VMware Workstation

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VMware Workstation
VMware Workstation 11.0 icon.png
VMware Workstation v11.0 icon
WMware Workstation 11.1 screenshot.png
Screenshot showing VMware Workstation 11.1 on Windows 7
Developer(s) VMware
Initial release 1999[1]
Stable release 12.1 [2] / 8 December 2015; 2 months ago (2015-12-08)
Development status Active
Operating system Windows
Platform x86-64 only[3]
(version 11.x and above, previous versions were available for x86 as well)
Type Hypervisor
License Freeware (Workstation Player) Trialware (Workstation Pro)
Website www.vmware.com/products/workstation/

VMware Workstation is a hosted hypervisor that runs on x64 versions of Windows and *nix operating systems[4] (an x86 version of earlier releases was available);[3] 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 EMC Corporation. An operating systems licence is needed to use proprietary ones such as Windows. Ready-made Linux VMs set up for different purposes are available.

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,[5] as it was and free from any post-snapshot damage to the VM.

VMware Workstation includes the ability to designate multiple virtual machines as a team which can then be powered on, powered off, suspended or resumed as a single object, useful for testing client-server environments.

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.[6] VMware Workstation Player, like VMware Player[7] before it, is free of charge for non-commercial use, or for distribution or other use by written agreement.[8] (Workstation Pro is also available for download for a free trial period, and is easily confused with the unlimited-time restricted-functionality version.)

In January 2016 the entire development team behind VMWare Workstation and Fusion was disbanded and all US developers were immediately fired.[9][10][11][12] The future of these products remains vague however the company promised that development would continue.


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.[13]

ZDNet examine the suitability of Workstation 12 for testing Windows 10, finding it suitable for the purpose.[14]

Version history[edit]

