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VMware Workstation 8.0 Release Notes

VMware Workstation 8.0 | 09 14 2011 | Build 471780

Last updated: 22 SEPT 2011

Check frequently for additions and updates to these release notes.

These release notes include the following topics.

What's New

This release of VMware Workstation adds the following new features and support.

Installation Changes and Enhanced Keyboards

The hardware requirements to install this version of Workstation have changed. Workstation now requires a relatively modern 64-bit CPU. See Installation Requirements for details.

The keyboard filter driver is no longer installed by default. When the driver is not installed, the enhanced keyboard functionality is unavailable and you must press Ctrl-Alt-Ins instead of Ctrl-Alt-Del to send a Ctrl-Alt-Del keystroke to the guest.

To use the enhanced keyboard functionality, you must perform a custom installation and select the component. If you select the component, you must reboot whenever you install or uninstall Workstation.

Virtual Hardware Improvements

This version of Workstation includes many hardware improvements. To try new hardware features, you must upgrade the hardware version of your virtual machine or create a new virtual machine that uses the latest virtual hardware version.

  • The display technology has been changed to provide a better experience for Unity users and users who have multiple monitors. These changes also allow you to add a projector to your laptop without restarting your virtual machine.
  • Virtual machines can now support up to 64GB of memory. The host system should have more than 64GB of memory to use this feature.
  • An HD Audio device is available for Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 2008, and Windows 2008 R2 guests. The HD Audio device is compatible with the RealTek ALC888 7.1 Channel High Definition Audio Codec.
  • USB 3.0 support is available for Linux guests running kernel version 2.6.35 or later (Ubuntu 10.10) through a new virtual xHCI USB controller. To enable this feature, add the following line to the .vmx file: usb_xhci.present = “true”. Do not enable this feature for Windows guests. Because Windows does not currently have a generic xHCI driver, this feature will not work in Windows.
  • Bluetooth devices on the host can now be shared with Windows guests. With the latest hardware version, Bluetooth devices that are paired to the host system radio are available to Windows guests and can be paired from within the guest. You should not pair Bluetooth audio devices, such as headphones, or Bluetooth input devices, such as keyboards and mice, to a guest.
  • You can now enable Virtual VT-X/EPT or AMD-V/RVI in the processor settings interface. With this feature, applications running in a guest can take advantage of these virtualization technologies. You can also run 64-bit guest operating systems inside of vSphere running inside Workstation.

New User Interface

The Workstation user interface has been updated to include new menus, toolbars, and an improved preferences screen.

  • The Favorites sidebar has been replaced with a virtual machine library. Instead of identifying every virtual machine created in Workstation as a favorite, the library is a comprehensive list of all of the virtual machines that Workstation users create, open, or access.
  • A new folder summary page helps you to better manage a group of related virtual machines. Live thumbnails make it easy to see what is happening in running virtual machines.
  • The full screen toolbar has been updated so that you can do more without having to leave full screen mode. Quick switch mode is no longer needed.

What Happened to Teams?

Although at first it might appear that the teams feature has been removed, you can add team attributes to any virtual machine in this version of Workstation.

  • The team structure has been converted to a simple folder of virtual machines.
  • A new advanced settings dialog box has been added for network adapters to let you throttle the bandwidth of incoming and outgoing transmissions and simulate packet loss.
  • You can perform power operations on several virtual machines at the same time by selecting virtual machines on the folder tab and pressing the power button on the toolbar. If all of the virtual machines in a folder are in the same power state, you can select the folder to perform a power operation on all of the virtual machines in the folder.
  • You use a global Workstation preference to configure the delay between powering on virtual machines.
  • To implement LAN segments, you can use traditional VMnets or put all of the virtual machines that you want to communicate on the same custom VMnet.

Shared Virtual Machines and AutoStart

You can share virtual machines with remote users in this version of Workstation. A shared virtual machine can be accessed remotely by other instances of Workstation. Workstation moves virtual machines to the shared virtual machines folder, where the VMware Host Agent service manages them. The VMware Host Agent service is used by other VMware products, including VMware Server and vSphere, and provides additional capabilities required by professional users. An extensive permissions interface lets you control the users who can access and use shared virtual machines.

