The only time I have ever used VMware was in a college class I recently was in. In am not an expert an setting up VMware although each of us did have to install Red Hat 7.3 under VMware in class. In the class we did not use a dial-up connection. While running RH 7.3 we did assign an IP address, subnet mask, default gateway and a hostname for the computer. Under VMware we used a different IP address for Linux than what Windows XP used. Both IP addresses were only slightly different because they were both within the same portion of the network. The network portion of IP address was the same as for Windoze XP, only the host portion of the IP address was slightly different.
Oddly enough, even though the computer had only one network interface card, both Windows XP and Linux could access other computers at the same time even though each had a different IP address. Win XP and Linux could also ping each other using their seperate IP addresses even though they were actually running on the same computer at the same time using just one network interface card. In the class we had one lab exercise where we installed another browser under Linux and I do not recall having to do anything special to make it work. I might have forgotten a detail or two however.
I did not install the VMware itself, so I do not know how to set-up everything. Do you have a dial-up Internet connection, DSL or broadband or what? I am not sure how to do all of the above. If you have Linux set up properly, from Linux you should be able to ping the IP address that Windows XP uses. From WIndows XP you should also be able to ping the IP address that Linux uses. As I mentioned earlier they should be slightly different addresses. Each operating system should also be able to ping its own loopback address which for all computers would normally be 127.0.0.1? In a network such as at the college both Linux and Windows should also be able to ping the default gateway. If you could ping some of the above IP addresses but not other IP addresses that could be releveant.
You probably already know this, but at the command line in Linux you can type the following command and path to see what IP address, subnet mask and default gateway you are using:
Make sure that for Linux all appropriate information was there and that the Linux IP address is just slightly different (probably in the last octet of numbers). Then go into Win XP and bring up a window for entering DOS like commands and use this command:
Notice that the command for Windows is almost but not quite identical. You can then compare what IP address, subnet mask and default gateway Win XP is using. I am not yet an expert at all this and am still trying to learn more. I have more experience with Red Hat than Mandrake by the way. I hope some of what I said was helpful. What I like best about Vmware is that it is possible practice networking computers together with various operating systems without actually needing to own more than one computer.