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VMware Workstation Player, formerly VMware Player, is a virtualization software package for x64 computers running Microsoft Windows or Linux, supplied free of charge by VMware, Inc.,a company which was formerly a division of, and whose majority shareholder remains EMC Corporation. VMware Player can run existing virtual appliances and create its own virtual machines (which require an operating system to be installed to be functional). It uses the same virtualization core as VMware Workstation, a similar program with more features, which is not free of charge. VMware Player is available for personal non-commercial use, or for distribution or other use by written agreement. VMware, Inc. does not formally support Player, but there is an active community website for discussing and resolving issues, and a knowledge base.

The free VMware Player was distinct from VMware Workstation until Player v7, Workstation v11. In 2015 the two packages were combined as VMware Workstation 12, with a free for non-commercial use Player version which, on purchase of a license code, became the higher-specification VMware Workstation Pro.

Features

VMware claimed in 2011 that the Player offered better graphics, faster performance, and tighter integration for running Windows XP under Windows Vista or Windows 7 than Microsoft’s Windows XP Mode running on Windows Virtual PC, which is free of charge for all purposes.

Versions earlier than 3 of VMware Player were unable to create virtual machines (VMs), which had to be created by an application with the capability, or created manually by statements stored in a text file with extension «.vmx»; later versions can create VMs. The features of Workstation not available in Player are «developer-centric features such as Teams, multiple Snapshots and Clones, and Virtual Rights Management features for end-point security»,and support by VMware. Player allows a complete virtual machine to be copied at any time by copying a directory; while not a fully featured snapshot facility, this allows a copy of a machine in a particular state to be stored, and reverted to later if desired. By default changes (including proxy settings, passwords, bookmarks, installed software and malware) made in a VM are saved when it is shut down, but the .vmx configuration file can easily be edited to autorevert on shutdown, so that all changes are discarded.

VMware Player is also supplied with the VMware Workstation distribution, for use in installations where not all client users are licensed to use the full VMware Workstation. In an environment where some machines without VMware Workstation licences run VMware Player, a virtual machine created by Workstation can be distributed to computers running Player without paying for additional Workstation licenses if not used commercially.

VMware Workstation is a hosted hypervisor that runs on x64 versions of Windows and Linux operating systems (an x86 version of earlier releases was available); it enables users to set up virtual machines (VMs) on a single physical machine, and use them simultaneously along with the actual machine. Each virtual machine can execute its own operating system, including versions of Microsoft Windows, Linux, BSD, and MS-DOS. VMware Workstation is developed and sold by VMware, Inc., a division of Dell Technologies. There is a free-of-charge version, VMware Workstation Player, for non-commercial use. An operating systems license is needed to use proprietary ones such as Windows. Ready-made Linux VMs set up for different purposes are available from several sources.

VMware Workstation supports bridging existing host network adapters and sharing physical disk drives and USB devices with a virtual machine. It can simulate disk drives; an ISO image file can be mounted as a virtual optical disc drive, and virtual hard disk drives are implemented as .vmdk files.

VMware Workstation Pro can save the state of a virtual machine (a «snapshot») at any instant. These snapshots can later be restored, effectively returning the virtual machine to the saved state, as it was and free from any post-snapshot damage to the VM.

VMware Workstation includes the ability to group multiple virtual machines in an inventory folder. The machines in such a folder can then be powered on and powered off as a single object, useful for testing complex client-server environments.

 

 

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