VMware Workstation FAQs
What is VMware Workstation?
VMware Workstation is the most advanced virtualization software for desktop and laptop computers. The VMware Workstation 10 release further strengthens the product’s leadership in providing the broadest, deepest OS support (including Windows 8.1), best-in-class virtual machine architecture, the richest desktop user experience and an unmatched set of value-added features to enhance the productivity of technical professionals and the organizations they serve.
Who should buy VMware Workstation?
- IT engineers/system administrators
- Software developers and QA engineers
- Call center/help desk/tech support engineers
- Computer-based educators/trainers and their students
- Salespeople and sales engineers who run software demos
- Users who need to run Linux on Windows (or vice-versa)
- Those who need to rehost a legacy application on a modern operating system (i.e, rehost Windows XP as a virtual machine on a Windows 7 or 8 host machine)
How do I try VMware Workstation?
You can download a full working version for free, for up to 30 days, here.
How does VMware Workstation work?
VMware Workstation works by creating fully isolated, secure virtual machines that encapsulate an operating system and its applications. The VMware virtualization layer maps the physical hardware resources to the virtual machine's resources, so each virtual machine has its own CPU, memory, disks, and I/O devices, and is the full equivalent of a standard x86 machine. VMware Workstation installs onto the host operating system and provides broad hardware support by inheriting device support from the host.
What types of applications can I run in a virtual machine?
Any application that will run on a standard PC will run inside a virtual machine on VMware Workstation. VMware Workstation is the equivalent of a full PC, with full networking and devices — each virtual machine has its own CPU, memory, disks, I/O devices, etc. This allows you to run any application that runs on the supported guest operating systems, including Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, Apache Web Server, Microsoft Visual Studio, Kernel debuggers, Firewalls, VPN software and much more.
Do I need to dual boot or repartition the disk?
No. VMware Workstation uses your computer's file system and creates files that map to a virtual machine's disk drives, so there is no need to create a partition for each operating system. If you already have another operating system with dual boot installed on your computer, you can use VMware Workstation to run the other operating system in a virtual machine on your host operating system. Instead of dual booting, you can run both operating systems simultaneously and seamlessly switch from one operating system to another with a click of your mouse.
How is each operating system installed?
Once you have installed VMware Workstation, you "configure" a virtual machine by assigning it memory, disk, ports, and networking. You then power on that virtual machine with the operating system installation CD or ISO image. The virtual machine will boot, and the operating system will start its normal install procedure.
Does VMware Workstation modify the host or guest operating systems?
No. Your host operating system environment treats VMware Workstation like an application. No modifications need to be made to the guest operating system when it is installed on a virtual machine. Applications on the guest operating system run exactly as they do on your host machine.
What are virtual disks?
Virtual disks are the disk partitions of virtual machines. They are stored as files on the file system of your host operating system. One of the key features of VMware Workstation is encapsulation. This means that complete environments are contained in a set of files, which can be copied, moved, and accessed quickly and easily. Since an entire disk partition is saved as a file, virtual disks are easy to back up, move, and copy. You can create virtual SCSI and IDE disks as large as 8 TB.
Does a VMware Workstation virtual machine share the IP address of the host (NAT), or does it have its own IP address?
The virtual machine can use bridged networking to receive its own IP address (when available from a DHCP server), or it can use NAT and share the host's IP address. Also, host-only networking can be set to create an isolated virtual network. Lastly, network connections can be entirely disabled for complete virtual machine isolation.
What kind of hardware do I need to run VMware Workstation?
VMware Workstation runs on standard x86-based hardware with Intel and AMD processors and on most Windows or Linux host operating systems. VMware recommends the following:
- System requirements:
- 64-bit x86 Intel Core™ Solo Processor or equivalent, AMD Athlon™ 64 FX Dual Core Processor or equivalent
- 1.3GHz or faster core speed
- 2GB RAM minimum/ 4GB RAM recommended
- Workstation installation:
- 1.2 GB of available disk space for the application. Additional hard disk space required for each virtual machine. Please refer to vendors recommended disk space for specific guest operating systems.
- Host operating systems* (32-bit & 64-bit):
- Windows 8
- Windows 7
- Windows Vista
- Windows XP SP3
- Windows Server 2012
- Windows Server 2008
- Windows Server 2003 Standard
- Windows XP Home Edition with SP2
- Ubuntu 8.04 and above
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and above
- CentOS 5.0 and above
- Oracle Linux 5.0 and above
- openSUSE 10.2 and above
- SUSE Linux 10 and above
- For Windows 7 Aero graphics support in a virtual machine
- 3GB RAM (Host PC)
- Intel Dual Core, 2.2GHz and above or AMD Athlon 4200+ and above
- NVIDIA GeForce 9900GT and above or ATI Radeon HD 2600 and above
* Please visit the VMware Compatibility Guide for a current list of supported host and guest operating systems
If you plan to run 64-bit virtual machines with VMware Workstation, please refer to the Knowledge Base article on compatible 64-bit CPUs.
Does VMware Workstation support virtual machines created with Virtual PC?
Yes. VMware Workstation can open a .VMC file or .PVS file.
What languages is VMware Workstation available in?
Workstation software and documentation is available in English and Japanese (Windows only).
What VMware Workstation options are available?
- VMware Workstation for Windows (English or Japanese) or Linux (English) Hosts
- As an Electronic Software Download (ESD) distribution, this includes license key and complimentary email support for the first 30 days after product registration.
Where can I buy VMware Workstation?
To purchase the Japanese language version, please visit the VMware’s Japanese online store.