You can use the new AutoStart feature to configure shared virtual machines to start with the host system. You can also configure AutoStart for shared virtual machines on remote hosts running Workstation and ESX 4.x and later.

Remote Connections

In this version of Workstation, you are no longer constrained to working only with virtual machines that your computer has enough power to run. You can use the new Connect to Server feature to connect to remote hosts running Workstation, ESX 4.x and later, and VMware vCenter Server. After connecting to a remote host, all of the virtual machines that you have permission to access are displayed in the virtual machine library.

Upload to ESX/ESXi and vCenter Server

VMware OVF Tool is now integrated with Workstation so that you can upload a virtual machine from Workstation to a remote server running ESX, ESXi, or vCenter Server. After connecting to a remote server, you drag the virtual machine from the local My Computer section of the virtual machine library to the remote server. A wizard walks you through the process.

Documentation Changes

This version of Workstation includes several important documentation changes.

  (NEW) Getting Started with VMware Workstation Describes how to install and upgrade Workstation, create a typical virtual machine, and perform common virtual machine operations.
  Using VMware Workstation
(previously VMware Workstation User's Guide)
Describes how to create typical, custom, and shared virtual machines, add virtual devices, configure network connections, connect to remote servers and use remote virtual machines, upload virtual machines to remote servers, and perform all virtual machine operations.
  Getting Started with VMware Player
(previously VMware Player Getting Started Guide)
Now contains complete information on installing and using Player.
  Online help Has been redesigned to provide context-sensitive help and information on performing common tasks. For complete information on using Workstation and Player, see the guides.
  (NEW) Installing and Configuring VMware Tools Contains comprehensive information on installing, upgrading, and configuring VMware Tools.

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Installation Requirements

When you install Workstation, the installer performs checks to make sure the host system has a processor that meets the following requirements. You cannot install Workstation if the host system does not meet these requirements.

  • 64-bit x86 CPU
  • LAHF/SAHF support in long mode

You can use CPU-Z or a similar utility to determine if the host system CPU is 64-bit capable. CPU-Z shows EM64T (Intel) or AMD64 (AMD) if the processor is 64-bit capable.

If you plan to install a 64-bit guest operating system in a virtual machine, the host system must have one of the following processors. Workstation will not allow you to install a 64-bit guest operating system if the host system does not have one of these processors.

  • AMD CPU that has segment-limit support in long mode.
  • Intel CPU that has VT-x support. VT-x support must be enabled in the host system BIOS. The BIOS settings that must be enabled for VT-x support vary depending on the system vendor. See VMware KB article 1003944 for information on how to determine if VT-x support is enabled.

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Known Issues

The known issues are grouped as follows:

Remote Connection and Remote Virtual Machine Issues

  • When Workstation is installed on a Linux host, VMware Workstation Server writes the core file to /usr/bin instead of to /var/core or /var/log/vmware.
  • You cannot use Workstation to create a remote virtual machine on an ESX or ESXi 4.1 host if the virtual machine name contains non-ASCII characters.
  • When you upload a virtual machine to a remote server (VM > Manage > Upload), Workstation modifies the MAC address and PCI slot number of the virtual Ethernet device in the newly created remote virtual machine. Network errors can occur in the remote virtual machine if the network settings in the guest operating system require the original network hardware configuration.
    Workaround: Change the network settings in the guest operating system in the remote virtual machine to match the new network hardware configuration.
  • VMware Workstation Server occasionally crashes on a 32-bit Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.x host.

Role and Permission Issues

  • On a Windows host, if you edit a permission, assign the Administrator role, and then immediately click Remove to delete the permission, the original permission still exists when you reopen the Permissions dialog box.

Shared Virtual Machine Issues

  • On Windows hosts, if a shared virtual machine has a floppy drive that is configured to connect at power on, and a remote user powers on the virtual machine, a dialog box appears on the host system asking whether to connect the device every time the virtual machine powers on. If you click Yes to close the dialog box on the host system after the virtual machine is completely up and running on the host system, Workstation crashes on the host system.
  • On a 32 or 64-bit Windows 7, 64-bit Windows 2008 R2, or 32-bit Windows XP Professional SP3 host, if you uninstall Workstation, preserve the configuration, and then reinstall Workstation to a different path, the Shared VMs item is unavailable in the virtual machine library.
  • On a Windows host, if you create a virtual machine with a name that contains non-ASCII characters in the New Virtual Machine wizard, you cannot share the virtual machine with the Move the virtual machine option if the destination path is other than the system operating system location. The sharing process stops with the error message Failed to move VM to destination path.
    Workaround: If you want to share the virtual machine, you must use only ASCII characters in the virtual machine name when you create the virtual machine in the New Virtual Machine wizard.

