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Celebrate Earth Day and save on VMware Workstation

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Go green—consolidate your PCs into one with VMware Workstation 10

Virtualization is a green choice because the technology allows you to run multiple virtual machines on one physical computer. Reduce hardware and energy costs by consolidating your PCs with VMware Workstation, winner of more than 50 industry awards.

Make a green choice and save up to 20% on VMware Workstation 10:

  • Buy Workstation 10 and save 20% off Regular List Price
  • Upgrade to Workstation 10 and save 20% off Regular List Price

This offer begins on April 22, 2014, at 12:01 am Pacific Time and expires on April 24, 2014, at 11:59 pm Pacific Time.

VMware Workstation 10 and Player 6 Updates Now Available

VMware Workstation 10.0.2 Now Available

VMware Workstation 10.0.2 is a maintenance release that is a free update for all VMware Workstation 10.x customers. Read the Release Notes for more details.

VMware Player 6.0.2 Now Available

VMware Player 6.02 is a maintenance release that is a free update for all VMware Player 6.x customers. Read the Release Notes for more details.

How to get the updates

VMware Workstation 10 will prompt you to download the update the next time you run it. You can manually check for the update from the “Help” -> “Software Updates” menu item. Alternatively, you can download it from here.

VMware Player 6 will prompt you to download the update the next time you run it. You can manually check for the update from the “Player” -> “Help” -> “Software Updates” menu item. Alternatively, you can download it from here.

PLEASE NOTE: VMware Workstation 10 includes a copy of VMware Player 6 for commercial use.  If you have VMware Workstation 10 you do not need to download VMware Player 6 separately since it is included in the VMware Workstation 10 download.

Many thanks to the Workstation 10 and Player 6 customers reporting these issues to Workstation Support and discussing them with the VMware Workstation Community.

Windows XP EOL and the Road Ahead

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Well it is finally here, after 12 years Windows XP support officially ends today, April 8th, 2014.

I spent many great years using Windows XP, but as an ‘early adopter,’ I always personally upgraded to the latest Windows release on new hardware when it becomes available. However, in my professional life prior to VMware, I used Windows XP until late 2012 because it was still the corporate standard on laptops and desktops.

The main reason why I used Windows XP for work, even as recently as 2012, was that my employer was running a handful of Windows XP business-critical applications that could not be moved to a newer Windows OS. When it came time for a new computer I always had a few choice words to say when I received the latest laptop hardware at work, to only boot up to Windows XP because of those few critical legacy applications we still had to run.

My experience is pretty typical, even today, with Windows XP support ending. There are many businesses running critical business application on Windows XP that need more time before they can transition to a new Windows platform.

If you’re not ready to move from Windows XP or need more time before you make the move, you can continue running your critical Windows XP applications in a virtual environment.

Here is why virtualization with VMware Workstation 10 is a great option to consider as part of your Windows XP migration plan:

  • Get forward compatibility, so you can run Windows XP on modern hardware and software, including the latest Ultrabooks, Intel-based tablets, or the latest desktop workstation.
  • Isolating your Windows XP environment in a virtual machine will help reduce its vulnerability to security risks.
  • If your virtual machine ever becomes corrupted, you can use the Snapshot feature to roll back to a safe state.
  • Leverage Unity mode to run legacy Windows XP applications on a Windows PC while simultaneously running the latest operating systems like Windows 8.1.

Moving Windows XP to your new Windows or Linux machine is fast and easy with Workstation 10 built-in Migration Assistant Wizard, which takes you through the process step-by-step to create a virtual machine from a physical machine running Windows XP.

Click HERE to learn more about virtualizing Windows XP.

VMware Workstation 10 plans to Release the Retro Computer Support Pack

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In celebration of the great home computers of the 1970s and 1980s the VMware Workstation team is providing support for the Apple II, Atari 400/800, Commodore PET, Commodore VIC 20, Commodore 64, Radio Shack TRS-80, and the Sinclair Z80 home computers within a VMware virtual machine. Imagine showing your friends and family the classic computers, operating systems, and applications of the past all while running on today’s modern hardware.

