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This article is about installing VMware in Arch Linux; you may also be interested in VMware/Installing Arch as a guest.

  • This article is about the latest major VMware versions, meaning VMware Workstation Pro and Player 12.5.
  • For older versions, use the vmware-patchAUR package.


Install the correct dependencies:

Download the latest VMware Workstation Pro or Player (or a beta version, if available).

Start the installation:

# sh VMware-edition-version.release.architecture.bundle
Tip: Some useful flags:
  • --eulas-agreed - Skip the EULAs
  • --console - Use the console UI.
  • --custom - Allows changing the install directory to e.g. /usr/local (make sure to update the vmware-usbarbitrator.service paths in #systemd services).
  • -I, --ignore-errors - Ignore fatal errors.
  • --set-setting=vmware-workstation serialNumber XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX - Set the serial number during install (good for scripted installs).
  • --required - Only ask mandatory questions (results in silent install when combined with --eulas-agreed and --console).

For the System service scripts directory, use /etc/init.d (the default).

Note: During the installation you will get an error about "No rc*.d style init script directories" being given. This can be safely ignored, since Arch uses systemd.
Tip: To (re)build the modules from terminal later on, use:
# vmware-modconfig --console --install-all


Kernel modules

VMware Workstation 12.5 supports kernels up to 4.8 out of the box.

systemd services

(Optional) Instead of using /etc/init.d/vmware (start|stop|status|restart) and /usr/bin/vmware-usbarbitrator directly to manage the services, you may also use .service files (also available in the vmware-systemd-servicesAUR package, and also included in vmware-patchAUR):

Description=VMware daemon

ExecStart=/etc/init.d/vmware start
ExecStop=/etc/init.d/vmware stop

Description=VMware USB Arbitrator

ExecStop=/usr/bin/vmware-usbarbitrator --kill


Add this service as well, if you want to connect to your VMware Workstation installation from another Workstation Server Console:

Description=VMware Workstation Server

ExecStart=/etc/init.d/vmware-workstation-server start
ExecStop=/etc/init.d/vmware-workstation-server stop


After which you can enable them on boot.

Launching the application

To open VMware Workstation Pro:

$ vmware

or Player:

$ vmplayer

Tips and tricks

Entering the Workstation Pro license key

From terminal

# /usr/lib/vmware/bin/vmware-vmx-debug --new-sn XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX

Where XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX is your license key.

Note: The -debug binary informs the user of an incorrect license.

From GUI

If the above does not work, you can try:

# /usr/lib/vmware/bin/vmware-enter-serial

Extracting the VMware BIOS

$ objcopy /usr/lib/vmware/bin/vmware-vmx -O binary -j bios440 --set-section-flags bios440=a bios440.rom.Z
$ perl -e 'use Compress::Zlib; my $v; read STDIN, $v, '$(stat -c%s "./bios440.rom.Z")'; $v = uncompress($v); print $v;' < bios440.rom.Z > bios440.rom

Extracting the installer

To view the contents of the installer .bundle:

$ sh VMware-edition-version.release.architecture.bundle --extract /tmp/vmware-bundle/

Using the modified BIOS

If and when you decide to modify the extracted BIOS you can make your virtual machine use it by moving it to ~/vmware/Virtual_machine_name:

$ mv bios440.rom ~/vmware/Virtual_machine_name/

then adding the name to the Virtual_machine_name.vmx file:

bios440.filename = "bios440.rom"

Enable 3D graphics on Intel and Optimus

Some graphics drivers are blacklisted by default, due to poor and/or unstable 3D acceleration. After enabling Accelerate 3D graphics, the log may show something like:

Disabling 3D on this host due to presence of Mesa DRI driver.  Set mks.gl.allowBlacklistedDrivers = TRUE to override.

This means the following:

mks.gl.allowBlacklistedDrivers = TRUE


/dev/vmmon not found

The full error is:

Could not open /dev/vmmon: No such file or directory.
Please make sure that the kernel module `vmmon' is loaded.

This means that at least the vmmon module is not loaded. See the #systemd services section for automatic loading.

Kernel headers for version 4.x-xxxx were not found. If you installed them[...]

Install the headers (linux-headers).

Note: Upgrading the kernel and the headers will require you to boot to the new kernel to match the version of the headers. This is a relatively common error.

USB devices not recognized

Tip: Also handled by vmware-patchAUR.

If not using the systemd service to automatically handle the services, you need to manually start the vmware-usbarbitrator binary as root each time.

