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Author Archives: Zongmin

Zongmin

About Zongmin

Zongmin is product manager of VMware Workstation, Fusion and vSphere remote console.

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)

VMware Workstation 20H1 Tech Preview – New Build Available

Thank you all for testing VMware Workstation 20H1 Tech Preview. So far many thousands of users have joined the testing.

We are happy to announce that updated Tech Preview build is published. With this new build, following issue reported by our users have been fixed — Virtual machine may crash when powered on if VMware Workstation runs on a Hyper-V/Host VBS enabled host with Intel CPU model Skylake or later.

Please retest and let us know whether this fixes the issue if you experienced it before.

We have been fixing bugs, improving performance of the virtual machine performance on VBS enabled host, to drive VMware Workstation with host VBS enabled feature to reach GA quality as soon as we can.

Please stay tuned for further updates!

Thank you!

Direct Download Link

VMware Workstation Team

VMware Workstation Tech Preview 20H1 — Hyper-V/Host VBS Support

VMware Workstation team is proud to announce VMware Workstation Tech Preview 20H1 is now available.

Download it here

What’s New with VMware Workstation Tech Preview 20H1

With the first release of our 2020 Tech Preview branch, version 20H1 users are now able to run virtual machines on Windows 10 when Hyper-V or host Virtualization Based Security is turned on. You can run Device Guard, Credential Guard services at the same time as VMware Workstation.

At VMworld 2019, the team brought Microsoft on stage for a joint demo, showing for the first time that a virtual machine could be successfully powered on a Hyper-V and VBS (Virtualization Based Security enabled Windows 10 host.  After years of hard work, this incredibly challenging and very low-level project has now moved from concept to a preview that you can test today.

Software Requirements

  • Windows 10 20H1 from Windows insider program.  Minimum build number: 19041.

Hardware Requirements

  • Intel Haswell or newer CPU
  • AMD Bulldozer or newer CPU

What to Test

With this tech preview, VMware Workstation is supposed to work exactly the same way as Workstation works on the non-Hyper-V/VBS enabled host. Please test your most frequent used scenarios and see how it works. Some of the examples we can think of:

  • Create a virtual machine with VMware Workstation Pro Tech Preview 20H1
    • Set up all the tools within the virtual machine that you use, use those tools within the virtual machine, and check the tools work as expected
    • VM operations, for example, Power On/Off virtual machine, Suspend/Resume, Take snapshot/Revert to snapshot, …
  • Copy a VM that was created with earlier Workstation GA version and which is being used in daily work, and run the VM under the tech preview build

Limitations

Comparing with what we demoed at VMworld 2019, Performance of virtual machine have been greatly improved. However, since this is a beta build instead of GA build, the performance may still be not as good as you expect it to be. However, please tell us if you find performance of some applications running within the virtual machine behave far below expectation. General performance of VMware Workstation with host VBS is top priority we target to improve with the GA version to be released soon.

There are some other known issues and limitations. You can check details from user guide under “Documents” of Workstation Pro Tech Preview 20H1 community.

We will answer your questions raised in VMware Workstation Tech Preview 20H1 community and looking forward to your feedback!

Thank you!

Direct Download Link

VMware Workstation Team