VMware Workstation v11.0 icon
Screenshot showing VMware Workstation 11.1 on Windows 7
12.5.2 / 13 November 2016
|Written in||F#, C, C++|
(version 11.x and above, previous versions were available for x86 as well)
|License||Freeware (Workstation Player) Trialware and commercial (Workstation Pro)|
VMware Workstation is a hosted hypervisor that runs on x64 versions of Windows and Linux operating systems (an x86 version of earlier releases was available); it enables users to set up virtual machines (VMs) on a single physical machine, and use them simultaneously along with the actual machine. Each virtual machine can execute its own operating system, including versions of Microsoft Windows, Linux, BSD, and MS-DOS. VMware Workstation is developed and sold by VMware, Inc., a division of Dell Technologies. There is a free-of-charge version, VMware Workstation Player, for non-commercial use. An operating systems license is needed to use proprietary ones such as Windows. Ready-made Linux VMs set up for different purposes are available from several sources.
VMware Workstation supports bridging existing host network adapters and sharing physical disk drives and USB devices with a virtual machine. It can simulate disk drives; an ISO image file can be mounted as a virtual optical disc drive, and virtual hard disk drives are implemented as .vmdk files.
VMware Workstation Pro can save the state of a virtual machine (a "snapshot") at any instant. These snapshots can later be restored, effectively returning the virtual machine to the saved state, as it was and free from any post-snapshot damage to the VM.
VMware Workstation includes the ability to group multiple virtual machines in an inventory folder. The machines in such a folder can then be powered on and powered off as a single object, useful for testing complex client-server environments.
2016 company changes and future development
VMware Workstation versions 12.0.0, 12.0.1, and 12.1.0 were released at intervals of about two months in 2015. In January 2016 the entire development team behind VMWare Workstation and Fusion was disbanded and all US developers were immediately fired. The company said that "the restructuring activities will not impact the existence of any current product lines", that "roles and responsibilities associated with particular businesses will be moved to other regions and office locations", and that investment would continue "with emphasis on our growth products". The future of Workstation and Fusion became uncertain. On 24 April 2016 maintenance release 12.1.1 was released. In September, same year, the company announced that "we’re very much alive and well". Consequently on September 13 Workstation 12.5 and Fusion 8.5 were released as free upgrades which added support for Windows 10 Anniversary edition and Windows Server 2016.
VMware Workstation 12 was reviewed by Infoworld. The review mainly concerns differences with earlier versions, concluding that this version has moderate improvements, mainly to support newer hardware and operating systems, that may not be worth the cost of upgrading. The review concludes that Workstation 12 is "the most performant, polished, and feature-rich desktop virtualization product available", but points out that it is the most expensive.
|Green||Current or still supported release|
|Version||Release date||Significant changes|
|3.0||1 November 2001|
|3.1||9 April 2002|
|4.0||23 March 2003|
|4.5||5 April 2004|
|5.0||11 April 2005|
|5.5||12 September 2005|
|6.0||9 May 2007|
|6.5||23 September 2008|
|7.0||26 October 2009||
|8.0||14 September 2011|
|9.0||23 August 2012|
|10.0||3 September 2013||
|10.0.1||24 October 2013||
|10.0.2||17 April 2014||
|10.0.3||1 July 2014||
|10.0.4||30 October 2014||
|10.0.5||27 January 2015||
|10.0.6||5 May 2015||
|10.0.7||2 Jul 2015||
|11.0||1 Dec 2014|
|11.1||17 Feb 2015||
|11.1.1||9 Jun 2015||
|11.1.2||15 Jun 2015||
|12.0.0||24 Aug 2015||The following features have reached end of life in Workstation 12 Pro and have been removed:
Added support for, amongst other things:
|12.0.1||29 Oct 2015||Maintenance release that resolves some issues.|
|12.1.0||8 Dec 2015||Maintenance release that resolves some issues.|
|12.1.1||21 Apr 2016||Maintenance release that resolves some issues.|
|12.5||13 Sep 2016|
|12.5.1||27 Oct 2016||Bug fixes, security updates for undisclosed vulnerabilities and performance improvements.|
|12.5.2||13 Nov 2016||This release of VMware Workstation 12 Pro addresses an out-of-bounds memory access vulnerability related to the drag-and-drop feature. This may allow a guest to execute code on the operating system that runs VMware Workstation 12 Pro.|