After extensive late night R&D effort, a proprietary 8-bit microprocessor hypervisor was created to run inside our existing x86 64-bit hypervisor to give you the double hypervisor – It’s like a double rainbow but better. In addition to the retro computer support the development team created the data cassette tape drive to MP3 converter so you can listen to your favorite games still on cassette as they are loading into the virtual machine. For the well-off consumer crowd the team developed a 5.25″ floppy disk drive and acoustic coupled modem to USB interface.

The retro computer support pack is coming to VM near you in the future. Once the retro  support pack is released the Workstation team plans to work on the HAL 9000 and Skynet AI support pack.

Happy April 1st ; )

What’s Cool about the VMware KVM Utility.

VMware Workstation 10 comes with a handy utility which allows you to switch between active VMs (virtual machines) using a configurable hot key just like a KVM (Keyboard Video Mouse) switch. The benefit of using the VMware KVM utility is the VMs can be run in full-screen without launching the Workstation 10 interface (no tool bar) and manage their power state via CLI (command line interface). Another additional benefit from an IT perspective is running a virtual machine for the user when Windows is launched and the user can  seamlessly switch between the operating systems by using the defined hotkey.

Note: The VMware KVM mode is only available for Windows version of Workstation 10.x.

Below is a brief example with screen shots and short video on how I setup and used VMware KVM mode with desktop shortcuts on my Win 8.1 computer. *** Not all steps are included in this blog post and the location of your files might be different so please reference Knowledge Base article KB2057914 and VMware KVM Guide (pdf) for detailed information on using the VMware KVM utility.

The first step in configuring VMware KVM mode is setting the hotkeys and preferences. Open up a command prompt and change to the directory where Workstation is installed. Launch the VMware KVM executable with the “–preferences”  after the command.

VMware KVM Command Prompt

Upon launching “vmware-kvm.exe –preferences” command you will see a small GUI window that allows you to change the default hot keys in addition to other features for launching and exiting the virtual machine.

VMware KVM Preferences

If you use multiple monitors like I am you can change the physical monitor on which the selected virtual machine runs in full screen mode as shown below. Click OK to exit the utility and save you KVM preferences.

VMware KVM Pref Multi Mon

The second step is to execute the vmware-kvm.exe command with a pointer to the selected VM to run Workstation in KVM mode. You will run the command: “vmware-kvm.exe [OPTIONS] virtual-machine-vmx-file.vmxwhere: “virtual-machine-vmx-file.vmx” is the path to the .vmx file of the virtual machine. To run multiple VMs and switch between them with the configured hot key the vmware-kvm.exe command must be issued once for each VM you want to start or stop in KVM mode.

In the next few screen shots I created a desktop shortcut for the vmware-kvm.exe and pointed it to the location of my VM I want assigned to the desktop shortcut. The location of you vmware-kvm.exe and VMs may be different depending if you changed the default installation locations when installing VMware Workstation 10. For additional assistance in locating your VMs please reference KB Article KB1003880 besides the guides mentioned above.

Create a desktop shortcut for the vmware-kvm.exe executable from within File Explorer by right clicking on the executable and selecting “Send To” “Desktop (create shortcut)”

VMware KVM -Desktop Shortcut

Once the shortcut is created on the desktop edit the shortcut properties and in the “Target Field” enter the path to the “.vmx” file of the selected VM. Make sure the path to the VM is after the quotes and is also inside its own quotes. Click Apply and OK to exit the desktop shortcut properties. The path to my selected VM as an example would be “O:\VMs\Windows 7 SP1 x64\Windows 7 SP1 x64.vmx” and would come after the path to the vmware-kvm.exe file location as shown below.

VMware KVM Desktop Shortcut 1R1

Click on the newly created desktop shortcut to launch the VM in Full Screen. To cycle through the running VMs and current host OS desktop screen use the configured hotkey which in my case is the “Pause” key. To run more VMs in KVM mode create additional shortcuts for the vmware-kvm.exe executable and point to the VM you would like to run.

