VMware Workstation 5.5Features | Documentation | Knowledge Base | Discussion Forums
What's New in Version 5
Unless otherwise noted the features in the following sections were introduced in version 5.0. Features that were introduced after version 5.0 are noted.
VMware Workstation 5 greatly enhances the snapshot functionality available in previous releases of the product by allowing you to take a series of point-in-time, saved-to-disk snapshots of running virtual machines. This makes it easier to capture and switch between 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 displays thumbnails of all your snapshots on a single screen, making it easy for you to track and revert to a previously saved snapshot. Also, when reverting to a previously saved snapshot, Workstation creates a new branch automatically, so other snapshots continue to be available. See Using Snapshots.
Enhanced Snapshot Management (New in v5.5)
In the snapshot manager, you can now select and delete multiple snapshots at once. See Selecting a Snapshot.
Workstation 5.5 also enhances the command line interface (vmrun) so you can manage snapshots of virtual machines more easily. With simple vmrun commands, you can now quickly create, delete, list, and go to specific snapshots. See Command Line Application.
Teams functionality makes it easier to manage connected virtual machines and simulate "real-world" multitier configurations. A team is your designated group of virtual machines and the private networks that connect them.
Teams allow you to configure power operations, such as powering on and off and suspending or resuming virtual machines, in the exact sequence you desire. You determine network characteristics between the virtual machines in a team, including network bandwidth and packet loss percentages. The console view displays active thumbnails of all the virtual machines in a team, allowing you to easily identify and switch between any of the virtual machines on your team. See Configuring Teams.
Clones simplify the process of copying a virtual machine. Clones facilitate collaborative testing and debugging, and let colleagues share virtual machines more easily. You can duplicate a virtual machine as a linked clone or a full clone.
VMware Player (New in v5.5)
VMware Player is an application that opens and plays virtual machines created with VMware Workstation 4 and Workstation 5, GSX Server, and ESX Server. On Windows hosts, the player also opens and plays Microsoft Virtual PC and Virtual Server virtual machines and Symantec LiveState Recovery system images. VMware Player makes your VMware virtual machines accessible to colleagues, partners, customers, and clients who do not own VMware products. VMware Player is included with Workstation version 5.5.
VMware Player gives software developers and vendors great flexibility in marketing and distributing products. You can package complex, sophisticated applications, complete with a full working environment, in a virtual machine that is playable by anyone who has VMware Player.
You can also use VMware Player to access the growing library of virtual machines available from the VMware Technology Network (VMTN) Web site at www.vmware.com/vmtn/vm/. This library includes virtual machines from various software vendors, as well as virtual machines that are preconfigured with popular open source software.
Improved Performance for Virtual Machines Running Concurrently
Workstation 5 includes significant improvements in memory utilization when virtual machines are used concurrently. This allows you to efficiently run multiple virtual machines with much less total memory.
Improved Networking Performance
Workstation 5 offers optional, enhanced networking performance by leveraging VMware's custom network driver. Once you install the updated VMware Tools, the necessary network drivers integrate seamlessly to offer significantly improved network performance.
Improved Suspend/Resume and Snapshot Operations
Workstation 5 performs significantly faster suspend/resume and snapshot operations, enabling you to spend more time testing and less time waiting for power operations to execute.
New Host Operating System Support
See also Improved 64-Bit Host Support
New Guest Operating System Support
Full Support for 64-Bit Guest Operating Systems (New in v5.5)
Workstation 5.5 introduces full support for virtual machines with 64-bit guest operating systems, running on host machines with the following processors:
Workstation supports virtual machines with 64-bit guest operating systems only on host machines that have one of the supported 64-bit processors.
For more about Workstation support for 64-bit guest operating systems, including a list of the 64-bit guest operating systems supported by Workstation, see Supported Guest Operating Systems.
Improved 64-Bit Host Support
Workstation 5 includes hardware support for the following 64-bit processors: AMD™ Opteron™, AMD Turion™ 64, AMD Athlon™ 64, AMD Sempron™ (experimental), and Intel® EM64T VT-capable processors (experimental). For a complete list of 64-bit host operating systems supported by Workstation see Windows Host Operating Systems (64-Bit) and Linux Host Operating Systems (64-Bit).
New Gigabit Virtual Adapter for 64-Bit Guests (New in v5.5)
For Workstation virtual machines with supported 64-bit guest operating systems, Workstation 5.5 emulates a new Ethernet adapter type: the Intel® PRO/1000 MT Server Adapter. This virtual adapter type is supported only for 64-bit guests.
Experimental Support for Two-Way Virtual SMP (New in v5.5)
For all supported configurations of 32-bit and 64-bit host and guest operating systems running on multiprocessor host machines, Workstation provides experimental support for two-way virtual Symmetric Multiprocessing (SMP). This enables you to assign two virtual processors to a virtual machine. You can assign two processors to the virtual machine if the host machine has at least two logical processors. See Using Two-Way Virtual Symmetric Multiprocessing (Experimental).
Isochronous USB support
Workstation 5 offers support for isochronous USB input devices such as Web cameras and microphones, as well as output devices such as speakers. Use your webcam or work with multitrack audio within your guest operating system.