Display and Input Issues

  • On an Ubuntu 11.04 host, the virtual machine icon does not appear on the system tray when you set the Show tray icon setting (Edit > Preferences > Workspace) to Always or When a virtual machine is powered on.
    Workaround: Whitelist vmware-tray as an application that can show system tray icons in Ubuntu 11.04. Alternatively, enable Notification Area (Systray) for all applications, for example:

    gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Panel systray-whitelist "['all']"

    After you run the command, log out and log back in. The command can take several minutes to take effect.
  • On a Fedora 15 host, powering on a virtual machine that has DirectX 9 accelerated graphics enabled might fail with the error "Unable to change virtual machine power state: Cannot find a valid peer process to connect to."
    Workaround: Deselect the Accelerate 3D graphics setting (VM > Settings > Hardware > Display) to disable DirectX 9 accelerated graphics in the virtual machine.
  • When you enter Unity mode in an Ubuntu 11.04 guest, application menus do not appear for applications that were opened before entering Unity mode. Application menus do appear for applications that are opened from the Unity launch menu after entering Unity mode.
    Workaround: Disable the APPMENU (Global menu) in the Ubuntu 11.04 guest. See the Ubuntu documentation for more information.
  • After you upload a Windows XP virtual machine from the local host to a remote server, you cannot autofit the guest in full screen mode. This problem occurs because VRAM is reduced to 4 MB when the virtual machine is uploaded to the remote server.
  • Dragging and dropping a file between two virtual machines in Unity mode causes Workstation to hang.
    Workaround: Copy and paste the file between the two virtual machines in Unity mode instead of dragging and dropping.
  • Some older OpenGL games, such as Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, might crash in a Workstation 8.0 virtual machine. The game is not able to handle the number of OpenGL extensions available since the game was released. This behavior is also seen on host systems.
    Workaround: Add a new environment variable named MESA_EXTENSION_MAX_YEAR and set the value to 2003. This is a global setting, so it will need to be removed if you run any newer OpenGL applications.

Folder and Team Conversion Issues

  • When you select a newly created folder in the Workstation library, the toolbar power option button is dimmed and you cannot perform batch power operations on the virtual machines in the folder.
    Workaround: If you select a virtual machine in the folder, move the selection off the virtual machine (for example, click anywhere on the folder tab), and then select the folder in the library again, the toolbar power option button becomes available.
  • On some file systems, such as ext4, mounting them from an unclean state, such as a suspended VM, will not work properly.
    Workaround: Power off the virtual machine before mounting the file system from it.

Device Issues

  • On Windows hosts, Player crashes if you click Connect or Disconnect in the Removable Devices menu before the console appears.
  • An Ubuntu 11.04 host might crash when you try to connect a USB device to a running virtual machine from the status bar icon's context menu. This problem typically occurs after Workstation is freshly installed, the host is rebooted, and the first time the device is connected to the virtual machine.
  • VMware Workstation Server occasionally crashes on a 32-bit Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.x host.
    Workaround:Disable the fingerprint module in the host.

Physical Machine Virtualization Issues

  • When simple file sharing or UAC is enabled on the physical machine, the Virtualize a Physical Machine wizard returns an "incorrect user credentials" error instead of an error message that indicates simple file sharing or UAC must be disabled before virtualizing the physical machine. See the online help or Using VMware Workstation for information on preparing a physical machine for virtualization.
  • You cannot use the Virtualize a Physical Machine wizard if the Workstation installation path contains non-ASCII characters.

Guest Operating System Installation Issues

  • Fedora 15 will not install on systems with less than 768 MB of RAM. If you attempt to install Fedora 15 in a virtual machine with less than 768 MB of RAM, the guest system may hang indefinitely.
    Workaround: Set the RAM for the virtual machine to 768 MB or higher and try again. See http://fedoraproject.org/ for more information.

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