In the short video below (no audio) I created three vmware-kvm.exe shortcuts on my Win 8.1 desktop for various Windows OS VMs (Win XP, Win Vista, Win 7) and launch each one and cycle through the VMs with the Pause hot-key and then back to my WIn 8.1 desktop.

Spring is in the Air

We are celebrating Spring this week in the Northern Hemisphere and Autumn in the Southern Hemisphere (Australia, New Zealand, South America, Southern Africa) with a cool 15% discount on VMware Workstation 10. This sale will not last long so act quickly for changing of the season savings.

VMware Workstation:

  • Buy Workstation 10 and get 15% off
  • Upgrade to Workstation 10 from Workstation 8 or 9 and get 15% off

This offer starts on Monday, March 17th at 8 PM Pacific Time and ends on March 20th at 11:59 PM Pacific Time.

Experience Android KitKat in VMware Workstation

KitKat is the latest Android release from Google with a lot of attractive changes both inside and outside. Before it hits every Android phone out there, you certainly have a new way to experience it with a very simple set up in VMware Workstation 10.

Last week, our team was very excited to see that the latest Android x86 release (a.k.a. 4.4 RC1) supports VMware virtual machines. Details are available in the release note at  http://www.android-x86.org/releases/releasenote-4-4-rc1.

I downloaded the ISO file and successfully set it up to run within Workstation 10 but you need to be aware of a couple tips and tricks. The part that you need to notice during installation is that once the Android ISO file is selected, it will be detected as FreeBSD and 256 MB of memory is assigned by default which was not enough to power on the VM without errors. After a few trials of modifying the memory settings of the VM, I found out that 4 GB of virtual memory could sufficiently make it run in a very smooth style.

Upon successful VM power up you will need to walk through a manual installation of Linux which is not covered in this article. However if during the installation you run into any problem when creating and formatting the disk, here is a brief reference you can use as a guide, https://blogs.vmware.com/workstation/2010/05/google-android-running-on-your-workstation.html. One thing to note is VMware Tools are not supported for Android.

Here is screenshot during successful power up of the KitKat VM before it boots into the GUI.

Android_boot

Once the Android VM was setup and I powered on the VM, KitKat worked very well as you can see from the screenshot below. You can surf the web and use most of the Android application, mouse curser/clicks mimic the touch screen input, and I also tried to run it on Microsoft Surface tablet, where you can really leverage the touch screen to operate the Android VM. While most of applications I tried worked well, Google Maps App could not be rendered properly at the moment.

Here is a screenshot of the Main Android Home Screen.

Android_homescreen

Below is another screenshot of KitKat browsing VMware website.

Android_web_browser

Another minor issue I discovered is that once the KitKat VM falls into sleep mode, I could not wake it up when there is no physical power button, so I had to reboot it. A simple workaround is going to the KitKat Settings -> Display -> Sleep, and check “Never time out of inactivity”.

Please let us know feedback running Android x86 VM in VMware Workstation since we’d love to make this a great way to experience Android OS.

Sweet Virtualization Deals

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We’re celebrating Valentine’s Day with a sweet 20% discount on licenses and upgrades of VMware Workstation 10.

Fall in love all over again with VMware Workstation, the winner of more than 50 industry awards.

Hurry—this offer expires at 11:59 PM PST on Friday, February 14th.

We’re adding to the team!

The New Year starts out with some great additions to the VMware Workstation and VMware Fusion teams. As a result of continued growth and ongoing product development, VMware has decided to add more product marketing and product management expertise to the Fusion and Workstation teams.

Bo Fu, Nannette Vilushis, and me, William Myrhang, wanted to take the opportunity to introduce ourselves, revitalize the Workstation and Fusion blogs, and engage with our Workstation and Fusion users. We bring many years of product management and marketing experience to the team along with passion for helping IT to use virtualization software to be more successful.

We’re very excited to be working on products with great track records. VMware Workstation and VMware Fusion are exceptionally cool, proven, and reliable products that continue to win industry awards. Newbie product VMware Player Plus has surpassed all expectations in its first release as the best way to deliver a managed desktop. This success is largely due to our loyal user communities, who amaze us with their enthusiasm, ingenuity, and dedication to excellence. We want to celebrate our communities with frequent posts to the Workstation and Fusion blogs on product news, usage tips, links to other “creative” works, and occasionally share a little bit of information on what we are thinking or new features that we are considering….

