VMware Workstation is a program that allows you to run a virtual computer within your physical computer. The virtual machine runs as if it were a separate machine. A virtual machine is great for trying other operating systems like Linux, visiting websites you don't trust, creating a safe computing environment especially for kids, testing the effects of computer viruses, and much more. You can even print with it and plug in USB sticks.
Part 1 of 3: Installing VMware Workstation
Step 1. Make sure your computer meets the minimum system requirements
Because you run an operating system within your own operating system, VMware Workstation has quite high system requirements. If you cannot comply with this, VMware may not run properly.
- You need a 64-bit processor.
- VMware supports Windows and Linux operating systems.
- You need enough memory to run the operating system, the virtual operating system, and any other programs you want to run on that operating system. 1 GB is the minimum, but 3 or more is recommended.
- You need a 16-bit or 32-bit graphics card. 3D effects probably won't work within the virtual operating system, so gaming won't be smooth sailing.
- You will need at least 1.5 GB of free space to install VMware Workstation, in addition to at least 1 GB per operating system that you are going to install.
Step 2. Download the VMware software
You can download the VMware installer from the Download Center on the VMware website. Select the latest version and click on the installer link. You will need to log in with your VMware username.
- You will be prompted to read and agree to the license agreement before downloading the file.
- You cannot have more than one version of VMware Workstation installed at a time.
Step 3. Install VMware Workstation
Once you have downloaded the file, right click on the file and select 'Run as administrator'.
- You will be asked again to agree to the license.
- Most users can opt for the standard installation.
- At the end of the installation you will be asked for your license code.
- When the installation is complete, restart the computer.
Part 2 of 3: Installing an operating system
Step 1. Open VMware
Installing a virtual operating system is not much different from installing it on a regular PC. You will need the installation discs or an ISO image, and the necessary licenses for the operating systems you want to install.
You can install multiple distros of Linux as well as any version of Windows
Step 2. Click on File
Select New Virtual Machine and then choose Typical. VMware will ask you for the installation files. If the operating system is recognized, Easy Installation will be activated:
- Physical disc – Insert the installation disc of the operating system you want to install into the computer and select the drive in VMware.
- ISO image – Browse to the location of the ISO file on your computer.
- Install the operating system later. This will create an empty virtual disk. You will soon be installing an operating system on it.
Step 3. Enter the information for the operating system
For Windows and other licensed operating systems, you need a product key. You will also need to enter a username and password.
If you are not using Easy Install, you will have to browse to choose the operating system you want to install
Step 4. Give your virtual machine a name
The name will help you find it on your physical computer. You can also distinguish between multiple virtual computers that run different operating systems.
Step 5. Set the size of the drive
You can allocate any available amount of disk space on your computer to the virtual machine that will serve as the hard drive for the operating system to be installed. Make sure you allocate enough space for installing programs that you want to run on the virtual machine.
Step 6. Customize the virtual hardware of your virtual machine
You can configure the virtual machine to emulate specific hardware by clicking the 'Customize Hardware' button. This can be useful if you are trying to run an older program that can only handle certain hardware. This setting is optional.
Step 7. Start the virtual machine
Check the box 'Power on this virtual machine after creation' if you want the virtual machine to start immediately after the installation is complete. If you don't enable this, you can select the virtual machine from the list in VMware and click the Power On button.
Step 8. Wait for the installation to complete
If you have booted the virtual machine for the first time, the operating system will be installed immediately. If you entered all the details correctly during the setup of the virtual machine, you don't need to do anything now.
If you did not enter the product key or provide a username during the virtual machine setup, you will most likely be prompted to do so during the operating system installation
Step 9. Make sure VMware Tools is installed
Once the operating system is installed, VMware Tools will be installed automatically. Check if it appears on your desktop or in the program files of the newly installed operating system.
VMware Tools are configuration options for your virtual machine, and keep your virtual machine up to date with changes to the software
Part 3 of 3: Navigating VMware
Step 1. Start a virtual machine
You start a virtual machine by clicking on the VM menu. Then select the virtual machine you want to power on. You can choose to start the virtual machine in a normal way or go directly to the virtual BIOS.
Step 2. Stop a virtual machine
You stop a virtual machine and select it, after which you click on the VM menu. Select the Power option.
- Power Off – The virtual machine turns off as if the power has been interrupted.
- Shut Down Guest – Sends a shutdown signal to the virtual machine, causing the virtual machine to shut down as if the computer was just shutting down.
- You can also shut down the virtual machine by using the Shut down option in the virtual operating system.
Step 3. Move files between your virtual machine and your physical computer
Transferring files between your computer and the virtual machine is as simple as dragging and dropping. Files can be moved either way between the computer and the virtual machine, and can also be dragged from one virtual machine to another.
- When you drag and drop files, a copy of those files will be made in the new location, and the original files will remain where they are.
- You can also move files by copying and pasting.
- Virtual machines can also use shared folders.
Step 4. Add a printer to your virtual machine
You can add any printer to your virtual machine without installing additional drivers, as long as they are already installed on the guest computer.
- Select the virtual machine you want to add the printer to.
- Click the VM menu and select Settings.
- Click the Hardware tab and then Add. This will start the Add Hardware wizard.
- Select Printer and click Finish. Your virtual printer will be available the next time you turn on the virtual machine.
Step 5. Attach a USB stick to the virtual machine
Virtual machines can handle a USB stick in the same way as a normal operating system. The USB stick cannot be accessed by the guest computer and the virtual machine at the same time.
- If the virtual machine is the active window, the USB stick will automatically be attached to the virtual machine when it is inserted into the computer.
- If the virtual machine is not the active window or is not running, select the virtual machine and click the VM menu. Select Removable Devices and click Connect. The USB stick will be automatically attached to the virtual machine.
Step 6. Take a snapshot (snapshot) of a virtual machine
A snapshot is a saved state and allows you to load the virtual machine exactly as it is at that particular moment, as often as you want.
- Select your virtual machine, click the VM menu, hover to Snapshot and select Take Snapshot.
- Give your Snapshot a name. You can also give it a description, but this is not mandatory.
- Click OK to save the Snapshot.
- Load a saved Snapshot by clicking the VM menu and then selecting Snapshot. Choose a Snapshot of your choice from the list and then click Go To.
Step 7. Try to familiarize yourself with keyboard shortcuts
You can use a combination of 'Ctrl' and other keys to navigate through virtual machines. For example: 'Ctrl, ' 'Alt' and 'Enter' put the current virtual machine in full screen or you will be moved to other machines. 'Ctrl, ' 'Alt' and 'Tab' will cause another virtual machine to open when the mouse is used by one machine.