you need USB is because VMware Tools doesn't work with PS2.