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VMware Workstation 5.0 Release Notes


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Notes on VMware Workstation 5, Build 13124

Build 13124 is a release build of VMware Workstation 5.

The release notes contain the following:

Key New Features in Version 5

Teams feature makes it easier to manage connected virtual machines and simulate real-world multitier configurations.

Accelerate and simplify the process of developing multitier enterprise applications by creating a team -- a collection of virtual machines and the private network segments that connect them. You can then specify real-world network characteristics for the connections between the virtual machines in a team, including network bandwidth and percentage of packet loss. You can also perform power operations -- such as power on, power off, suspend, resume -- on the team, as well as specify the order in which the connected virtual machines power on and off. A console view displays active thumbnails of all the virtual machines in a team, allowing you to switch from one to another easily.

Multiple snapshot and snapshot management capabilities make it easier to capture and manage multiple configurations.

Workstation 5 greatly enhances the snapshot functionality available in previous releases of the product by allowing you to take an unlimited number of point-in-time, saved-to-disk snapshots of running virtual machines. This makes it easier to capture and switch among multiple configurations and accelerates testing and debugging. Should a problem arise during testing, you can easily revert to a prior, stable snapshot. The new snapshot manager interface displays thumbnails of all the snapshots on a single screen, making it easy for you to track all your snapshots and revert to a previously saved snapshot. Also, when you revert to a previously saved snapshot, Workstation automatically creates a new branch so other snapshots remain available.

Cloning functionality makes it easier to copy virtual machines and share them with colleagues (full and linked clones).

You can clone virtual machines in two different ways -- linked and full -- to facilitate collaborative testing and debugging, get up and running quickly with virtual machines. Full clones simplify the process of making a complete copy of a virtual machine. Linked clones save on storage space and make it simpler to share modifications to a virtual machine. If a virtual machine (the parent virtual machine) is available on shared storage, you can create a linked clone on your local machine that has a read-only reference to the parent virtual machine. Any changes made to the virtual machine are saved locally in a file that is much smaller than the parent virtual machine and can more easily be shared with colleagues. Linked clones thus make it easy to set up a library of read-only virtual machines as templates on a shared drive that can be accessed and shared by multiple users, while using little additional disk space on local machines for each linked clone. Workstation 5 also lets users easily create a full clone, or a complete copy of a virtual machine.

Enhancements improve performance especially for multiple virtual machines and networking workloads, for suspend and resume, for snapshot operations, and for shared folders and sound.

  • Multiple virtual machine performance: Workstation 5 includes significant improvements in memory utilization when multiple virtual machines are used concurrently. This new memory management technology, originally developed for VMware ESX Server, allows you to efficiently run multiple virtual machines with much less total memory.
  • Improved networking performance: Workstation 5 offers enhanced networking performance using VMware's custom network driver, installed when you install the new version of VMware Tools.
  • Faster suspend, resume and snapshot operations: With Workstation 5, you spend more time testing and less time waiting for power operations such as suspend, resume, and snapshot to execute.

Support for new guest and host operating systems and for both 32- and 64-bit hardware enable work in a broader range of environments.

Guest operating system support for Red Hat Linux Advanced Server 3.0, SUSE LINUX Pro 9.2, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9.0, Mandrake Linux 10, Novell NetWare 6.5 SP3, Novell NetWare 5.1 SP 8, Novell Linux Desktop 9, Sun Java Desktop System, Windows Server 2003 SP1 beta (experimental support), Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.0, SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server 9 SP1, and various other service pack updates and kernel updates.

Host operating system support for SUSE LINUX Pro 9.2, SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server 9.0, Mandrake Linux 10, Windows Server 2003 SP1 beta (experimental support), and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.0.

On 64-bit systems, host operating system support for 64-bit versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.0, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3.0, SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server 9, SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server 9 SP1, and SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server 8. Experimental host operating system support for 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2003 SP1 and Windows XP.

For more details on supported host and guest platforms, see Introduction and System Requirements. For details on installing guest operating systems, see Installing Guest Operating Systems.

USB enhancements provide support for a new class of devices, including webcams, microphones, and speakers.

Workstation 5 offers support for isochronous USB input devices such as webcams and microphones and for output devices such as speakers. You can now use your webcam or work with multitrack audio, all within a guest operating system.

Command line interface enables the automation of certain manual steps.

