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”

    • @Fabricio,

      The same instructions will also work for VMWare Workstation 15.x Pro on Rocky Linux. Also, we have noted your request, allow us some to write and polish the article on same…

      Reply
      • Thanks, @Ravi!

        Taking advantage. Do you know how to work around the feature of host Startup VM on with VMWare Workstation 16.x?

        Regards

        Reply
  1. # chmod a+x VMware-Player-12.5.9-7535481.x86_64.bundle
    # ./VMware-Player-12.5.9-7535481.x86_64.bundle
    magic number does not match
    

    What is the problem?

    I have a VPS, can I install VMware on it?

    Thank you

    Reply
    • @Ayman,

      The “magic number does not match seems” is an error that indicates that your download did not go correctly. Please download the VMware file again and try..

      Reply
      • Thank you very much, my dear brother, for your response.

        I have a VPS Centos 7 server and I downloaded VMWare to my device and made a paste copy on VPS. When I log onto the VMware site of the VPS, I don’t see the download icon.

        In VirtualBox when I choose the file I get an error.

        attached to the Windows 10 file
        And the
        Not Attached for Windows 7 File
        In VirtualBox I get an error
        Failed to open a session for the
        virtual machine win_10 32.
        Failed to open a session for the
        virtual machine win_7 32.
        Failed to open a session for the
        virtual machine win_10 64.
        With all versions
        What is the problem, thank you very much

        Reply
  2. [[email protected] Downloads]# vmware
    [AppLoader] Use shipped PC/SC Lite smart card framework.
    An up-to-date “pcsc-lite-libs” or “libpcsclite1” package from your system is preferred.

    getting this error. Please help me out

    Reply
    • Use this package.

      # rpm -ivh /mnt/iso/Module-Basesystem/x86_64/libpcsclite1-1.8.24-1.14.x86_64.rpm 
      Preparing...                          ################################# [100%]
      
      Reply
  3. I´m running Fedora 29, workstation 14 will stop even before the install started with the message:
    User interface initialization failed. Exiting. Check the log for details.

    Reply
    • @Noob,

      Please install required kernel headers, development tools and ncurses libraries as shown.

      # sudo dnf install kernel-devel kernel-headers
      # sudo dnf group install "Development Tools"
      # sudo dnf install ncurses-compat-libs
      
      Reply
  4. You left out one very important detail. You MUST have an x86_64 CPU built in 2011 or later, otherwise 14.x and above DOES NOT WORK! This is a huge problem for people with desktop systems which are still functional (Intel Core 4 2.4GHz for example), and ran Workstation 12.x just fine.

    This also has a ripple effect for upgrading to newer versions of Linux, Ubuntu 18.04 for example, where Workstation 12.5.9 won’t even start. I’m not buying a newer computer because VMware arbitrarily decided to drop support for older 64-bit processors.

    https://www.vmware.com/products/workstation-pro/faqs.html

    Reply
  5. Hi,

    This error keep pop up, even I have install successful, please advise, thanks.

    C header files matching your running kernel were not found. Refer to your distribution’s documentation for installation instructions.

    Reply
  6. Hi,

    I faced the same problem and I solve it by update VMware workstation 12 to 12.5.

    You can solve it in 2 ways..

    First way: If you already install VMware workstation 12 on Linux Mint 18 then download 12.5 from VMware site it’s free. Then follow the procedure to update from 12 to 12.5 by reading official documentation of VMware

    Second way: Uninstall VMware workstation 12 then install 12.5

    Reply
  7. I have installed and I can run VMware 12.5 in LTS 16.04 Ubuntu. But network bridging does not work. When i connect VM interface to the bridged vmnet0 always get an error.

    Reply

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