VMware Workstation is a virtual machine for running operating systems installed on a computer. VMware virtual machine emulates computer hardware, allows you to create virtual machines, run one or more operating systems running in parallel with Windows installed on the computer.
The VMware Workstation Pro program emulates the hardware of a computer and allows you to run software on the computer in an isolated environment. You can install operating systems (for example, Linux on Windows, or vice versa) on a virtual machine to work in a virtual environment without affecting the real system.
Check for unfamiliar or suspicious software, test a new antivirus without installing it on your computer, try a different operating system, etc. In this case, the real operating system will not be affected in case of dangerous actions performed on a virtual machine.
The actual operating system installed on the computer is called the host, and the operating system installed on the virtual machine is called the guest operating system.
The American company Vmware, the largest manufacturer of software for virtualization, produces programs for personal computers: paid VMware Workstation Pro and free VMware Player with reduced capabilities.
VMware Workstation Pro (in the article an overview of this program) supports the installation of several different (or the same) operating systems: various distributions of Windows, Linux, BSD, etc.
Note that the guest operating system consumes computer resources. Therefore, while the virtual machine is running, resource-intensive applications should not be launched on a real computer, and several virtual machines should not be opened at the same time. The more powerful the computer, the more comfortable it is to work on a virtual machine. On powerful computers, several virtual machines will work without problems at the same time, and on weak computers, only one virtual machine.
Install VMware Workstation Pro on your computer. By default, the program works in English, on the Internet there is a good Russification from Loginvovchyk, which must be installed after installing the program. After that, the VMware Workstation Pro virtual machine will work in Russian.
Once launched, the main VMware Workstation window will open. At the top of the window there is a menu for managing the program. On the left is the “Library”, which will display the virtual machines installed in VMware. The “Home” tab contains buttons for performing the most frequently requested actions: “Create a new virtual machine”, “Open a virtual machine”, “Connect to a remote server”, “Connect to Vmware vCloud Air”.
Create a new virtual machine
To create a virtual machine (VM), click on the “Create a new virtual machine” button, or enter the “File” menu, select “New virtual machine …”.
The New Virtual Machine Wizard opens. In the first window, select the “Normal (recommended)” configuration type, and then click on the “Next” button.
The next window prompts you to select the type of installation of the guest OS, three options are available:
- installation from an installation DVD inserted into the computer’s drive;
- using a system image file in ISO format from a computer to install;
- installing the operating system later.
If you select the first two options, after selecting the settings, the installation of the operating system on the virtual machine will begin. In the third case, the installation of the guest OS can be started at any other convenient time, after the virtual machine is configured.
If installing later, select the guest operating system. If it is not in the list, select “Other”. Then select the OS version. There is a large selection of versions for each system (more than 200 operating systems are supported in total), there is also an Other variant of various bit depths (34-bit and 64-bit).
If you are installing a guest system during the creation of a virtual machine, then a window with information about the quick installation will open. The Windows product key and password are optional, you only need to select the Windows version.
Next, you will need to select a name for the virtual machine and a location for the virtual machine. Give the virtual machine a friendly name and choose a path for its location.
If your computer has more than one logical drive, then I recommend changing the location of the virtual machine’s files in the user profile (default setting) to a different drive on your computer.
What is it for? If the Windows installed on the computer fails, you will need to reinstall the system. After reinstalling the operating system, the VMware virtual machine file stored in the user profile on the system drive will be lost. If the virtual machine is not located on the system drive, then reinstalling Windows will not affect it.
For reuse, you will need to install the VMware Workstation program, and then connect the virtual machine. No need to reinstall and configure everything.
Therefore, on the “E” drive (in your case, it will most likely be the “D” drive) of my computer, I created the “Virtual Machines” folder, in which the folders with the files of the virtual machines installed on my computer are saved.
For a new virtual machine, create a folder with the name of this VM in order to separate its files from other VMs.
Next, you need to select the maximum size of the disk occupied by the virtual machine (by default – 60 GB, the size can be changed), the type of virtual disk saving: in one file, or in several files. This size will be taken from your computer’s hard drive for the needs of the virtual machine.
When saving a virtual disk in a single file, the VM runs faster than when it is divided into several files.
Agree with the recommended settings, or choose a more suitable option for your computer.
In the final window, click on the “Finish” button. After that, the installation of the guest operating system will begin.
Read more about the Windows installation process in the articles on my site.
If the setting was selected to install the operating system later, then in this window there will be no item “Turn on this virtual machine after its creation”, respectively, the installation of the guest system will not start.
