Author Archives: Michael Paiko

Windows 8 Consumer Preview running in Workstation 8

It’s been a fun day running the Windows 8 Consumer Preview in VMware Workstation 8.  I’m finding Windows 8 very exciting as I consider the possibilities and it definitely changes they way you think about using Windows. 

Windows 8 CP Start Page

For the past day, I’ve been reading a lot of the tweets regarding questions people have about installing Windows 8 in Workstation 8 so I thought I’d quickly document a few key points. 

Easiest Way to Install Windows 8 CP

Watch the video below and please note the following points when using the new virtual machine wizard to install Windows 8 CP.

1) Select “Custom” for type of configuration

2) Select “I will install the operating system later” on the “Install From” screen

3) select “Microsoft Windows” as Guest Operating System and “Windows 7” or “Windows 7 x64” as the version depending on the rev of Windows 8 CP you are installing.

4) After the wizard completes, go to the VM settings and point the virtual DVD drive to the Windows 8 CP ISO and then power on the machine. 

5) Follow the prompts to install Windows 8 CP.  Enjoy!

<I recommend watching in HD and expanding the video size for clarity>

VMware Tools is not installed

When workstation installs Windows 8 CP the VMware tools are not automatically installed. To install VMware Tools manually, follow this simple process.

1) From the Windows 8 Start Screen, select the “Desktop” panel

2) From the Workstation 8 “VM” menu, select “Install VMware Tools…”, This will mount the install files as a disc in the DVD Drive.

3) Run “Setup” from the virtual DVD drive and follow the prompts. Once Tools is installed, it will prompt you to reboot the VM.


“Windows cannot read the <ProductKey> setting from the unattend answer file.”

I’ve seen a lot of people, including myself, get the following message when trying to use the easy install for Windows 7 to install Windows 8 CP.


There is an easy fix.  After you see this message, click “Ok” and power down the VM. Then go to the VM’s hardware settings and remove the floppy drive and then power on the VM.  After you power on the VM, the Windows 8 CP setup proceeds normally. 

Can I run Windows 8 CP as a guest in VMware Workstation 7

No, Workstation 7 can not run Windows 8 CP as a guest operating system.  If you try it, you will see this screen.

Win8 on WS7


For additional information, see Microsoft’s explanation regarding why Windows 8 will not work on older virtualization products. If you do not have VMware Workstation 8, now is a great time to download a free 30-day trial so you can try out Windows 8 CP.

Discuss Further

If you would like to discuss this in more detail, please join us in the VMware Workstation community.

VMware Workstation 8 as an Alternative to VMware Server

Are you still using VMware Server? Now is the time to consider VMware Workstation 8 as an alternative.

In June 2011 VMware ended support for VMware Server and while you are free to continue using VMware Server, you will no longer gain the benefits of newer technologies or support. If you are a software developer, QA engineer, or IT administrator who cannot meet the hardware requirements or dedicate a server to use our free VMware vSphere Hypervisor, we believe the recently released VMware Workstation 8 offers an excellent alternative to VMware server.


Workstation can be easily installed on existing Windows or Linux systems with minimal hardware requirements. Workstation can run on many versions of Windows and Linux including Windows 7 and Ubuntu 11.10. Furthermore, it’s very easy to try Workstation and see if it meets your needs by downloading our free 30-day trial.

Run as a Server

Workstation 8 has a very exciting new feature that allows a user to “share” their VMs. Now you can run virtual machines as a service and it will no longer require a user to always be logged in. This service is the same service used by other VMware products such as VMware Server and ESX and it provides many of the capabilities you need to get your work done.  To run as a service and share a VM, it’s a simple process of dragging and dropping a VM into the shared VM’s folder.  (click to zoom images)



Shared VMs include an extensive permissions interface to allow administrators to control who can access them and what the user can do.  The VMs can even be accessed remotely by another instances of Workstation.  We believe that many of our users will find the sharing function to be a great way to run server operating systems in more of a production like environment.


Transition to the cloud

If you choose to start with Workstation there is a simple process to migrate your VMs to vSphere at any point in the future. Virtual machines running in Workstation are compatible with vSphere. Even better, Workstation makes is very easy to move virtual machines to vSphere. Workstation can be remotely connected to vSphere enabling a ‘drag and drop’ upload of VMs from Workstation to vSphere.


Migrate from VMware Server

To run Workstation on the same hardware as VMware Server, follow the steps below:

1. Shutdown VMs on VMware Server. Check to ensure the hardware meets VMware Workstation’s system requirements.

2. Uninstall VMware Sever before installing VMware Workstation. Be sure not to delete any virtual machines.

3. Install VMware Workstation.

4. VMs can be moved to the “My Virtual Machine” folder under “My documents” if desired, but this is not required.

5. Continue with “final steps” below.


To run Workstation on separate hardware from VMware Server, follow the steps below:

1. Install VMware Workstation on selected hardware.

2. Shut down the VMs on VMware Server.

3. Copy the VMs from the VMware Server hardware to the “My Virtual Machine” folder under “My documents” on the hardware running VMware Workstation.