Host OS support
|Operating system||Supported by
|Windows Server 2016||12.5 and later|
|Windows Server 2012 R2||10.0 and later|
|Windows Server 2012||9.0 and later|
|Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1||8.0 and later|
|Windows Server 2008 R2||7.0 and later|
|Windows Server 2008||6.0–10.0|
|Windows Server 2003 R2||6.0–10.0|
|Windows Server 2003||4.0–10.0|
|Windows 10 1607||12.5 and later|
|Windows 10 1507 and 1511||11.0 and later|
|Windows 8.1||10.0 and later|
|Windows 8||9.0 and later|
|Windows 7||7.1 and later|
|Windows NT 4.0||1.0–4.5|
|Linux distributions||See VMWare KB 2088579|
There was a free VMware Player distinct from Workstation, with similar but reduced functionality, until VMware Player v7, Workstation v11. In 2015 the two packages were combined as VMware Workstation 12, with a free VMware Workstation Player version which, on purchase of a license code, became the higher specification VMware Workstation Pro. VMware Workstation Player, like VMware Player before it, is free of charge for non-commercial use, or for distribution or other use by written agreement. (Workstation Pro is also available for download for a free trial period, and is easily confused with the unlimited-time restricted-functionality version.)
- VMware Workstation Player (formerly known as Player Pro), free for non-commercial use; a licence may be purchased for commercial use, also providing eligibility for paid support.
- VMware Workstation Pro,available for a 30-day free trial before purchase but distinct from the permanently free version.
The features of the versions are compared on the VMware Web site.
VMware Tools, a package with drivers and other software, installs in guest operating systems to increase their performance. It has several components, including the following:
- Drivers for emulated hardware:
- Support of shared folders and drag-and-drop file transfer between host and guest. This functionality is described as HGFS (Host Guest File System), and may be disabled by default for security; it may be enabled by changes to the .VMX configuration file
- Clipboard sharing between host and guest
- Time-synchronization capabilities (guest synchronises with host machine's clock)
- Support for Unity, a feature that allows seamless integration of applications with the host desktop by hiding virtual monitor and drawing the windows of applications running in the virtual machine on the host. With Workstation 12, Windows 10 Unity support was added, but Linux no longer supported Unity.
Ready-to-use virtual machines
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 free Linux-based "browser appliances" with the Firefox or other browser installed which can be used for safe Web browsing; if infected or damaged it can be discarded and replaced by a clean copy. The appliance can be configured to automatically reset itself after each use so personal information and other changes are not stored. VMs distributed legally only have freely distributable operating systems, as operating systems on VMs must be licensed; ready-to-use Microsoft Windows VMs, in particular, are not distributed, except for evaluation versions.
- PowerWF - Provides a visual representation of VMware VIX scripts, converting them into workflows, or converting workflows into Powershell cmdlets and modules. VIX is VMware's addition to Microsoft's Powershell for automation of the VMware Player.
- "IEEE Xplore - Abstract Page". Ieeexplore.ieee.org. 2011-09-27. doi:10.1109/MCSE.2010.92. Retrieved 2012-09-13.
- "VMware Workstation 12 Pro Version 12.5.2 Release Notes". pubs.vmware.com. Retrieved 2016-11-14.
- "Processor Requirements for Host Systems". VMware Workstation 9 Documentation Center. VMware. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
- Warren, Steven (2008-11-20). "Snapshots in VMware Workstation". Blogs.techrepublic.com.com. Retrieved 2012-09-13.
- "Download VMware Workstation Player". VMware. Retrieved 11 May 2016. Download site for VMware Player 7.x and Workstation Player 12.x
- "VMware Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2015 Results". ir.vmware.com. 26 January 2016. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
- Cloud; Security; Australia; Vmware; Microsoft; devs, VMware axes Fusion and Workstation US; VMware says vSphere in decline, new multi-cloud plan will ensure growth; Citrix kills Sydney research lab, vows to focus on 'core products'. "VMware axes Fusion and Workstation US devs". Retrieved 2016-01-28.