Can I switch between Windows and Linux versions?
Yes. You can switch between Windows and Linux versions of VMware Workstation using the same license key. If you decide to switch host operating systems, you must uninstall Workstation from the host operating system you no longer plan to use. If you plan to run VMware Workstation on both a Linux and Windows host, you need to purchase two licenses.
Do I get free updates (not upgrades) when I purchase VMware Workstation?
Yes. The price of VMware Workstation includes an update service that entitles you to product updates and patches, which are new releases of Workstation within a given product version (e.g. x.1, and x.1.1, and so forth). Updates are available in electronic format only—not physical media. VMware Workstation will automatically download updates or you may download updates by visiting the Workstation Download Page.
NOTE: The price of Workstation entitles a customer to free updates, but not free upgrades. Upgrade releases contain functional enhancements or significant extensions and must be purchased separately unless you have an active support and subscription (SnS) contract.
For a more detailed definition, please read the Update and Upgrade Policy.
Are students and professors eligible to receive special academic pricing for a full license of VMware Workstation?
Yes. Students and professors can purchase VMware Workstation at our standard academic pricing by ordering directly from VMware Academic Store or by contacting VMware Sales at 1-977-4VMWARE (1-977-496-10273) in the United States and Canada, or +1-650-427-5000 elsewhere. You can also buy from a student store or a student union. Please note that proof of eligibility is required.
Can I access VMware Workstation documentation online for free?
Yes, both English and Japanese language versions are available for download in electronic format from the VMware Workstation documentation website.
Can I commercially use the copy of VMware Player that comes with VMware Workstation?
Yes, you can commercially use the copy of VMware Player that comes with VMware Workstation. It must be run on the same machine VMware Workstation is installed on.
Can I purchase a printed VMware Workstation User’s Guide?
No. The VMware Workstation user guide is available for free as a PDF download.
What if I just bought VMware Workstation 9 before VMware Workstation 10 became available?
Customers who purchased VMware Workstation from August 1, 2013 through September 30, 2013 are covered by the Technology Guarantee Program for VMware Workstation and are eligible for a complimentary electronic upgrade to VMware Workstation 10:
- If you purchased VMware Workstation 9 electronically during this time, you will automatically receive your new VMware Workstation 10 license key(s) via email before September 30, 2013. No further action is required to receive your upgrade.
What if I have an active VMware Workstation SnS contract?
Customers with Workstation license keys with active support and subscription (SnS) contracts with an end date on or after General Availability (September 4, 2013) are eligible for a free upgrade. You can get your new license keys for Workstation 10 in My VMware by following instructions from this KB article.
After receiving your new license keys, you can download VMware Workstation 10 software from the Download Page.
Upgrades will be available on My VMware shortly after VMware Workstation 10 becomes generally available.
What if I do not have an active VMware Workstation SnS Contract?
VMware Workstation 8.x and 9.x customers without an active SnS contract may purchase an upgrade to VMware Workstation 10 at a significant discount to the full license price.
Customers with older VMware Workstation versions (1.x, 2.x, 3.x, 4.x, 5.x, and 6.x) will need to purchase a new license.
How do I purchase Workstation 10 upgrades?
IMPORTANT: When you install a new version of Workstation, the previous version will be uninstalled from your system. Therefore, we recommend that you proceed with the upgrade only if you have a new license key. Your existing virtual machines will not be affected.
I own Workstation 8.x or 9.x (for Windows) and want to switch platforms and upgrade to Workstation 10 (for Linux), or vice versa. Can I do this at upgrade prices?
Yes. VMware Workstation offers an upgrade path from one host operating system version to another. For example, if you own a VMware Workstation 8 for Windows license you can upgrade to VMware Workstation 10 for Linux.
I have an academic copy of VMware Workstation 9.x (or 8.x), can I get a discounted upgrade to VMware Workstation 10?
Yes, you may purchase an academic upgrade from the VMware Academic Store. In order to qualify for this discount, you must currently own an academic Workstation license and be a student, parent, faculty or staff member at a qualifying academic institution.
What support comes with VMware Workstation?
Unless you have purchased additional VMware support and subscription services for VMware Workstation, VMware will provide you with limited web-based support services for the Software for a period of thirty (30) days from the date of purchase and with the “VMware Complimentary Update Service” for a period of eighteen (18) months from the date of general availability of the Software. The “VMware Complimentary Update Service” is defined in the VMware Support and Subscription Services Terms and Conditions.
What are the support options for VMware Workstation?
VMware offers two support and subscription programs for VMware Workstation: Production (24x7) and Basic (12x5). Production and Basic support is available to VMware Workstation customers when they purchase 10 or more product licenses. Along with access to the world’s largest virtualization support organization, with the most experience supporting critical applications in a virtual infrastructure, all support offerings include access to updates and patches to our products during the life of your support contract. These programs are offered on an annual or multi-year basis.
Can I use a support incident for both Workstation 9.x and 10.x?
Yes, you can purchase support incidents and open a support request for any product version that is still officially supported by VMware. See our General Support Lifecycle Policy for guidance on how long VMware supports older releases and our Personal Desktop Lifecycle Policy for guidance on more recent versions of Workstation.
Are there any free support resources available from VMware?
VMware provides a number of self-help and community supported resources including:
- Workstation Documentation — product documentation and manuals
- Knowledge Base — troubleshooting information
- Community Forum — users can share their information and experiences with others (registration required)
- User Groups (VMUGs) — live, local gatherings of VMware users
- Also, customers are eligible for complimentary installation support for the first 30 days following product registration.