In addition to our blogs, we are becoming active in VMware’s social communities (Community, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn).  If you have product suggestions, want to brag about something awesome that you have done with our products, or show off your encyclopedic knowledge of everything virtual… we look forward to hearing from you in the communities!

- William Myrhang, Nannette Vilushis, and Bo Fu

Using VMware Workstation to Manage your ESXI hosts and VMs

Often the VMware Workstation group gets questions about how to leverage VMware Workstation to remotely connect to virtual machines running on another instance of Workstation, or on VMware vSphere. William Lam, a VMware Staff Product Integration Architect, recently wrote an informative article on his excellent Virtually Ghetto Blog regarding using VMware Workstation 10 to manage ESXi hosts and remote VMs. William’s Virtually Ghetto blog focuses heavily on VMware automation tips and tricks and has been voted one of the top 10 Virtualization blogs on vsphere-land.com in 2013. Thanks to William Lam for allowing us to feature his complete blog post below.

How cool is that!? Using VMware Workstation to manage your ESXi hosts (including Free ESXi) & VMs

Written and Posted by William Lam Thursday, November 21, 2013

To be completely honest, I have not played with VMware Workstation in quite awhile as my day-to-day job primarily revolves around our Enterprise suite of products. In a recent meeting that I was in, I picked up on some interesting tidbits about the latest version of VMware Workstation 10 and after giving it a try in my lab, I thought I would share one very cool feature that you may be aware of (there is actually a lot of cool features in latest release, check what’s new here).

The very first thing I noticed is that unlike other downloads from VMware in which you need to register the product and get an evaluation key. VMware Workstation can be downloaded without any registration and you can start the 30-day free trial immediately after installation! I think that is a really slick and can also come in handy if you need to install Workstation right away for something. Make sure you download from this page here by clicking on “Try for Free” instead of going to www.vmware.com/downloads

One of the capabilities that Workstation introduced probably a couple of releases ago was the ability to connect to a remote system whether that is another Workstation instance, vCenter Server and even an ESXi host. At the time I assumed this was to enable users to easily cold migrate a Virtual Machine that was created locally onto one of these remote targets.

What I did not realize was that you could do a lot more with this capability than to just copy offline Virtual Machines. To my surprise I found that you could fully manage the Virtual Machines on these remote targets including changing the virtual hardware configurations such as adding memory, cpu, disk, etc. guestOS as well as provision new Virtual Machines. The VM Console is fully functional leveraging VMRC and you can even connect to Free ESXi instances and get same capabilities you had with the legacy vSphere C# Client. The other neat thing about this is you can also manage your Virtual Hardware 10 VMs even though the latest vSphere C# Client does not allow this because VMware Workstation 10 is vHW10 aware.

Here is a screenshot of managing my Free ESXi host which is running on my Apple Mac Mini as well as my vCenter Server. As you can see you can have multiple connections open up which is quite useful, especially if you have a couple of Free ESXi hosts in which you would like a single pane of glass to manage.

Another nice feature is the amount of backwards capability it provides for vSphere. You can go as far back as vSphere 4.1 (vCenter Server & ESXi). To prove this in my environment, I provisioned a Nested ESXi running on vSphere 4.1, 5.0, 5.1 and 5.5 and connected them all to Workstation. This is another great way to manage standalone ESXi hosts if you still need to run older versions.

Lastly, you do not need to be running the Windows version of VMware Workstation to get these benefits. You can also do the same using Workstation for Linux and here is a screenshot of running Workstation on an Ubuntu desktop.

As you can see this is just one of many new and cool capabilities of VMware Workstation 10 and I have to say for $250, this is a steal to be able to easily manage not only your VMs running locally but also remote systems like vCenter Server, ESXi hosts including Free ESXi which is a huge deal IMHO. The Workstation team really knocked it out of the park and I am glad I had the opportunity to check out their latest release. I also hope VMware Fusion will be getting these capabilities in the near future! Simon, I hope you see this ;)