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Monthly Archives: May 2020

VMware Workstation 15.5 Now Supports Host Hyper-V Mode

With the release of VMware Workstation/Player 15.5.5, we are very excited and proud to announce support for Windows hosts with Hyper-V mode enabled! As you may know, this is a joint project from both Microsoft and VMware. You can also check out Microsoft’s blog here.

Direct Download:

It has been a long journey

  • Since the introduction of Hyper-V, including Credential Guard and Device Guard, enabling any of these features prevented VMware Workstation from launching virtual machines. In order to satisfy our customers, VMware and Microsoft started a collaboration with the goal of fixing this problem.
  • At VMworld 2019 San Francisco, VMware and Microsoft together made an announcement that we have jointly developed a project that adopts Microsoft Windows Hypervisor Platform (WHP) APIs.
  • In January 2020, Workstation Tech Preview 20H1 was released, with support for hosts with VBS enabled being the target feature for testing.

How does VMware Workstation work before version 15.5.5? 

VMware Workstation traditionally has used a Virtual Machine Monitor (VMM) which operates in privileged mode requiring direct access to the CPU as well as access to the CPU’s built in virtualization support (Intel’s VT-x and AMD’s AMD-V).  When a Windows host enables Virtualization Based Security (“VBS“) features, Windows adds a hypervisor layer based on Hyper-V between the hardware and Windows.  Any attempt to run VMware’s traditional VMM fails because being inside Hyper-V the VMM no longer has access to the hardware’s virtualization support.

Introducing User Level Monitor

To fix this Hyper-V/Host VBS compatibility issue, VMware’s platform team re-architected VMware’s Hypervisor to use Microsoft’s WHP APIs. This means changing our VMM to run at user level instead of in privileged mode, as well modifying it to use the WHP APIs to manage the execution of a guest instead of using the underlying hardware directly.

What does this mean to you?

VMware Workstation/Player can now run when Hyper-V is enabled. You no longer have to choose between running VMware Workstation and Windows features like WSL, Device Guard and Credential Guard. When Hyper-V is enabled, ULM mode will automatically be used so you can run VMware Workstation normally. If you don’t use Hyper-V at all, VMware Workstation is smart enough to detect this and the VMM will be used.

System Requirements

To run Workstation/Player using the Windows Hypervisor APIs, the minimum required Windows 10 version is Windows 10 20H1 build 19041.264. VMware Workstation/Player minimum version is 15.5.5.

A big congratulation to the engineering teams from both Microsoft and VMware. This is a big milestone for both sides. We will still be working together on bugs reported by our customers, improving performance, and adding features to WHP based on customers’ requests.

A big thank you to our customers, to our passionate users! Thank you for being patient! Thank you for your valuable feedback! You are the only reason we have such a big joint project!

Enjoy running VMware Workstation on the latest Windows 10 20H1 with or without Hyper-V!

— The VMware Workstation Team

DirectX 11 Now in Testing with VMware Workstation Tech Preview 20H2

The VMware Workstation and Fusion team is excited to announce the release of our 20H2 Technology Preview featuring the first drop of our DirectX 11 support!

Quick download links:

Workstation Pro for Windows

Workstation Pro for Linux

What‘s New with the Workstation 20H2 Tech Preview

DirectX 11 Support

  • Provides support for DirectX 11 (Direct3D v11) and OpenGL 4.1 graphics capabilities in the guest operating systems! Obviously DX11 is Windows guest only, but OpenGL 4.1 applies to Linux guests as well.
  • Hundreds of new games and applications can now run in Fusion and Workstation!

Increased Hardware Maximums: MONSTER VMS

  • Both Fusion and Workstation Tech Preview 20H2 support up to 32 processors and up to 128GB of RAM per virtual machine, as well as 4GB of shared graphics memory

Sandboxed Graphics Processes

  • We’ve dramatically enhanced virtual machine security by using a special non-root “sandbox” process for rendering 3d hardware assisted graphics. This further isolates the Guest VM operations from the Host, significantly reducing the viability of privilege escalation to the host.

To get started with DX11, VMware Tools needs to be upgraded, and the Virtual Hardware Compatibility version must be set to v18. Existing VMs can be upgraded by adjusting the virtual hardware compatibility while the VM is powered off.  After power-on, you can then upgrade VMware tools as you normally would. With new VMs you may need to manually set the virtual hardware version to v18 before installing, so double check.

Committed to our users, we’ve been working hard on this feature for many years, and so we welcome your feedback!

Let us know your experience! Does your favourite game work? Glitchy? Looks perfect? Help us improve by sharing in our Workstation Tech Preview Community Forum!

Download Now! (Windows)