Color Meaning
Red Unsupported release
Green Current or still supported release
Blue Future release
Version Release Date Significant Changes
1.0 1999 First release
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
  • Workstation 8 is the first version that requires an x64-compatible CPU.
9.0 23 August 2012
  • USB 3.0 support for Linux and Windows 8 guests
  • OpenGL driver for Linux guests
  • Improved graphics subsystem
  • Restricted Virtual Machines
  • New operating system support
10.0 3 September 2013
10.0.1 24 October 2013
  • Improved compatibility with some AMD Piledriver CPUs
  • Easy Install support for Windows 8.1 RTM and Windows Server 2012 R2 RTM
  • Fixes for certain hangs and freezes
10.0.2 17 April 2014
  • The compatibility and performance of USB audio and video devices with virtual machines has been improved.
  • Resolved an issue that prevents a USB device from being connected to Linux RHEL 5 guest operating system.
  • Easy installation option supports Windows 8.1 Update 1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 as a guest operating system.
  • OpenSUSE 13.1 is now supported as a host operating system.
  • Resolved an issue causing burning CDs with Blu-ray drives to fail while connected to the virtual machine.
  • Resolved an issue that caused using Microsoft Word and Excel in unity mode causes a beep.
  • Resolved an issue causing host application windows to be blanked out in the UAC dialog on the Linux host of the Windows 8 virtual machine.
  • Resolved an issue that prevented the Sound Card from being automatically added to the VM when powering on the virtual machine on a Linux host.
  • Resolved an issue that could cause a Windows 8.1 guest operating system to display a black screen when launching Metro style applications in the launch menu.
  • Resolved a hotkey conflict in the Preference dialog of the KVM mode.
  • Resolved a compatibility issue of GL renderer with some new Nvidia drivers.
  • Resolved graphics errors with for Solidworks applications.
  • Resolved an issue causing virtual machines imported from a physical PC to crash on startup.
  • Resolved an issue about shared folder when the user read and write file using two threads.
  • Resolved an issue that caused Linux virtual machines to see stale file contents when using shared folders.
  • Resolved the virtual machine performance issues when using the E1000e adapter.
  • Resolved an issue preventing Workstation from starting on Ubuntu 14.04.
10.0.3 1 July 2014
  • VMware Workstation 10.0.3 has been updated to the OPENSSL library version openssl-0.9.8za where necessary to address CVE-2014-0224, CVE-2014-0198, CVE-2010-5298, and CVE-2014-3470.
10.0.4 30 October 2014
  • Fixes memory issue in Workstation on Microsoft Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012.
10.0.5[15] 27 January 2015
  • At power-on, a virtual machine hangs and a .dmp file is created.
  • The VideoReDo application does not display the video properly and parts of the application's screen are scrambled.
  • Copying and pasting a large file from host to guest may fail.
  • Memory leak in the HGFS server (for shared folders) causes VMware Tools to crash randomly with the error: Exception 0xc0000005 (access violation) has occurred.
  • New VMs have the same location UUID and MAC address so that the UUID and MAC address are not unique. This problem occurs with WS 9 and WS 10 VMs but not WS 7 and WS 8 VMs.
  • On RHEL 6.6, vmmon cannot be loaded due to incompatible kernel symbol versions. With gcc, kernel-headers, kernel-devel installed, vmmon module will be recompiled automatically.
  • Memory leak by the process vmtoolsd.exe when the guest NIC is disabled causes memory consumption by Workstation processes to increase over time.
  • When USB devices are autoconnected with a hub to a Renesas host controller, the devices are not redirected to the guest.
  • WS 11 license is accepted by WS 10.0.5 and future 10.0 updates.
  • When WS is installed on Linux in a non-default location, the Virtual Network Editor fails to run.
10.0.6[16] 5 May 2015
  • Fixed a problem when uploading a virtual machine with Workstation 10.0.x to ESXi 6.0.
  • Updated to OpenSSL library version openssl-1.0.1m.
10.0.7[17] 2 Jul 2015
  • Security fixes
11.0[18] 1 Dec 2014
11.1[19] 17 Feb 2015
  • Added support for VMware vCloud Air Virtual Private Cloud OnDemand
  • Bug Fixes
    • A Linux guest OS booted on EFI firmware sometimes failed to respond to the keyboard and mouse if any mouse motion occurred during a short window of time during OS boot.
    • Outlook 2010 would occasionally crash when running in Unity mode.
    • You could not compact or defragment a persistent disk.
    • The UI sometimes crashed when a user copied and pasted a file between two Windows guests.
    • Rendering corruption in UI elements in Fedora 20 guests with 3D enabled.
    • When creating a new virtual machine with SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE) 12, the Easy Install path was not available.
11.1.1[20] 9 Jun 2015
  • Critical security fix for CVE-2012-0897, CVE-2015-2336, CVE-2015-2337, CVE-2015-2338, CVE-2015-2339, CVE-2015-2340, CVE-2015-2341
    • VMware Workstation and Horizon Client TPView.ddl and TPInt.dll incorrectly handle memory allocation. On Workstation, this may allow a guest to execute code or perform a Denial of Service on the Windows OS that runs Workstation.
11.1.2[21] 15 Jun 2015
  • Security Issues
    • VMware Workstation 11.1.2 has been updated to OpenSSL library version openssl-1.0.1m.
  • Bug Fixes
    • Two interface items on the Access Control screen used the same hot-key combination.
    • Attempting to suspend a Windows virtual machine with the Sensor Diagnostic Tool running caused the virtual machine to become unresponsive.
    • Using audio conferencing software on a Windows 8 guest operating system caused a severe echo during both video and audio calls.
    • On the Windows 95 guest operating system, the mouse cursor jumped.
    • Symbolic links created within a Windows guest operating system on a Linux host did not list files under subdirectories.
    • Workstation did not display Regions in the VMware vCloud Air Subscription node.
    • Workstation could not automatically detect the Fedora 21 ISO when creating a new Fedora 21 virtual machine.
    • Under specific conditions, when the alipaybsm.exe file was installed on the Workstation host, network service was disrupted.
    • After connecting to vCloud Air from Workstation, no virtual machines were listed in the Workstation virtual machine library.
    • Using Easy Install for the Ubuntu 15.04 guest operating system with kernel 3.19.0-15-generic prevented you from enabling folder sharing.
    • Reverting to a snapshot failed following a specific set of steps.
    • A Windows 10 guest operating system running idly caused Workstation to crash.
    • Using the Easy Install option to install the Ubuntu 14.04 or Ubuntu 15.04 guest operating system failed to install VMware Tools.
12.0.0[22] 24 Aug 2015 The following features have reached end of life in Workstation 12 Pro and have been removed:[23]
  • Unity mode on Linux guest and host operating systems
  • Virtual Debugger Visual Studio
  • Connection to the VMware vCloud Air subscription service

Added support for, amongst other things:

  • Later operating system versions, including Windows 10
  • DirectX 10 and OpenGL 3.3
  • IPv6 NAT
12.0.1[24] 29 Oct 2015 Maintenance release that resolves some issues.
12.1.0[25] 8 Dec 2015 Maintenance release that resolves some issues.

