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VMware Workstation

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VMware Workstation

VMware Workstation
VMware Workstation v8.0 icon
Screenshot showing Windows 8 running on Ubuntu 14.04 using VMware Workstation 10.0.1
Developer(s) VMware
Initial release 1999[1]
Stable release 11.0 [2] / 2 December 2014 (2014-12-02)
Development status Active
Operating system Windows
Platform x64[3]
Type Hypervisor
License Commercial
Website .comvmware

VMware Workstation is a hypervisor that runs on x64 computers; it enables users to set up one or more virtual machines (VMs) on a single physical machine, and use them simultaneously along with the actual machine. Each virtual machine can execute its own operating system, including versions of Microsoft Windows, Linux, BSD, and MS-DOS. VMware Workstation is developed and sold by VMware, Inc., a division of EMC Corporation.

VMware Workstation supports bridging existing host network adapters and share physical disk drives and USB devices with a virtual machine. In addition, it can simulate disk drives. It can mount an existing ISO image file into a virtual optical disc drive so that the virtual machine sees it as a real one. Likewise, virtual hard disk drives are made via .vmdk files.

VMware Workstation can save the state of a virtual machine (a "snapshot") at any instant. These snapshots can later be restored, effectively returning the virtual machine to the saved state.[4]

VMware Workstation includes the ability to designate multiple virtual machines as a team which can then be powered on, powered off, suspended or resumed as a single object, making it particularly useful for testing client-server environments.

The VMware Player, a virtualization package of basically similar, but reduced, functionality, is also available, and is free of charge for non-commercial use, or for distribution or other use by written agreement. [5]

Version history

Screenshot showing the Snapshot Manager in VMware Workstation 10.0.1
Color Font Type Meaning
Red Italic Release no longer supported
Green Normal Release still supported
Blue Bold Future release
Major Version Release Date Significant Changes
1.0 1999 First release
3.0 1 November 2001
3.1 9 April 2002
4.0 23 March 2003
4.5 5 April 2004
5.0 11 April 2005
5.5 12 September 2005
6.0 9 May 2007
6.5 23 September 2008
7.0 26 October 2009
8.0 14 September 2011
  • Workstation 8 is the first version that requires an x64-compatible CPU.
9.0 23 August 2012
  • USB 3.0 support for Linux and Windows 8 guests
  • OpenGL driver for Linux guests
  • Improved graphics subsystem
  • Restricted Virtual Machines
  • New operating system support
10.0 3 September 2013
10.0.1 24 October 2013
  • Improved compatibility with some AMD Piledriver CPUs
  • Easy Install support for Windows 8.1 RTM and Windows Server 2012 R2 RTM
  • Fixes for certain hangs and freezes
10.0.2 17 April 2014
10.0.3 1 July 2014
10.0.4 30 October 2014
11.0 2 Dec 2014

Known issues

Known limitations of VMware Workstation, as of October, 2009, included the following:

Hardware support

Screenshot showing the Hardware Compatibility Wizard VMware Workstation 10.0.1
  • Workstation 8 is the first version that requires an x64-compatible CPU.[6][3]
  • VMware virtual machines do not directly support FireWire.[7]
  • VMware Workstation version 5.5 provided only experimental support for 3D hardware acceleration, via Microsoft's Direct3D 8 API.[8][9] A video[10] has appeared on YouTube that demonstrates several 3D-accelerated games running under VMware Fusion and Mac OS X. The release notes for Fusion beta 2 include a list[11] of 3D-accelerated computer games that can run within Windows XP-based virtual machines. In version 6.5, Direct3D 9.0 API support (only up to Shader Model 2.0) is provided on Windows 2000 and Windows XP guests (although not Windows 9x) and on any host OS. Version 7 has support for Shader Model 3.0 and OpenGL 2.1 graphics. It can run[12] Crysis at 14-18 frame/s at low settings. Windows Display Driver Model support (version 1.0) was introduced in version 7.0, allowing Windows Aero to run in virtualized Windows Vista and later Windows guests, but OpenGL is regressed to 1.4.
  • 64-bit guest operating systems require a 64-bit processor and a BIOS compatible with x86 virtualization.[13] Intel processors require Intel VT hardware virtualization technology as Intel 64-bit processors without hardware virtualization technology do not have segmentation support in long mode.[13] Only AMD64 processors of revision D or later, and Intel EM64T VT-capable CPUs, can run 64-bit guests.[13]
  • VMware workstation virtual machines did not have SATA support until the VMware Workstation 10 release.[14]