Setting up a VMware virtual machine
By default, the virtual machine setup is optimal for most cases. If necessary, you can change some settings, as well as add shared folders.
In the settings, in the “Hardware” tab, you can change the amount of memory for this virtual machine, the number of processor cores, the amount of hard disk occupied by the virtual machine. In the “CD / DVD (SATA)” section, you can select a drive or operating system image file for installation (if you choose to install later), make other settings.
In the “Options” tab, in the “Shared Folders” section, select the “Always On” setting, activate the “Mount as a network drive in guest Windows” item.
Next, click on the “Add …” button, in the Add Shared Folders Wizard window, create a shared folder for exchanging data with the real system and other guest systems. It is desirable to create a shared folder not on the system drive for the reasons described above.
There is already such a folder on my computer (Data Sharing). I chose this folder for the new virtual machine. Next, enable this resource.
The default settings allow dragging, pasting and copying files from the real to the virtual system and vice versa.
Opening a virtual machine
After reinstalling Windows (my case), you can open previously created virtual machines saved on your computer. In the main window of VMware Workstation, click on the “Open virtual machine” button, or select “Open …” from the “File” menu.
Select the file (on my computer the virtual machines are located in the “Virtual Machines” folder) of the virtual machine, and then click on the “Open” button.
On my computer, I opened previously saved virtual operating systems: Windows 10 x64, Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, Mac OS X.
Running a Guest OS in VMware Workstation
To start a guest operating system, in the VMware Workstation Pro program window, select the tab with the required OS (if several guest OSes are installed), and then click the “Turn on the virtual machine” button. You can turn on the system from the menu “Virtual machine”, “Power”, “Start virtual machine”.
Next, the window of the guest virtual OS will open, which can be opened to the full screen of the monitor.
To release the mouse cursor from the virtual machine, press the “Ctrl” + “Alt” keys, and to switch the mouse cursor to the virtual machine, press “Ctrl” + “G” (or click in the virtual machine window).
Installing VMware Tools
VMware Tools is a package of drivers and services that improve the operation of a virtual machine and its interaction with peripherals. Immediately after installing the operating system on the virtual machine, you need to install VMware Tools. A reminder of this will appear in the program window.
From the “Virtual Machine” menu, select “Install VMware Tools Package…”. Next, open File Explorer, run the VMware Tools installation from the CD-ROM drive. After the package installation is complete, reboot the guest operating system.
Guest OS Snapshots
In VMware Workstation, you can take a snapshot of the state of the guest OS. After creating a snapshot of the system state, in case of failures in the guest OS, you can return to the previous working state of the system.
In the “Virtual Machine” menu, you need to click on the item “Create snapshot”. Next, give the snapshot a name, if necessary, add a description.
To restore the state of the guest OS at the time the snapshot was taken, select Revert to Snapshot: Snapshot N from the context menu. Next, restore the system state. The current state of the OS will be lost.
Created snapshots can be managed through the Snapshot Manager: create, clone, delete snapshots. There are three buttons on the menu bar for managing system snapshots.
Shutting down a virtual machine
To exit the virtual machine, in the “Virtual Machine” menu, click on the “Power” context menu item, and then select “Shut down guest OS”. The operating system will shut down as if it were a normal shutdown of the computer.
When you select Suspend Guest OS, the system will suspend its work without disabling services and applications.
How to enter the BIOS of a VMware virtual machine
During the startup process of the virtual machine, it is not possible to enter the BIOS due to the fact that the loading of the BIOS screen is almost instantaneous.
In order for the user to be able to enter the BIOS of a virtual machine when the system boots, it is necessary to open the configuration file (file extension .vmx) of this virtual machine in Notepad. The configuration file is located in the virtual machine folder, in the location selected when the virtual machine was created.
Enter the following line at the very end of the configuration file:
This setting sets the BIOS screen delay in milliseconds, in this case 15000 = 15 seconds. You can choose a different time interval.
Now the user will be able to press the desired key on the BIOS screen that opens.
Deleting a virtual machine
To delete a virtual machine, open the virtual machine’s tab in VMware Workstation Pro. In the “Virtual Machine” menu, select the “Manage” context menu item, and then the “Delete from disk” item. In the warning window, agree to the deletion (this is an irreversible action).
After that, all files of the guest virtual machine will be deleted from the computer.
VMware Workstation Pro Virtual Machine is a powerful application for creating guest virtual operating systems that run on a computer alongside the real OS. The guest operating system will be isolated from the Windows installed on the computer.