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VMware Workstation Virtualization Software

VMware Workstation is virtualization software that allows you to run multiple virtual computers on one physical computer. This way you can run a variety of different operating systems on one computer allowing you to do things such as test software or patches before deployment or setup a virtual network for learning purposes and so on. VMware Workstation can be thought of as a small scale or home version of the enterprise ESX, ESXi and vSphere virtualization server software used for large deployments of virtual servers and desktops.

VMware Workstation will run on a variety or computers that use x86 based hardware with Intel and AMD processors and most Windows or Linux host operating systems. It's recommended that your computer has a 1GHz or faster processor, 2GB of RAM, and 1.5 GB or more of free disk space. If you have a 64 bit operating system then you need to have an Intel VT or AMD-V processor.

VMware Workstation works by mapping the physical hardware resources to the virtual machine's resources using the virtualization layer. By doing this, the virtual machines have their own CPU, memory, disks, and other devices. You install VMware Workstation onto your operating system on your computer. This allows for hardware support by inheriting device support from the host.

After installing VMware Workstation, you create a virtual machine by assigning it a processor or processors, RAM, a virtual hard disk, ports, and networking. Then you turn on the VM (virtual machine) and install the guest operating system using a CD or ISO image file just like you would if it were on the physical computer itself. The host OS sees VMware Workstation as an application so no modifications are made to the host OS. For IP addressing, the VM can use NAT (network address translation) and share the host's IP address or use bridged networking to receive its own IP address from an available DHCP server. Or if you don't need external network access you can use the host only network option which connects your VMs internally as a private network. VMware Workstation lets you create VMs with up to 8 virtual processors, 32 GB of memory and 2 TB virtual disks. Just make sure your computer (the host) has sufficient resources to create the types of virtual machines you want to use. Another nice feature is driverless printing which allows the host computer's printers to be accessible to your virtual machines without any additional drivers to be installed.

Once you get your VMs setup you will have them all in one easy to manage interface. You can run as many at a time as your recourses will allow. Plus you will have the option to edit the hardware and settings of your VMs to adjust for things like performance and storage capabilities. You can also add and remove virtual hardware as needed. If you want to share folders between the host and guest computers then there is an option to turn that on. Snapshots take point in time image backups of your VM in case you want to restore it to a prior state. The VMware converter will convert physical or virtual computers to VMware VMs that you can use within VMware Workstation.

VMware Workstation

VMware Workstation

Supported host operating systems

  • Windows XP
  • Windows Vista
  • Windows 7
  • Windows Server 2003
  • Windows Server 2008
  • Asianux Server 3
  • CentOS 5
  • Mandriva 2008 – 2009
  • Oracle Enterprise Linux 5
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 +
  • SUSE10 +
  • openSUSE 10.2 +
  • Ubuntu 6.06 +

Supported guest operating systems

  • MS-DOS
  • Windows 3.1
  • Windows 95
  • Windows 98 ME
  • Windows NT
  • Windows 2000
  • Windows RE
  • Windows PE
  • Windows XP
  • Windows Server 2003
  • Windows Server 2008
  • Windows Vista
  • Windows 7
  • Asianux Server
  • CentOS
  • Mandrake
  • Novell Linux Desktop
  • Oracle Enterprise Linux
  • Red Hat
  • SUSE
  • openSUSE
  • Turbolinux
  • Ubuntu
  • FreeBSD
  • Solaris
  • Sun Java Desktop System


Check out VMware Workstation for yourself and see if it's something you can benefit from. They offer a free 30 day trial on their website.


Related Tips:
Microsoft Virtual PC
Create a Virtual Hard Drive in Windows 7
Symantec Software Virtualization Solution (SVS)
Real VNC (Virtual Network Computing)


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