Installing a New Operating System in VMware Workstation Pro

VMware Workstation Pro is paid virtualization software that allows you to use another operating system within your current one. Want to use Linux for some situations, but only have a Windows 10 computer? No problem — use VMware Workstation on Windows to install Ubuntu.

This program even allows you to run multiple operating systems at the same time. If all you have is Windows 10, but you like to play old Windows XP games and also use a few programs that only work on a Mac, just load the XP or Mac virtual machine, make it full screen and use him just like you would if it was the only operating system you had.

The process of installing a new operating system in VMware Workstation is quite simple as the installation wizard makes it super easy. Below are step-by-step screenshots showing everything you need to know from the initial setup screen to booting into the new operating system.

Tip: Also read the section at the very bottom of this page for some initial setup tips.

Install New Operating System in VMware Workstation

Step 1: Go to File New virtual machine

Step 2: Select Typical (recommended)and then press Next one

Step 3: Choose how you want to install the operating system.

Select Installation Disc if the operating system is in the disk drive. Choose different Installation disk image (iso) if you have a file that contains the operating system, such as a Windows 10 ISO or an ISO for macOS.

Step 4: Choose exactly where the OS files are located.

If you chose to install the operating system from a disc, choose the appropriate disc drive from the drop-down menu. For an ISO installation, select To leaf through and locate the ISO image.

Step 5: Press Next one to proceed to the screen where you name the new virtual machine and choose where to save the files. Fill in that information and then select Next one again.

Important: Make sure to choose a location that can handle the potentially ultra-large files created by the operating system while you’re using it. You may need hundreds of gigabytes if you use this VM heavily. Saving to an external hard drive is a good idea if your local hard drive doesn’t have enough space.

Note: Some operating system settings will prompt you to enter the product key used to activate it. You should be able to skip that step if you want to enter the key later.

Step 6: Decide how storage should take place with this virtual machine, then press Next one

You can change the maximum size of the virtual hard drive in the small box. At the bottom of this window are two options: Save virtual disk as a single file and
Save virtual disk in multiple files

Choose the second option if you think you could ever move the VMware hard drive to another computer, but pay attention to the text on that screen that mentions a possible performance drop from using multiple files with a large hard drive.

In other words, if you plan to store a lot of data on this VM, select the “single file” option, otherwise go for “multiple files”.

Step 7: Select Customize hardware
and make the necessary changes. You can change details about the memory, processors, disk drive, network adapter, USB controller, sound card, printer, and display.

For example the Memory section is how you specify how much physical RAM the virtual machine is allocated. If you later decide that you’ve given the VM too little memory, it may run slowly. Likewise, if you give too much, your host computer will perform sluggishly and will struggle even if you are using the VM.

VMware Workstation recommends a specific amount based on how much you have installed, but you can adjust the memory to whatever you want (although it’s best to stick to the recommended level). Different operating systems require different amounts of memory (eg Windows 10 needs more than Windows 2000).

Network adapter Here’s an important part that you may need to tweak later if your virtual machine doesn’t have internet access. There are multiple options, and some may or may not work properly, depending on how your host computer is set up and how the guest operating system (the VM) works. You can skip this for now to let the default option choose for you.

Step 8: To elect Close to to leave the Hardware screen, then press Finish

VMware Workstation creates the virtual disk you specified in step 6, and then turns on the virtual machine automatically. This process may take a while, but you can check the progress bar for an estimate of when it will finish.

Step 9: Follow all on-screen instructions to start the operating system installation. For example, if you see: Press any key to boot from CD or DVDdo that to start the operating system installation.

Step 10: Follow the installation instructions for your specific operating system to add the operating system to VMware Workstation.

Things to Remember

The VM
Snapshot option is how to “freeze” the current state of the VM so you can revert back to the same state later. You may need to do this if the operating system later crashes, you get a lot of viruses that can’t be cleaned, or you just want to start over with a fresh install.

We recommend taking a new snapshot once the operating system is fully installed and you are logged in, but before you make changes to the VM.

However, even after that, consider installing all updates to the operating system and all your necessary programs, such as your favorite web browser and antivirus software, Adobe Flash, etc., and then take another snapshot. Restoring the VM to a state that contains these items saves you time because you don’t have to reinstall them all.

Once the operating system is installed and running, go to VM Settings to adjust hardware settings that you changed or did not change from step 7. Some options can only be edited when the virtual machine is turned off.

When the VMware VM is powered on, you can shut down or restart it at any time from the VM Current menu. This is also how you pause the VM, meaning you have to pause it so you can resume at the exact same point the next time you open it. This is different from powering on from a disabled state where you have to log in again, open programs and files, etc.

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