Host OS support[edit]

Supported operating systems on host computers[26]
Operating system Supported by
VMware Workstation
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[27]–10.0
Windows 10 11.0 and later
Windows 8.1 10.0 and later
Windows 8 9.0 and later
Windows 7 7.1 and later
Windows Vista 6.0–10.0
Windows XP 3.0–10.0[28][29]
Windows 2000 2.0–6.5[30][31]
Linux distributions See VMWare KB 2088579[32]


  • VMware Workstation Player (formerly known as Player Pro),[33] free for non-commercial use; a licence may be purchased for commercial use, also providing eligibility for paid support.[34]
  • VMware Workstation Pro[35]

The features of the versions are compared on the VMware Web site.[34]

VMware Tools[edit]

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:
    • VESA-compliant graphics for the guest machine to access high screen resolutions
    • Network drivers for the vmxnet2 and vmxnet3 NIC
    • Ensoniq AudioPCI audio
    • Mouse integration
  • Drag-and-drop file support between host and guest
  • 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[36] With Workstation 12, Windows 10 Unity support was added, but Linux no longer supported Unity.[23]

Third-party resources[edit]

Ready-to-use virtual machines[edit]

Many ready-made virtual machines (VMs) which run on VMWare Player, Workstation, and other virtualization software are available[37] for specific purposes, either for purchase or free of charge; for example free Linux-based "browser appliances" with the Firefox or other browser installed[38][39] 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.[39] 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.

Other tools[edit]

  • PowerWF[40] - 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "IEEE Xplore - Abstract Page". Ieeexplore.ieee.org. 2011-09-27. doi:10.1109/MCSE.2010.92. Retrieved 2012-09-13. 
  2. ^ https://pubs.vmware.com/Release_Notes/en/workstation/12pro/workstation-121-release-notes.html
  3. ^ a b "Processor Requirements for Host Systems". VMware Workstation 9 Documentation Center. VMware. Retrieved 12 December 2012. 
  4. ^ http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2129859
  5. ^ Warren, Steven (2008-11-20). "Snapshots in VMware Workstation". Blogs.techrepublic.com.com. Retrieved 2012-09-13. 
  6. ^ VMware Web site, VMware Workstation Player Pro
  7. ^ "VMware Player 4.0 EULA". VMware. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  8. ^ "Download VMware Workstation Player (free)". VMware Web site. Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  9. ^ "VMware Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2015 Results (NYSE:VMW)". ir.vmware.com. Retrieved 2016-01-28. 
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ Miller, Ron. "VMware Confirms Layoffs In Earnings Statement As It Prepares For Dell Acquisition". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2016-01-28. 
  12. ^ chipx86. "A Tribute to VMware Workstation, Fusion, and Hosted UI". ChipLog. Retrieved 2016-01-28. 
  13. ^ Serdar Yegulalp (15 October 2015). "Review: VMware Workstation 12 gets a shine for Windows 10". Infoworld.com. Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  14. ^ Ken Hess (9 September 2015). "VMware Workstation 12 Pro is your gateway to Windows 10 adoption". ZDNet. Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  15. ^ https://www.vmware.com/support/ws10/doc/workstation-1005-release-notes.html
  16. ^ https://www.vmware.com/support/ws10/doc/workstation-1006-release-notes.html
  17. ^ https://www.vmware.com/support/ws10/doc/workstation-1007-release-notes.html
  18. ^ https://www.vmware.com/support/ws/doc/workstation-11-release-notes.html
  19. ^ https://www.vmware.com/support/ws/doc/workstation-111-release-notes.html
  20. ^ https://www.vmware.com/support/ws/doc/workstation-1111-release-notes.html
  21. ^ https://www.vmware.com/support/ws/doc/workstation-1112-release-notes.html
  22. ^ https://pubs.vmware.com/Release_Notes/en/workstation/12pro/workstation-12-release-notes.html
  23. ^ a b Wil van Antwerpen. "VMware Workstation 12 discards unity support for Linux » PlanetVM". Planetvm.net. Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  24. ^ "VMware Workstation 12 Player Version 12.0.1 Release Notes". VMware. Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  25. ^ "VMware Workstation 12 Player Version 12.1 Release Notes". VMware. 8 December 2015. Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  26. ^ http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/search.do?cmd=displayKC&externalId=2088579
  27. ^ https://www.vmware.com/support/ws4/doc/intro_hostreq_ws.html
  28. ^ https://www.vmware.com/support/ws3/doc/ws32_intro2.html
  29. ^ https://www.vmware.com/support/ws5/doc/intro_hostreq_ws.html
  30. ^ http://windowsitpro.com/systems-management/vmware-workstation-20
  31. ^ https://www.vmware.com/support/ws65/doc/releasenotes_ws650.html
  32. ^ http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2088579 Retrieved 18Aug2015
  33. ^ "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. 
  34. ^ a b "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
  35. ^ "VMware Workstation Pro". vmware. VMware, Inc. 2015. Retrieved 2015-08-25. 
  36. ^ "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 
  37. ^ "Directory of VMs with 1539 entries as of 7 January 2011". Vmware.com. Retrieved 2012-09-13. 
  38. ^ "Browser Appliance". Vmware.com. Retrieved 2014-04-05. 
  39. ^ a b Browser Appliance. Includes brief documentation, including "autoRevert on shutdown"
  40. ^ "powerwf.com". powerwf.com. Retrieved 2012-09-13. 

External links[edit]