Network protocols

VMware Workstation may swallow CPU interrupts, making maintenance of accurate time difficult.[15]

VMware Tools

VMware Tools is a package with drivers and other software that can be installed in guest operating systems to increase their performance. It has several components, including the following:

  • Drivers for the emulated hardware:
    • VESA-compliant graphics for the guest machine to access high screen resolutions
    • Network drivers for the vmxnet2 and vmxnet3 NIC
    • Ensoniq AudioPCI audio
    • Mouse integration
  • Drag-and-drop file support
  • Clipboard sharing between host and guest
  • Time synchronization capabilities (guest syncs with host machine's clock)
  • Support for Unity, a feature that allows seamless integration of applications with the host desktop

Third-party resources

Ready-to-use virtual machines

Many ready-made virtual machines (VMs) which run on VMWare Player, Workstation, and other virtualization software are available[16] for specific purposes, either for purchase or free of charge; for example free Linux-based "browser appliances" with the Firefox or other browser installed[17][18] which can be used for safe Web browsing; if infected or damaged it can be discarded and replaced by a clean copy. The appliance can be configured to automatically reset itself after each use so personal information is not stored. VMs distributed legally only have freely distributable operating systems, as operating systems on VMs must be licensed; ready-to-use Microsoft Windows VMs, in particular, are not distributed, except for evaluation versions.

Other tools

  • PowerWF[19] - Provides a visual representation of VMware VIX scripts, converting them into workflows, or converting workflows into Powershell cmdlets and modules. VIX is VMware's addition to Microsoft's Powershell for automation of the VMware Player.

See also


  1. ^ "IEEE Xplore - Abstract Page". 2011-09-27.  
  2. ^ "VMware Workstation 11.0 Release Notes". 2014-12-02. Retrieved 2014-11-09. 
  3. ^ a b "Processor Requirements for Host Systems". VMware Workstation 9 Documentation Center. VMware. Retrieved 12 December 2012. 
  4. ^ Warren, Steven (2008-11-20). "Snapshots in VMware Workstation". Retrieved 2012-09-13. 
  5. ^ "VMware Player 4.0 EULA". VMware. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  6. ^ "VMware Workstation 8 Now Available Worldwide!". Retrieved 2011-09-14. 
  7. ^ "Does 5.5 support Firewire. If not, is VMWare working on it.". VMTN. 2006-04-27. 
  8. ^ "Experimental Support for Direct3D". Retrieved 2007-08-28. 
  9. ^ "Can 3D Graphics be Achieved on Virtualization?". InfoWorld. 2007-02-10. Retrieved 2007-08-28. 
  10. ^ "video". 2007-02-07. Retrieved 2012-09-13. 
  11. ^ "VMware Fusion Release Notes". Retrieved 2012-09-13. 
  12. ^]
  13. ^ a b c "Hardware and Firmware Requirements for 64-Bit Guest Operating Systems (1003945)". 7 February 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-05. 
  14. ^ "VMware Workstation release notes". VMware INC. Archived from the original on 2013-10-16. Retrieved 30 October 2013. 
  15. ^ "Timekeeping in VMware Virtual Machines" (PDF). VMware. 2005-08-01. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  16. ^ "Directory of VMs with 1539 entries as of 7 January 2011". Retrieved 2012-09-13. 
  17. ^ "Browser Appliance". Retrieved 2014-04-05. 
  18. ^ Browser Appliance
  19. ^ "". Retrieved 2012-09-13. 

Further reading

  • Review of VMware Workstation 7 at ZDNet UK, rated 9/10
  • Review of VMware Workstation 7 at V3, rated 4/5

External links

  • VMware Workstation product page
  • Workstation at VMware Store
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