4. Continue with “final steps” below.


Final Steps

1. Once VMware Workstation is running, follow these steps to get each virtual machine up and running.

2. From the “File” menu, select “Open” to open the file dialog box.

3. Select a virtual machine. The selected VM will now be listed in the virtual machine library under “My Computer”.

4. To run the VM locally, power on the VM.

5. To run the VM in Workstation’s server mode, within the virtual machine library, drag and drop the VM on top of the “Shared VMs” icon.

6. The “Share VM Wizard” will open. Enter a name, and choose the option to move or clone the VM, and then click “Finish”.

7. Power on the VM. At the prompt: “moved” or “copied”, select “moved”.

8. To control access to the VM, right click on the VM’s icon and select “manage”, “Permissions…”

9. Repeat the above steps for each VM.

Try Workstation today.


If you would like to discuss this in more detail, please join us in the VMware Workstation community.

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VMware Store Cyber Monday 3 Day Sale! Get 30% OFF VMware Workstation 8 until 11/30/2011 11:59 PM (PST).

Cyber Monday | 30% Off :: Hurry! Offer valid through Nov. 30th until 11:59 p.m. PST

Don’t miss your chance to save 30% on the all new VMware Workstation 8!  (including upgrades).  Now is your chance to buy the product that ZDNet  called the “The Perfect Staging Tool” and was named the 2011 Redmond Readers Choice Award for Best Virtual PC Product. 

With VMware Workstation 8 you can:

  • Move to the internal cloud. Build and test your virtual machines locally  and then drag and drop to upload them to VMware vSphere®
  • Run Workstation as a server to share virtual machines with your team, department, or anyone in your organization
  • Remotely connect to vSphere and VMware vCenter™ to access remote virtual machines
  • And much, much more…



Connect with Team Workstation!

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What happened to Teams?

This question has been asked by several VMware Workstation 8 users who have previously used the Teams feature in prior versions of Workstation to create a group of virtual machines that operate together. Teams are a concept that was pioneered in Workstation 5 to simplify the creation of multi-tier environments. Applications installed in a virtual multi-tier environment have many benefits over physical server installations including portability which is why they are also often referred to as a virtual appliances or vApp.

In VMware Workstation 8 the concept of a Team has been removed from the user interface, but all of the functionality has been preserved. We did this because we believe that our implementation had serious limitations that both our users and our developers were going to great lengths to work around.

For instance, thumbnail views, bulk power operations, bandwidth throttling, packet loss, and LAN segments were all artificially restricted to only work within a team. It was also becoming increasingly difficult to add features to our product because we had to write conditional code to handle when a virtual machine was operating in a Team.

Where did all of the features go?

Instead of launching the Teams wizard to create the equivalent of a Team you now can simply create a new folder. Any virtual machine created or copied into that folder can be considered to be equivalent to a member of a Team.

Selecting the folder will now open a new tab that display a folder view of the virtual machines including thumbnails of each running virtual machine.


Figure 1: Folder View (click images to expand)

Double clicking on any one of the virtual machine thumbnails will display the console of the chosen virtual machine on the majority of the screen.

To see both the thumbnail view of the virtual machines in the folder and interact with your chosen VM like you were able to do previously – simply display the Thumbnail bar via the icon on the toolbar and ensure that the Thumbnail bar is set to display “Folder View Virtual Machines”


Figure 2: Toggling the Thumbnail Bar


Figure 3: Console View with Thumbnail Bar of Virtual Machines in the same folder

The result should look familiar (ok… the thumbnails are now on the bottom of the screen instead of the top…)

How do I perform power operations on all of the virtual machines in a folder?

To power on, power off or suspend all of the virtual machines in a folder you can select the folder and you will notice that the “Play / Stop / Suspend” icons on the toolbar are enabled. Selecting one of these operations will act on all of the virtual machines in the folder in the order that they are displayed in the tree.


Since we no longer create an abstract container to hold the virtual machines, we no longer have a place to store settings specific to the virtual machines contained within a folder. Therefore we have moved the ability to control the delay between virtual machines starting to a global preference setting.


Figure 4: Workstation 7 setting the delay between virtual machines within a Team starting


Figure 5: Workstation 8 setting the delay between Virtual Machines within a folder starting

This is admittedly a little less capable than the previous implementation but we felt that the tradeoff was worth it.

