How to Install VMware Workstation 16 Pro on Linux Systems

This tutorial will show you how to install VMware Workstation 16 Pro on RHEL/CentOS, Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu, and Linux Mint.

VMware Workstation 16 Pro is popular software that allows you to run multiple different virtual machines on physical hosts using the concept of Type II of hypervisors (Hosted Hypervisors). This tutorial also discusses some common issues during the installation process.

What is new in VMware Workstation 16 Pro

  • Container and Kubernetes Support – Build, run, pull and push container images using the vctl command-line tool.
  • New Guest operating system support for RHEL 8.2, Debian 10.5, Fedora 32, CentOS 8.2, SLE 15 SP2 GA, FreeBSD 11.4, and ESXi 7.0.
  • Support for DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4.1 in the Guest.
  • Vulkan Render Support for Linux Workstation
  • Dark Mode support for optimized user experience.
  • vSphere 7.0 Support
  • Support for ESXi Host Power Operations such as Shutdown, Restart and Enter/Exit Maintenance Mode.
  • With improved OVF/OVA support for testing and experimentation within Workstation.
  • Scan for Virtual Machines in local folders as well as on network shared storage and USB drives.
  • Automatically Suspend Shared Virtual Machines Upon Host Shutdown.
  • New GTK+ 3 based UI for Linux.
  • There are also some other features that you will discover by practice and make hands-on labs.

Prerequisites

  1. Make sure that your system is 64-bit “VMware Doesn’t provide 32-bit edition” and its virtualization feature is enabled.
  2. Unfortunately, the 16th edition doesn’t support 32-bit processors may be due to the features improvements that need the higher level of processor BUT VMware didn’t talk about specific reasons.
  3. Make sure you have a license key to activate the product OR you will work in the evaluation mode “the same features but with ONLY 30 day period” after the evaluation mode period ends YOU MUST enter a license key to activate the product.
  4. Before you begin this guide, you will need the root account OR non-root user with sudo privileges configured on your system (Physical host).
  5. Make sure your system and its kernel are up to date.

Step 1: Downloading VMware Workstation 16 Pro

1. First login into your server as a root or non-root user with sudo permissions and run the following command to keep your system up-to-date.

# yum update				        [On RedHat Systems]
# dnf update                                    [On Fedora]
# apt-get update && apt-get upgrade     [On Debian Systems] 

2. Next, download the VMWare Workstation Pro installer script bundle from the VMware official site using the following wget command.

# wget https://download3.vmware.com/software/wkst/file/VMware-Workstation-Full-16.1.0-17198959.x86_64.bundle

3. After downloading the VMWare Workstation Pro script file, go to the directory which contains the script file and set the appropriate execute permission as shown.

# chmod a+x VMware-Workstation-Full-16.1.0-17198959.x86_64.bundle

Step 2: Installing VMWare Workstation 16 Pro in Linux

4. Now run the installer script to install VMWare Workstation Pro on a Linux host system, which will be installed silently, and the installation progress is shown in the terminal.

# ./VMware-Workstation-Full-16.1.0-17198959.x86_64.bundle
OR
$ sudo ./VMware-Workstation-Full-16.1.0-17198959.x86_64.bundle
Sample Output
Extracting VMware Installer...done.
Installing VMware Workstation 16.1.0
    Configuring...
[######################################################################] 100%
Installation was successful.

Step 3: Running VMWare Workstation 16 Pro

5. To start the software for the first time you will find some issues as discussed below with fixes. To start the software type vmware in the terminal.

[[email protected] Downloads]# vmware

After running the above command, if you don’t have GCC GNU C Compiler, you will see the message which notifies you to install the GCC compiler and some components. Just press ‘Cancel‘ to continue.

VMWare Kernel Module Updater
VMWare Kernel Module Updater

9. Return to the terminal, then let’s install “Development Tools”.

[[email protected] Downloads]# yum groupinstall "Development tools"	[On RedHat Systems]
[email protected]:~# apt-get install build-essential			[On Debian Systems]

10. When it finished, let’s try to start the software again.

[[email protected] Downloads]# vmware

This time another issue will appear, its talk about kernel-headers, select “cancel” and let’s check if it installed or not.

