created a bootable USB with these instructions:
in particular the rufus tool was key to making this painless.
must also do:
sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade
or the 'ubuntu software' tools won't work/broke when i tried to install emacs.
creating a shared drive with windows host:
with virtual mx shut down, go to 'edit virtual machine settings', select vmware options tab, select drive to share and name it
the drive will appear under /mnt/hgfx/ when you turn virtual machine back on