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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.

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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

36 thoughts on “VMware Workstation 15.5 Now Supports Host Hyper-V Mode

  1. kevin

    can you update from the tech preview or do you need to uninstall and reinstall the new version?

    1. kevin

      nevermind, the installer says it does not support product downgrades (probably since tech preview version number is higher). need to uninstall first

  2. Erik

    I had to disable CPU virtualization features to get this to work, is that to be expected?

    1. Mike McNeff

      no… that is not good. at all.

  3. Richard Nichols III

    Will this somehow lead to being able to use the GPU in a VMWare Workstation guest in the future?

  4. Mike McNeff

    this problem is not “fixed” – can’t run on Server 2019? that’s a complete fail IMO. How is it a “win” when it will only co-exist on one tech preview build of Windows 10? I like the direction of this but please- think realistically and completely before announcing broad success.

    1. Daniel Hansson

      Hi, I’m using WS2019 as well and are presented with this: https://i.imgur.com/rtF9MpX.png

      Even though I disabled it in GPO and restarted the server, it still doesn’t work. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

      1. Daniel Hansson

        OK, so this solved the issue for me: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/security/identity-protection/credential-guard/credential-guard-manage#disable-windows-defender-credential-guard-by-using-the-hvci-and-windows-defender-credential-guard-hardware-readiness-tool

    2. Sam

      Well its a fix for now until Windows 20H1 is available to everyone. They rely on specific things only insider builds currently support. I just tested it on my machine that has insider build from fast ring and now I can finally use both wsl and vmware without any issues.

    3. Sam

      Actually 20H1 is already available to public now. Its their latest update for Public. If you want to take advantage of this, better update and complain less

  5. Karim.S

    Any performance downgrade when using this extra layer (WHP APIs) ??

    1. Juan Carlos

      All existing virtual machines run noticeably slower for me.

  6. THRJG

    Hi,

    Any idea how I can get through this issue?

    VMware Workstation does not support nested virtualization on this host.
    Module ‘MonitorMode’ power on failed.
    Failed to start the virtual machine.

    Thanks
    T.G

    1. Owais

      I had the same problem, But was able to fix after disabling all the Features in Virtualization Engine for the VM Settings->Processor.

      Hope this helps

      1. Leandro

        I can not change the Processors Settings i dont know why.

        1. Alexis Menard

          Make sure to force the power off the VM.

      2. BBeauchemin

        Thanks! Solved the issue.
        I’m running docker at the same time as workstation on my computer now. Finally not required to play in windows features or cluster my machines.

        1. Sam

          Well its a fix for now until Windows 20H1 is available to everyone. They rely on specific things only insider builds currently support. I just tested it on my machine that has insider build from fast ring and now I can finally use both wsl and vmware without any issues

        2. Sam

          Sorry that comment was not ment for you, idk why it was posted under your comment

    2. Leandro

      Same problem here.

  7. Juan Carlos

    My Linux VMs run very slow compared with the native performance they had after installing 15.5.5 and enabling the virtualization features required by WSL2.

    1. Pat Erler

      same, they are barely usable.

  8. Antonio

    In my case, it only worked when I removed Ubuntu and then completely the features: Virtual Machine Platform and Windows Subsystem for Linux. When these services were enabled, it was impossible to run any nested virtualization on the host, showing the message:
    VMware Workstation does not support nested virtualization on this host.
    Module ‘MonitorMode’ power on failed.
    Failed to start the virtual machine.

    Probably something related to WSL2 and the virtual prereqs it needs to operate, prereqs that break VM Workstation expected behaviour.

    1. Owais

      Disable all under Virtualization Engine in VM Settings and it will Fix

  9. K. Orkun

    Exactly like Antonio mentioned, the VM does NOT start up either when you check one of those options at Virtualization engine: “Virtualize Intel VT-x/EPT or AMD-V/RVI” OR “Virtualize CPU performance counters”. It does work when you check only “Virtualize IOMMU (IO memory management unit)”.

    If one was eagerly waiting to setup the WSL2 environment and also want to run a real Linux virtual server/desktop alongside on top of a Windows 10 pro then you are confronted again with a feature they advertised so badly but forgot to test it thoroughly. This is unfortunately normal lately with Microsoft, but now VMware has joined this club of moonlighters.
    I have reported this earlier to Microsoft with the Windows insiders preview edition together with VMware Workstation 16, but they haven’t fixed it. I hope they will bring out soon a fix for this bug, this is really ugly.

    1. owmaka

      It is terrible

  10. Brian

    On a Windows host with Linux VMs, I’ve noticed a strong behaviour, control of caps/lock/shift become out of sync, to be able to type in lower case I have to hold shift down to turn off caps lock.

    1. Nick

      I encountered the same issue and had to downgrade to 15.5.2 build-15785246. Would love to see if there’s a fix for this.

      1. Owen Rudge

        I’ve just encountered this same issue – very annoying! A fix would be greatly appreciated.

        1. Nick

          Seems like they fixed it in 15.5.6!

  11. Stephen Fletcher

    YAY!

  12. Greg Johnson

    OK, in off the ledge.. (just kidding). A suggestion on this thread saved me. For the sake of others who are in the same fix and read this comment thread, here is a slight elaboration of the fix: You will need to go into the Settings window of each of your virtual machines, inside VMWare. (Not “Settings” in Windows 10.) Start VMWare, and click on one of your virtual machines. Then, select “Edit virtual machine settings”. Under the Devices window, select “Processors”. On the “Virtualization engine” section, unclick “Virtualize Intel VT-x/EPT or AMD-V/RTI”, and unclick “Virtualize CPU performance counters”. Do this manually for each one of your virtual machines. Then, at least for me, things worked again happily. Unlike some of the other commenters above, I did not see a noticeable performance degradation on my virtual machine after it started working again.

    Many thanks to the people on this thread who explained the problem and how to fix it. And, huge thanks to the MS and VMWare engineers who have worked hard to get all of this complex technology working.

    I would suggest that work needs to be done to smooth out the process of informing users (like me) what they will need to do after a Windows upgrade in order to get things working again. Perhaps VMWare could put a big notice on the 15.5.5 upgrade page that warns users about this issue and how to fix it. (There may already be something there, but this “user/luser” did not notice it.)

  13. mithuran

    I had the same issue “VMware Workstation does not support nested virtualization on this host. Module ‘MonitorMode’ power on failed”

    I’m running EVE-ng emulation tool based on Ubuntu which requires nested virtualization feature once I disable “Virtualize Intel VT-x/EPT or AMD-V/RTI”, and “Virtualize CPU performance counters”, I can boot my Ubuntu machine but emulation is not functioning properly.

    1. Michael Fryman

      These aren’t fixes. Unfortunately these “fixes” others suggest here to turn off your “Virtualize Intel VT-x/EPT or AMD-V/RTI”, and “Virtualize CPU performance counters” are not fixes. I needed nested virtualization for various testing, development and other legitimate purposes. Now that’s all broken. If I just wanted to run a plain VM I’d probably just use some other hypervisor tool. It’s how well VMware Workstation handled nested virtualization that was the key for my buying the product and continued use of it.

      1. vlads

        Agreed, this is a bug in a VMWare virtualization engine and needs to be fixed. Disabling CPU virtualization extensions only masks the problem at the cost of substantial regression. Fix these, please

    2. Shuai

      I am experiencing the same issue with EVE-NG…Is there a download link to prev version until they fixed the issue in 15.5.5?

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