Command Line Interface
Workstation 5 offers a new command line interface, enabling you to create scripts to automate certain manual steps. See Command Line Reference.
Enhanced Command Line Interface (New in v5.5)
Workstation 5.5 enhances the command line interface (vmrun) so you can manage snapshots of virtual machines more easily. With simple vmrun commands, you can now quickly create, delete, list, and go to specific snapshots. See Command Line Application.
Autodetect Functionality for More Devices (New in v5.5)
Workstation extends existing autodetect support for CD-ROM drives to other hardware devices. In the virtual machine settings editor (VM > Settings), you can now set a virtual machine to detect the following hardware devices automatically:
Enhanced Autoconnect Automatically Reconnects Manually Connected USB Devices (New in v5.5)
When you manually connect a USB device in Workstation 5.5, Workstation retains the virtual machine's connection to the affected port on the host machine. You can then suspend or power off the virtual machine, or unplug the device. When you plug the device back in or resume the virtual machine, Workstation reconnects the device automatically. See Automatic Reconnection of USB Devices.
Movie Record and Playback
Workstation 5 offers the ability to record your actions within a virtual machine and save the movie in an AVI format, facilitating team collaboration. Replay the resulting AVI file on any PC equipped with an AVI player. A free Windows player is available for download from the VMware Web site.
Record steps to reproduce defects in a particular configuration, or record configuration steps prior to running an application. Share the movie with colleagues to enable team collaboration. See Creating a Movie of a Virtual Machine.
Improved Linux User Interface
Workstation 5 offers a new GTK+, version 2-based user interface on Linux, which provides an improved look and feel, and enhanced usability.
Easier Upgrades and VMware Tools Installation Improvements
Starting with Workstation 5, on Windows hosts you can automatically install a new release over an existing Workstation release. The installer automatically uninstalls the previous version before installing the new version. Workstation 5 also streamlines VMware Tools installation for Linux virtual machines by allowing users to install VMware Tools without exiting the X session. See Upgrading VMware Workstation, and Installing VMware Tools.
Support for NX bit
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
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
Workstation 5 VMware Tools provide experimental support for guest operating systems that enable ACPI S1 sleep. (This feature requires you to have the latest VMware Tools installed.) For detailed configuration options, see Guest ACPI S1 Sleep.
VMware Virtual Machine Importer (Windows Hosts Only)
For Windows hosts, this standalone utility allows you to convert your Microsoft® virtual machines from either Virtual PC or Microsoft Virtual Server into a VMware virtual machine. The VMware virtual machine is compatible with Workstation 4 or 5, completely independent of the previous format, ready to use with all the enhanced VMware Workstation functionality. The original file remains intact. In Workstation 5.5, the importer is incorporated into Workstation and enhanced with the ability to create VMware virtual machines from system images created with Symantec® LiveState Recovery. See Importing Virtual Machines and System Images from Other Formats.
Virtual Machine Importer Incorporated into Workstation (New in v5.5, Windows Hosts Only)
In Workstation release version 5.5, the importer is incorporated into the Workstation program for Windows hosts. When you upgrade to Workstation version 5.5, you no longer need the separate VMware Virtual Machine Importer application to convert a Microsoft Virtual PC virtual machine or Symantec LiveState Recovery system image to a VMware virtual machine: you can now open and convert virtual machines and system images directly from Workstation. See Importing Virtual Machines and System Images from Other Formats.
Virtual Machine Importer Imports LiveState Recovery System Images (New in v5.5)
In Workstation release version 5.5, the importer is enhanced with the ability to create VMware virtual machines from system images created with Symantec® LiveState Recovery. See Importing Virtual Machines and System Images from Other Formats.
Toolbar Customization (New in v5.5)
On Windows hosts, you can now customize Workstation toolbars by adding, removing, and rearranging toolbar buttons. See Customizing the Toolbar.
Disable Memory Page Trimming in the User Interface (New in v5.5)
To improve performance, you can now disable memory page trimming from the user interface, in VM > Settings > Options > Advanced. See Advanced.
Support on Linux Hosts for Wireless Ethernet Adapters Used in Bridged Networking (New in v5.5)
Workstation 5.5 adds support on Linux hosts for wireless Ethernet adapters used in bridged networking. Support for wireless Ethernet adapters is already present for Workstation on Windows hosts.
Support for Display Resizing Features for Linux Guests (New in v5.5)
Workstation 5.5 extends the display resizing features Autofit Guest and Fit Guest Now to Linux guests. These features are already supported for Windows guests. See Fitting the Workstation Console to the Virtual Machine Display and Special Considerations for Display Resizing in Linux Guests.
Enhanced Product Update Checking (New in v5.5)
Automatic checking for Workstation product updates has been enhanced. In Edit > Preferences, the Workspace tab now shows the time and result of the most recent automatic check for updates, and the time of the next scheduled check. On Linux hosts, the Workspace tab also now includes a Check now button, so you can check for product updates manually at any time from Edit > Preferences. See Workspace.