VMware Player running Ubuntu v8.04.1
|Stable release||5.0.2 / 7 March 2013|
|License||Freeware for personal non-commercial use; distribution requires permission|
VMware Player is a virtualization software package from VMware, Inc. (a company which was formerly a division of and whose majority shareholder remains EMC Corporation). VMware Player can run existing virtual appliances and create its own virtual machines (which require an operating system to be installed to be functional). It uses the same virtualization core as VMware Workstation, a similar program with more features, but not free of charge. VMware Player is available for personal non-commercial use, or for distribution or other use by written agreement. No support is provided by VMWare, but there is an active community website for discussing and resolving issues.
VMware claims the Player offers better graphics, faster performance, and tighter integration for running Windows XP under Windows Vista or Windows 7 than Microsoft's Windows XP Mode running on Windows Virtual PC, which is free of charge for all purposes.
Versions earlier than 3 of VMware Player were unable to create virtual machines (VMs), which had to be created by an application with the capability, or created manually by statements stored in a text file with extension ".vmx"; later versions can create VMs. The features of Workstation not available in Player are "developer-centric features such as Teams, multiple Snapshots and Clones, and Virtual Rights Management features for end-point security", and support by VMWare. Player allows a complete virtual machine to be copied at any time by copying a directory; while not a fully featured snapshot facility, this allows a copy of a machine in a particular state to be stored, and reverted to later if desired, e.g. after a demonstration or a virus infection test.
VMware Player is also supplied with the VMware Workstation distribution, for use in installations where not all client users are licensed to use the full VMware Workstation. An IT administrator can distribute a virtual machine created by Workstation to computers running Player without paying for additional VMware Workstation licenses.
Version history 
|This section requires expansion. (May 2012)|
|Red||Release no longer supported|
|Green||Release still supported|
|Major Version||Release Date||Significant Changes|
|1.0||6 June 2008||first released|
|2.0||28 August 2008||?|
|2.5||6 October 2008||?|
|3.0||27 October 2009||?|
|3.1||25 May 2010||?|
|4.0||4 October 2011||?|
|5.0||22 August 2012||
Many ready-made virtual machines (VMs) which run on VMware Player, Workstation, and other virtualization software are available for specific purposes, either for purchase or free of charge. For example, a free Linux-based “browser appliance” with the Firefox browser installed is available that can be used for safe Web browsing; if infected or damaged, it can be discarded and replaced by a clean copy. It can be configured to reset itself after each use without the need to recreate from the original file. VMs distributed legally only have freely distributable operating system, as operating systems on VMs must be licensed. Ready-to-use VMs with Microsoft Windows or Mac OS X, in particular, are not distributed, except for evaluation versions.
VMware Player makes use of VMware Tools, which adds significant functionality. In principle each version of Player has its own Tools not necessarily compatible with other versions. Tools can usually be downloaded from the VMware website and added after installing Player by clicking a button. Sometimes Tools are updated belatedly; for example, Player 4.0.2 was released on 24 January 2012, but the corresponding version of Tools was not available for some time after that, restricting functionality of updated Player installations.
Virtual machines created by any VMWare software can be used by any other. It is often possible to use VMs created by one manufacturer's virtual machine software with software from another manufacturer, either directly or via a conversion procedure. VMs for Microsoft Virtual Server and Virtual PC can be converted for use by VMWare software by running the VMware vCenter Converter (this software can also create a virtual machine from a physical PC). For example, a Microsoft VM can be adapted to run in VMware Player.
See also 
- "VMware Player 5.0.2 Release Notes". VMware Player. VMware. 7 March 2013. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
- "FAQs". VMware Player home page. VMware. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
- "VMware Player – The Easiest Way to Run a Virtual Machine".
- "VMware Player 4.0 EULA". VMware. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
- VMware Community website: VMware Player 4.0.2 Tools - Bad Support
- "VMware Player – Frequently Asked Questions".
- Directory of VMs on VMware website with 1539 entries as of 7 January 2011
- VMplanet VMware images of various free operating systems
- Bagside VMware images of various free operating systems
- Thoughtpolice VMware images for Linux
- VMware Browser Appliance page
- VMware vCenter Converter web page