- Miller, Ron. "VMware Confirms Layoffs In Earnings Statement As It Prepares For Dell Acquisition". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2016-01-28.
- chipx86. "A Tribute to VMware Workstation, Fusion, and Hosted UI". ChipLog. Retrieved 2016-01-28.
- Serdar Yegulalp (15 October 2015). "Review: VMware Workstation 12 gets a shine for Windows 10". Infoworld.com. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
- Ken Hess (9 September 2015). "VMware Workstation 12 Pro is your gateway to Windows 10 adoption". ZDNet. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
- "VMware Workstation 7.0 Release Notes". www.vmware.com. Retrieved 2016-09-13.
- "Introducing Replay Debugging: the end of the heisbenbug? - VMTN Blog". 2008-08-30. Retrieved 2016-09-12.
- "Replay Debugging – Try it Today! - VMware Workstation Zealot". 2010-01-19. Retrieved 2016-09-12.
- "Better Software Development with Replay Debugging: Goodbye, Replay Debugging…". www.replaydebugging.com. Retrieved 2016-09-12.
- "VMware Workstation 9.0 Release Notes". 23 August 2012.
- "VMware Workstation 10.0 Release Notes". 3 September 2013.
- "VMware Workstation 10.0.7 Release Notes". 2 July 2015.
- "VMware Workstation 11.1.1 Release Notes". 9 June 2015.
- "VMware Workstation 11.1.2 Release Notes". 15 June 2015.
- Wil van Antwerpen. "VMware Workstation 12 discards unity support for Linux » PlanetVM". Planetvm.net. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
- "VMware Workstation 12 Player Version 12.0.1 Release Notes". VMware. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
- "VMware Workstation 12 Player Version 12.1 Release Notes". VMware. 8 December 2015. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
- "Download VMware Workstation Player (always links to latest v12.x and previous versions and release notes)". VMware. 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
- "Download VMware Workstation Pro (always links to latest v12.x and previous versions and release notes)". VMware. 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
- "VMware Workstation 12 Pro Version 12.5 Release Notes". pubs.vmware.com. Retrieved 2016-09-13.
- Jon Brodkin (30 August 2016). "VMware says "we're not dead," updates Fusion and Workstation for free". Arstechnica.co.uk. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
- "VMware Workstation 12.5 and Fusion 8.5 - Free Upgrade - ESX Virtualization". 2016-08-31. Retrieved 2016-09-12.
- "VMware Workstation 12 Pro Version 12.5.1 Release Notes". VMware. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
- "VMware Workstation 12 Pro Version 12.5.2 Release Notes". VMware. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
- https://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2088579 Retrieved 18Aug2015
- VMware Web site, VMware Workstation Player Pro
- "VMware Player 4.0 EULA". VMware. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
- "VMware Workstation Player (formerly known as Player Pro)". vmware. VMware, Inc. 2015. Retrieved 2015-08-25.
VMware Workstation 12 Player is a streamlined desktop virtualization application that runs one or more operating systems on the same computer without rebooting.
- "VMware Player Pro: Compare to VMware Workstation 11". Vmware. Retrieved 11 December 2015. Compares Workstation 12 Player to Player 7 Pro; Workstation 12 Player (Unlicensed) to Workstation 12 Player (Licensed); and Workstation 12 Player to Workstation 12 Pro
- "VMware Workstation Pro". vmware. VMware, Inc. 2015. Retrieved 2015-08-25.
- "Use Unity Mode". VMware Workstation 9 Documentation Center. Vmware. Retrieved 2015-08-25.
In Unity mode, virtual machine applications appear on the host system desktop
- "VMware Virtual Machine Marketplace, with 3691 entries (not all still available) as of 2 June 2016". Vmware.com. Retrieved 2 June 2016.
- "Browser Appliance". Vmware.com. Retrieved 2014-04-05.
- Browser Appliance. Includes brief documentation, including "autoRevert on shutdown"
- "powerwf.com". powerwf.com. Retrieved 2012-09-13.
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