To start:

# vmware-usbarbitrator

To stop:

# vmware-usbarbitrator --kill

The installer fails to start

If you just get back to the prompt when opening the .bundle, then you probably have a deprecated or broken version of the VMware installer and it should removed (you may also refer to the uninstallation section of this article):

# rm -r /etc/vmware-installer/

Unable to download VMware Tools for Guests

If after #Preventing crashes and freezes when checking for updates[broken link: invalid section] you are still unable to download the VMware Tools ISOs, you may either try running vmware or vmplayer as root, or downloading them directly from the VMware repository.

Navigate to: "application name / version / build ID / linux / packages/" and download the appropriate Tools.

Extract with:

$ tar -xvf vmware-tools-name-version-buildID.x86_64.component.tar

And install using the VMware installer:

# vmware-installer --install-component=/path/vmware-tools-name-version-buildID.x86_64.component

If the above does not work, try installing ncurses5-compat-libsAUR.

Incorrect login/password when trying to access VMware remotely

VMware Workstation provides the possibility to remotely manage Shared VMs through the vmware-workstation-server service. However, this will fail with the error "incorrect username/password" due to incorrect PAM configuration of the vmware-authd service. To fix it, edit /etc/pam.d/vmware-authd like this:

auth     required       pam_unix.so
account  required       pam_unix.so
password required       pam_permit.so
session  required       pam_unix.so

and restart the vmware systemd service.

Now you can connect to the server with the credentials provided during the installation.

Note: libxslt may be required for starting virtual machines.

Issues with ALSA output

To fix sound quality issues or enabling proper HD audio output, first run:

$ aplay -L

If interested in playing 5.1 surround sound from the guest, look for surround51:CARD=vendor_name,DEV=num, if experiencing quality issues, look for front:CARD=vendor_name,DEV=num. Finally put the name in the .vmx:


OSS emulation[broken link: invalid section] should also be disabled.

Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) is running

To disable KVM on boot, you can use something like:

blacklist kvm
blacklist kvm-amd   # For AMD CPUs
blacklist kvm-intel # For Intel CPUs

Segmentation fault at startup due to old Intel microcode

Old Intel microcode may result in the following kind of segmentation fault at startup:

/usr/bin/vmware: line 31: 4941 Segmentation fault "$BINDIR"/vmware-modconfig --appname="VMware Workstation" --icon="vmware-workstation"

See Microcode for how to update the microcode.

Guests have incorrect system clocks or are unable to boot: "[...]timeTracker_user.c:234 bugNr=148722"

This is due to incomplete support of power management features (Intel SpeedStep and AMD PowerNow!/Cool'n'Quiet) in VMware Linux that vary the CPU frequency. In March 2012, with the release of linux 3.3-1 the maximum frequency Performance governor was replaced with the dynamic Ondemand. When the host CPU frequency changes, the Guest system clock runs too quickly or too slowly, but may also render the whole Guest unbootable.

To prevent this, the maximum host CPU frequency can be specified, and Time Stamp Counter (TSC) disabled, in the global configuration:

host.cpukHz = "X"  # The maximum speed in KHz, e.g. 3GHz is "3000000".
host.noTSC = "TRUE" # Keep the Guest system clock accurate even when
ptsc.noTSC = "TRUE" # the time stamp counter (TSC) is slow.
Tip: To periodically correct the time (once per minute), in the Options tab of VMware Tools, enable: "Time synchronization between the virtual machine and the host operating system".

Networking on Guests not available after system restart

This is likely due to the vmnet module not being loaded [1]. See also the #systemd services section for automatic loading.

Workstation Server service does not start

If the vmware-workstation-server.service fails with:

# systemctl status vmware-workstation-server
Could not find administrative user. Error 127

This could mean that in the chain of commands VMware Workstation wants to run wssc-adminTool.

In at least one version in the recent past (Workstation Pro 12.5) this file was missing. There was a file vmware-wssc-adminTool but not wssc-adminTool.

Easy fix:

# ln -s /usr/lib/vmware/bin/wssc-adminTool /usr/lib/vmware/bin/vmware-wssc-adminTool


To uninstall VMware you need the product name (either vmware-workstation or vmware-player). To list all the installed products:

$ vmware-installer -l

and uninstall with (--required skips the confirmation):

# vmware-installer -u product --required
Tip: Use --console for the console UI.

Remember to also disable and remove the services:

# rm /etc/systemd/system/vmware.service
# rm /etc/systemd/system/vmware-usbarbitrator.service

You may also want to have a look at the module directories in /usr/lib/modules/kernel_name/misc/ for any leftovers.