VMWare Kernel Headers Missing
VMWare Kernel Headers Missing
[[email protected]]# rpm -qa | grep kernel-headers         [On RedHat systems]
[email protected]:~# dpkg -l | grep linux-headers          [On Debian systems]

If nothing appears install it using it.

[[email protected]]# yum install kernel-headers		[On RedHat Systems]
[email protected]:~# apt-get install linux-headers-`uname -r`	[On Debian Systems]

11. On RedHat-based Linux distributions, you need to install the “Kernel-devel” package as shown.

[[email protected] Downloads]# yum install kernel-devel      [On RedHat Systems]

12. When it finished, let’s try to start the software again “be patient, trust me ..it will be the last one ;)”.

[[email protected] Downloads]# vmware

Congratulations! we have solved all the issues, you will see this window.

VMWare WorkStation Starting
VMWare WorkStation Starting

It makes some modification in kernel modules and compiling some new tools in just fewer minutes, the application start and home window appears and waits for you to kick start it and make your virtual machines.

VMWare License
VMWare License
VMWare Updates
VMWare Updates
VMWare License Key
VMWare License Key
VMWare Workstation
VMWare Workstation

Uninstall VMWare Workstation Pro from a Linux

In a terminal window, type the following command to uninstall Workstation Pro from a Linux host.

# vmware-installer -u vmware-workstation
OR
$ sudo vmware-installer -u vmware-workstation
Sample Output
[sudo] password for tecmint:       
All configuration information is about to be removed. Do you wish to
keep your configuration files? You can also input 'quit' or 'q' to
cancel uninstallation. [yes]: no

Uninstalling VMware Installer 3.0.0
    Deconfiguring...
[######################################################################] 100%
Uninstallation was successful.

Conclusion

Congratulations! you’ve successfully installed VMWare Workstation on your Linux system.

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68 thoughts on “How to Install VMware Workstation 16 Pro on Linux Systems”

  1. When you come again “GCC……

    cd /usr/lib/vmware/modules/source
    tar xvf vmnet.tar
    cd vmnet-only
    make
    cd ..
    tar xvf vmmon.tar
    cd vmmon-only
    make
    cd ..
    mkdir /lib/modules/`uname -r`/misc
    cp vmmon.o /lib/modules/`uname -r`/misc/vmmon.ko
    cd /usr/lib/vmware/modules/source
    cp vmnet.o /lib/modules/`uname -r`/misc/vmnet.ko
    depmod -a
    /etc/init.d/vmware restart

    Here to tell that you should to write on nano too
    https://communities.vmware.com/thread/521374
    nano /usr/bin/vmware
    add before set -e :

    export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/lib/vmware/lib/libglibmm-2.4.so.1/:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH

    Save & exit and launch Vmware!

    But I have to write this , and VmWare have not start… , so, I have without it , and Vmware start without problem….

    Reply
  2. I think that often the problem come because people have a VmWare old kernel (old VmWare version), it making problem with new kernel from you Linux system, I think the best solution and this problem to prevent, download the last version from VmWare.

    sorry about my English.

    Reply
  3. Absolutely misleading title !!
    “How to Install VMware Workstation 12 on Linux Systems”
    Linux systems .. are all major gnu-linux distributions.
    The title of the article must be:
    “How to Install VMware Workstation 12 on RHEL, Debian and Derivatives”
    Otherwise you must also install Gentoo, Slackware, Archlinux, Aria-linux etc

    Reply
  4. Hi Ravi,

    First of all, thanks for this very nice step by step tutorial. For me as an absolute beginner it was clear and understandable and the installation process worked well.

    But I noticed a strange behavior which I don’t understand:

    I copied a VM (within VM I run Windows XP) which I once created in Windows environment to my Debian installation (which I run at the moment in a VM as well).

    When I started VM everything looked good, Windows XP logo appeared but before I was able to enter credentials VM was turned off automatically.

    Same with an another VM.

    I am not sure if it is clear for you what I mean.

    I would appreciate your help a lot.
    Thanks in advance

    Reply
  5. I followed your link but unable to start it.

    # /etc/init.d/vmware start
    Starting VMware services:
       Virtual machine monitor                                            failed
       Virtual machine communication interface                             done
       VM communication interface socket family                            done
       Blocking file system                                                done
       Virtual ethernet                                                   failed
       VMware Authentication Daemon                                        done
    
    Reply

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