How do I throttle the bandwidth of my connection and simulate packet loss?

In a Team, the ability to throttle the bandwidth of a connection or simulate packet loss was restricted to a LAN segment connecting virtual machines within a team. As our development team began to dig into the code behind this feature we discovered (remembered) that the implementation was actually being done by the virtual network adapter so we decided to add these capabilities to all network adapter as advanced settings.


The decision to add this capability makes it easy for anyone to evaluate how their applications work over a dial-up line or unreliable connections.

Where did LAN Segments go?

Network traffic between virtual machines is typically sent via a VMnet. However, all virtual machines on the same VMnet can see and potentially intercept or be affected by the network traffic being transmitted.

Any virtual machine in any folders could be share a single VMnet with the virtual machines that are within the folder that you have created. This could be an issue if you are working with malicious software or highly sensitive data.

Teams provided a solution to this by creating LAN Segments that isolated the network traffic to only the virtual machines on the same segment.

Workstation 8 includes this functionality of LAN Segments as an additional network connection option that can be treated like a local virtual private network. When a virtual machine is connected to a LAN Segment only the virtual machines on the same LAN Segment can communicate with each other. This allows you to create a DMZ or virtual proxy server to bridge a set of virtual machines to the outside network.

A benefit of this impl
ementation is that any virtual machine in any folder can be added to the LAN Segment without having to move its location in the virtual machine library. This allows a user to organize their library however they wish and still communicate securely.


Figure 6: Adding a virtual machine to a LAN Segment

What happens to my existing Teams when I upgrade?

When upgrading from previous versions of VMware Workstation to VMware Workstation 8 the user will be prompted to convert their Teams into folders that take advantage of all of the benefits of this new implementation for multi-tier environments. Once the conversion is made, the user will never be able to tell that the folder was not created natively in the latest version of VMware Workstation!

If you would like to discuss this change further and/or provide some feedback on this change, please join us in the VMware Workstation community.

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The Lone Sysadmin: 8 Things I Really Like About VMware Workstation 8

8 Things I Really Like About VMware Workstation 8



I’ve been using VMware Workstation 8 for a few days now. I really like it. A lot of posts have been made hitting some of the major highlights, but there are hundreds of small improvements that add up to be a big deal for me. Here are eight.

This is a really good blog post that touches on many of the small improvements in VMware Workstation 8.

What if I just bought VMware Workstation 7?

If you purchased VMware Workstation 7 between 08/01/2011 and 09/30/2011, you are eligible for a complimentary electronic upgrade under the VMware Workstation 8 Technology Guarantee Program.  Here are the details:

  • If you purchased VMware Workstation 7 electronically from VMware or a VMware reseller during this time period, you will automatically receive your VMware Workstation 8 license key(s) via email. No further action is required to receive your upgrade. Please allow up to 30 days to receive your complimentary electronic upgrade to VMware Workstation 8.
  • If you purchased a VMware Workstation 7 retail box through a VMware Reseller during this time period you will need to submit your license key(s) and proof of purchase online by October 31, 2011. Get started.  Please allow up to 30 days to receive your complimentary electronic upgrade to VMware Workstation 8.
  • Customers with an active support and subscription ("SnS") contract are eligible to upgrade to Workstation 8 for free on the VMware license portal:
    1. Log into the VMware License portal using your account credentials
    2. Locate the VMware Workstation 7 product name for the license key(s) you would like to upgrade
    3. Expand the product name and click the "Upgrade" button
    4. Follow the prompts to upgrade your license key(s) to VMware Workstation 8
    5. After receiving your new license keys, you can download VMware Workstation 8 software from the  Workstation Download Page

If you cannot wait to for your complimentary upgrade to VMware Workstation 8 to arrive, we suggest you make the most of our free 30-day trial offer until then.

VMware Workstation 8 Now Available Worldwide!

VMW_WRKSTN_8_BOXSHOT_WEB_101 We are incredibly excited about the release of VMware Workstation 8. In what some team members have called the biggest improvements in a decade, VMware Workstation 8 is your on-ramp to the cloud. With over 50 new features that include connectivity to vSphere, shared VMs, revamped UI, and ability to run the VMware Micro Cloud Foundry, it’s going to change the way you work with VMs. Let’s take a look at what Workstation 8 can do.
From your PC to the datacenter  
As you and your organization start your journey to the cloud, Workstation 8 can help. Build and run a full web or cloud environment, including VMware Micro Cloud Foundry, right on your PC. Then when you are ready to move your virtual machines to the internal cloud, you simply drag and drop to upload them to vSphere. Workstation 8 - Micro Cloud Foundry
Start sharing the benefits  

Up until now Workstation has been limited to virtual machines running locally on your PC. Workstation 8 can run as a server to share virtual machines or host applications for your team, department or anyone else in your organization with enterprise-caliber control over user access. Say goodbye to the time consuming process of copying virtual machines to file servers or USB hard drives to share them.

