General FAQ & Best Practices

VMware Hands-on Labs are a free, online portal created by VMware which provides access to the latest products in a tested and documented, cloud-based, virtual lab environment.

Please use our Compatibility Checker to make sure your browser is current, and your network will support the service. Checker is automatically available when first starting the lab or here:

No. The VMware Hands-on Labs are fully licensed, tested and documented environments you can access using any modern browser.

No you cannot. This violates VMware license agreements and can put you and your organization in direct violation of our terms and conditions.

Because this is a shared, online resource, labs cannot be preserved indefinitely. You can take labs as often as you would like - there are no restrictions and it is not expected that you finish a lab within the given time frame (1.5 hours). Your session will be preserved for your active session; at the end of your time, your lab will expire freeing up resources for others. Most labs are built modularly so you do not need to start from the beginning. It is recommended you complete modules in their entirety, but you can jump to any module desired when starting, or re-starting, a lab. For example, doing modules 1 and 2 one day and then numbers 3 and/or 4 a week later.

Yes, with the "Extend" button in the console – top of the navigation screen, near the lab title, next to the time remaining clock. Every click of the Extend button gives you additional lab time. You may click the Extend button up to eight times, for a total lab time of 9.5 hours.

This percentage is simply the amount of time spent divided by the amount of time given. It may not correlate to the amount of lab tasks you have completed but is beneficial for understanding time spent and if a time extension may be needed.

We have over 80 labs on the latest VMware Products and Solutions, including vSphere, Workspace One, NSX, vSAN, vRealize Suite, VMware Cloud plus Cloud Native Application development offerings and many more.

We develop content throughout the year with a focus on VMworld. Please continue to check back and look for the ‘New’ flag to find updated content. The first two numbers in the lab SKU will correspond to the fiscal year that lab was developed in. For example, HOL-2126-01 is the NSX-T lab being developed in VMware’s FY21.

We support the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer / Edge.

We recommend you have at least 300 - 500 Kbps of bandwidth per client and 240ms or LESS of latency. We find taking a lab in a shared Wi-Fi network may result in a less than optimal experience. If you do not have complete control of your Wi-Fi network we recommend you use cabled, dedicated networking. To test your networking go to

Yes, of course. Please visit for the full list of labs manuals in both formats and the languages available.

Yes, by updating your general preferences after logging into the HOL environment. Please visit for more details.

This can be done easily after your lab has started. An explanation is available in the intro section of each lab manual. You can highlight the text to copy and ‘grab’ it then drag into the VM window. See our YouTube video for more details.

Most labs, if pre-populated, will load in 3-5 minutes. IMPORTANT: Labs often run background set up scripts. We recommend, once labs are loaded, users spend a few minutes reviewing the lab manuals first to allow the labs to “warm” up.

The VMware Learning Platform is an application developed by VMware to manage the lab, user and infrastructure requirements. It is available for customer purchase.


Yes you can, for the duration of your lab experience. You can resize your desktop the way you normally change a Windows desktop resolution. Keep in mind this will increase the bandwidth you use. Right click on the desktop and go to Screen Resolution. Alternatively, adjusting the zoom within your browser window to improve visibility of menus and scroll bars is recommended.

The VMware Learning Platform does support SSL to make sure all credentials are encrypted but the initial site is found using HTTP, not HTTPS. If your organization requires HTTPS use

There are lots of new features added every release cycle – some of our favorites are:

  1. Split Screen This feature is great for users that want to read the lab manuals on a separate screen – this model also works on iPads and Android tablets. 
  2. Surveys Ratings When a lab is ended, users are presented a survey to provide direct feedback to the HOL team helping improve our content now, and in the future. 
  3. Localization Support HOL provides labs in multiple languages including the lab manuals, which are critical to ensure global adoption. For instructions on changing to a different language please read: 
  4. Odyssey New HOL gamification! An exciting way for users to test their skills and showcase their expertise. More information available here:


  1. If the lab is not working at start-up, check that the lab is ready.
  2. If the Lab Status is RED and says TIMEOUT, end the lab and start a new one
  3. If Lab Status is RED and does not say TIMEOUT, wait for the lab to go READY; the text should update within 5-10 minutes. If the text does not update, end the lab and start a new one.
  4. If the user has started working on steps and something is not working, confirm that the previous steps in the module were completed as documented (double check spelling, case sensitivity, etc.)


Here are some basic tips: 

  1. Make sure you are using the latest version of the supported browsers, clear your cache / cookies and reload.
  2. Make sure you are able to reach the labs through your network by trying to take the lab in a different network - sometimes corporate networks have proxies that will deny a console connection. 
  3. Make sure you meet the recommended bandwidth and latency requirements to run the lab correctly (see questions on the network speeds above). • 
  4. Check to see if the network you are in has deployed anti-virus. These are very hard to spot and the best way to see if your local network is causing the trouble is to test it from a different network

Please be sure your local networking meets our minimum requirements. You can do so by running our compatibility checker which will verify multiple items including your available bandwidth - The results will give you some guidance on how well your lab will run based on the distance from our data centers. Take a screenshot of the results and include it if you reach out to our alias for help.

Please ensure you are running a supported browser by running the compatibility checker mentioned previously: This is typically seen in old versions of Internet Explorer.

This is typically caused by not accepting 3rd party cookies. Please also ensure you are logging into the right tenant and connecting to the portal at this site: (unless specifically provided another location, like at VMworld or a partner conference).

There are 3 things you can do: 

  1. Make sure you did not miss any prior steps in the Lab Manual. 
  2. Make sure the lab Status on your Desktop indicates the lab is ready. 
  3. End your lab and start a fresh lab. If none of these steps work, please be sure to send us a note with a detailed description of the problem here:

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