How to Install VMware Workstation Player in Ubuntu Linux

This quick tutorial shows you how to install VMware Workstation Player on Ubuntu Linux.

VMware is one of the best desktop and server virtualization applications on Linux. Some people prefer it more than Oracle’s open-source VirtualBox.

With a virtual machine application like VMware, you can run another operating system inside your current operating system.

For example, if you want to try another Linux distribution, you can install it on a USB stick and use it as a live USB or install it alongside your current OS. Both are okay, but you have to log out of your current system and boot into another just for trying a new OS.

In this scenario, you can install another operating system inside Ubuntu as a virtual machine. You’ll be able to use it without leaving your main OS, i.e. Ubuntu.

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to install VMware Workstation Player in Ubuntu 20.04, 22.04, and future versions. The instructions should also be valid for Linux Mint and other Ubuntu-based distributions.

Note: VMWare Workstation is not open-source software.

Install VMware in Ubuntu 20.04 and 22.04

install vmware workstation in ubuntu linux

VMware Workstation Player is free for personal and non-commercial use. As an individual, you can use it without paying anything.

Recommended system requirements for installing VMware Workstation Player:

For a decent experience with VMware, your system should meet the following criteria:

  • 2GHz 64-bit processor
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • Disk space depends upon the guest operating system you would be installing in the VM

To install VMware Workstation Player in Ubuntu and other Ubuntu-based distributions, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Install required build packages

Open a terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and use the command below to install required build packages and Linux Kernel headers from the build-essential package:

sudo apt install build-essential

Step 2: Download VMware Workstation Player

The next step is to download the VMware Workstation Player from their website.

You’ll see options to download VMware Workstation Player for both Windows and Linux. No prizes for guessing that you have to download the Linux version here.

download vmware workstation player

 Don’t worry when it starts downloading a .bundle file. That actually is the installer.

download vmware

Step 3: Installing VMware Player

You have to set execute permission on the downloaded installer file.

You can do it graphically without needing the terminal. Just go to the folder where the file was downloaded. Right-click on it and make it executable as shown in the image below:

right click on the downloaded installer file

Head to the permissions tab, and proceed to allow execution of the file as a program.

make the file executable

Subsequently, right-click on the file now, and you should see the option to “Run” it. Go ahead with it, and it should start the installation.

Alternatively, you can try the command line:

I am assuming that it has been downloaded to your Downloads directory. If so, use the command below to make the file executable:

chmod +x ~/Downloads/VMware-Player*

And then run the installation file:

sudo ~/Downloads/VMware-Player*

This will open an installation window.

Troubleshooting Tip: Failed Installation due to vmmon, vmnet kernel module error

On Ubuntu and other distribution using newer kernels, VMware installation gets halted by encountering a vmmon and vmnet kernel module error. To rectify this and continue installation:

First, install prerequisites to compile and install packages from source:

sudo apt install gcc build-essential

Go to https://github.com/mkubecek/vmware-host-modules/tags and choose your VMware Player version and download the zip file

choose the vmware version

Next, you need to navigate into the extracted directory through the terminal (using the cd command) and use the given commands one by one to create tar files of the modules:

tar -cf vmmon.tar vmmon-only
tar -cf vmnet.tar vmnet-only

Now, copy the recently created tar files to /usr/lib/vmware.modules.source :

sudo cp -v vmmon.tar vmnet.tar /usr/lib/vmware/modules/source/

And the last step is to use the given command, and it will install kernel modules in your system:

sudo vmware-modconfig --console --install-all

Step 4: Installing VMware Player

From here, it’s no rocket science. Like any other application, follow the on-screen instructions. Here are some of the screenshots for reference:

vmware agree terms and conditions

You need to agree to the terms and conditions to proceed. And, then enable/disable the ability to check for updates when you launch VMware Workstation Player.

vmware installer check for updates

VMware Installer Check for Updates

Next, VMware collects asks you to share some of your user data for improving the user experience. You can select to opt-out of it if you want.

vmware installer customer experience improvement program
VMware Installer Customer Experience Improvement Program

You might also be asked for a license key—do not panic—you do not need one if you want to use the free VMware player for non-commercial purposes. For business use, get the pro edition (where you will get a license key).

vmware installer license key
VMware Installer License Key

And that would be it.

The installation should start, and you will be notified/greeted when it completes.

vmware installer finished

If you would like to be able to copy-paste between the real OS (host) and the virtual OS (guest) and share files between them, you should also install VMware Tools on Linux.

How to Uninstall VMWare Player from Ubuntu

If your workflow requires more than what VMWare player offers, or you just want to remove it from your system, here are quick steps to uninstall VMWare from Ubuntu:

First, change your current directory to /usr/bin :

cd /usr/bin

And use the given command to initiate the uninstallation process:

sudo vmware-installer -u vmware-player

Type yes and it will remove VMWare from your system:

uninstall vmware from ubuntu

Final Words

This was a quick guide on how you can install VMWare in Ubuntu-based distros. I hope this solves your problem and if not, let me know in the comments and I will try my best to come up with a solution.

Do you prefer using VMware Workstation Player? Share your thoughts in the comments down below.

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  • So, I hate to be the dumbest guy in the room, but here I am at the command line after ‘sudo make install’, and the very next instruction says:

    “Once done, select VMWare Player from the overview menu to start the installation:”.

    Um… what overview menu? Where is that located?

  • Very detailed instructions, especially regarding failed Installation due to vmmon, vmnet kernel module error.