Workstation 8 - Server User Permissions
Gain anytime, anywhere access  

With Workstation 8 we have embraced the cloud. Workstation 8 can remotely connect to virtual machines running on vSphere, vCenter, and even another copy of Workstation on your network. Now you can leverage your PC and the internal cloud to access all of the virtual machines you need, regardless of where they are running.

Workstation 8 - Connect to Server
New UI, new way to work  

To harness all this power and connectivity, the Workstation 8 user interface has been completely revamped and streamlined with simplified menus, folder views, a live thumbnail bar and a new virtual machine library. The new virtual machine library makes it easy to view your local and remote virtual machines. Use search to quickly find the virtual machines that you need, whether they are running on your local PC, vSphere, or another instance of Workstation 8 on the network.

Workstation 8 - Folder Thumbnails
Run the most demanding applications  

Workstation 8 continues to raise the bar in what you can do with a virtual machine. Workstation 8 supports 64GB RAM, HD audio, USB 3, and Bluetooth devices in a virtual machine with enhanced virtual SMP and 3D graphics performance. Workstation 8 is so powerful you can even run 64-bit virtual machines on vSphere which itself is running in a Workstation 8 virtual machine. This is not for the faint of heart!

Workstation 8 - 8 CPUs, 32GB RAM

For the complete list of new features, check out the release notes. Watch this blog for a deep dive into Workstation 8 features over the next few weeks.

Availability and pricing

VMware Workstation 8 is immediately available for purchase from the VMware online store for $199 and upgrades from VMware Workstation 6.x and 7.x are available for $99. VMware Workstation can also be purchased through VMware’s network of resellers and distributors. Or download a free 30-day trial.   Customers with active VMware Basic or Production Support and Subscription Service can upgrade here.

What if I just bought VMware Workstation 7?

Customers who have purchased VMware Workstation 7 between 08/01/2011 and 09/30/2011 are eligible for a complimentary electronic upgrade under the VMware Workstation 8 Technology Guarantee Program.  To get your complimentary electronic upgrade click here

If you cannot wait to for your complimentary upgrade to VMware Workstation 8, we suggest you make the most of our free 30-day trial offer.

Enjoy VMware Workstation today!

We hope you enjoy using VMware Workstation 8 as much as we did creating it.

The VMware Workstation Team


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The VMware Workstation Session is a “Must Attend” at VMworld

If you love VMware Workstation and you are attending VMworld 2011 in Las Vegas next week, you must attend our session “What’s New in VMware Workstation” (EUC1945).  Be first to see how the Workstation Team is going to completely change the way you work with virtual machines.  Jason and Rajat promise there will be few slides and lots of demos.  If you enjoyed last year’s session, I predicted you will love it this year.

Don’t miss it!.  Add the session to your schedule today.

Date/Time: Wednesday (8/31), 12:30 PM 
Location: Venetian – San Polo 3501

We look forward to seeing you there!

The Workstation Team

Ps.  I can’t resist, here’s a small teaser.


VMware Workstation 7.1.4 Now Available

VMware Workstation 7.1.4 Now Available

VMware Workstation 7.1.4 is a maintenance release that is a free update for all VMware Workstation 7.x customers.

Highlights include:
– Support for Windows 7 SP1 and Ubuntu 10.10 guest and host operating systems
– Resolves some security issues and addresses customer reported problems

Read the VMware Workstation 7.1.4 release notes for more details.

VMware Workstation 7 will prompt you to download the update the next time you run it.  You can manually check for the update from the “Help” -> “Check for Software Updates Now” menu item.  Alternatively, you can download it from here.

Stay Connected to the VMware Workstation Team:

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VMware Workstation wins two awards;Listen to voice of the customer

The Workstation team is very thrilled that the dedication and hard work we put into VMware Workstation 7 has been recognized by two recent Awards. 

To celebrate our success, we are offering 20% OFF VMware Workstation until March 4th, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. (PST) if you enter the code "EXCELLENCE" in to the shopping cart’s promo box during checkout.

Buy Online   Buy Upgrade

If you been thinking about purchasing VMware Workstation or upgrading to VMware Workstation 7, listen to our recent interview with Thijs Lensselink, the owner and sole developer at  Thijs has over 12 years experience as a web / PHP developer, building  everything from small custom CMS systems to full blown multi-tier enterprise applications.  During the interview, Thijs outlines how he has benefited from the recent integration between VMware Workstation 7 and Zend Studio 8 to enhance his productivity and save on hardware costs.

Stay Connected with Team Workstation!    

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