Workstation 5 offers a new command line interface that enables you to create scripts to automate certain manual steps. For a list of supported commands, type vmrun at a command prompt.

Movie record and playback feature captures activity in a virtual machine.

Workstation 5 makes it possible for you to record all activity in a virtual machine and save it in an AVI format, facilitating team collaboration. The resulting AVI file can then be replayed on any other PC running Workstation 5 for Windows or equipped with an AVI player (a free Windows player is available for download from the VMware Web site). This feature has many uses, such as enabling you to record the steps needed to reproduce defects in a particular configuration or to record configuration steps prior to running an application. You can then easily share the movie with colleagues to enhance team collaboration.

New Linux user interface provides enhanced usability.

Workstation 5 offers a new GTK+ 2 based user interface on Linux, giving the program an improved look and feel and enhancing its usability.

Microsoft digitally signed VMware drivers make it easier to install VMware Tools.

Workstation 5 provides signed drivers for Windows host and guest operating systems, smoothing manual installations and making it simple to automate installation of Workstation and of VMware Tools.

The following drivers are digitally signed by Microsoft:

  • VMware USB Driver
  • VMware Virtual Network Adapter driver
  • VMware SVGA II display driver (in VMware Tools)
  • VMware Pointing Device driver (in VMware Tools)
  • VMware BusLogic SCSI driver (in VMware Tools)
  • VMware PCI Ethernet Adapter driver (in VMware Tools)

VMware Virtual Machine Importer makes it easy to bring Virtual PC virtual machines into VMware Workstation.

This standalone utility, available for download from the VMware Web site, makes it simple for you to convert a Microsoft Virtual PC or Microsoft Virtual Server virtual machine into a VMware Workstation 4 or 5 virtual machine. The original Virtual PC virtual machine is left untouched.

The Workstation manual is available in two additional languages.

The VMware Workstation User's Manual is now available in French and German in addition to English and Japanese. You can download copies of the manual in any of these languages from the documentation page of the VMware Web site.

Support for the NX bit and XD bit improves security for guest operating systems that take advantage of the feature.

Workstation 5 now supports the no execute and execute disable bit for guest operating systems that can leverage it. Aimed at thwarting malicious buffer overruns, NX and XD allow properly written applications to designate memory space as nonexecutable, so that no code can be executed from that memory space.

Experimental support for Direct3D enables use of some applications that require video acceleration.

Workstation 5 includes experimental support for Direct3D video acceleration. This feature is not fully functional. For information on configuring a virtual machine for 3-D support, see Experimental Support for Direct3D.

Experimental support for guest ACPI S1 sleep allows you to wake up a sleeping virtual machine.

In Workstation 5, VMware Tools provides experimental support for guest operating systems that enable ACPI S1 sleep. This feature requires you to have the latest version of VMware Tools installed. For detailed configuration options, see Guest ACPI S1 Sleep.

Before You Begin

USB Support

New in Workstation 5.0 is support for isochronous USB devices. The most common devices of this type are webcams and microphones. Due to the real-time nature of isochronous transfer, lower-end systems may not provide the performance needed for such tasks. We recommend that you have at least a 2GHz Intel-class machine to use this technology.

USB virtualization carries a performance cost. Expect USB performance in a virtual machine to be slower than it is when you are running the same task directly on a physical machine.

Only UHCI (USB 1.1) is supported in the guest, although the transfer between the device and the host can be done using USB 2.0.

Certain older webcams like the Logitech Web Express are modified from non-USB Webcams. Internally, these webcams still function as printer port webcams and use USB control transfer to access the printer port register. This type of access is very sensitive to timing issues. Operating these types of webcams within a virtual machine environment will can result in intermittent failures of the device. Please file a support request if you encounter problems trying to use such a device.

Upgrade VMware Tools

Be sure to upgrade VMware Tools to the version included in this release. VMware Tools contains new drivers and performance enhancements to improve your entire Workstation experience.

Fixed Bugs

You can download a list of bugs reported in Workstation 4.5.2 (and earlier) that were fixed for the Workstation 5.0 release. (Download PDF)

Known Issues

If you encounter any of the issues listed below, click the appropriate link or go to the VMware knowledge base (www.vmware.com/support/kb) and enter the article number as your search term.

You may also view a list of all knowledge base articles related to Workstation 5.