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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.
  • For older versions, use the vmware-patchAUR package.


Install the correct dependencies:

  • fuse - the vmware-vmblock-fuse service is favored over the vmblock module, and the vmblock module not built anymore without disabling fuse in the kernel
  • gtkmm - for the GUI
  • linux-headers - for module compilation
  • ncurses5-compat-libsAUR - needed by at least the installer

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.
  • -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 kernel 4.6 and 4.7 out of the box.
  • VMware Workstation 12 and 12.1 only supports kernels up to 4.4. For 4.6 and later, a source modification is needed, see #Kernel modules fail to build after Linux 4.7.
  • VMware 11 and older require patching the VMCI/VSOCK sources. This is automated by installing the vmware-patchAUR package.

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"

Using DKMS to manage the modules

Tango-view-refresh-red.pngThis article or section is out of date.Tango-view-refresh-red.png

  • Is this needed for VMWare 12? Above it is mentioned that the kernel modules are now mainlined.
  • Using DKMS like described below might not work, or this is not the only valid/working solution. There are several packages in the AUR, like vmware-modules-dkmsAUR.
(Discuss in Talk:VMware#)

The Dynamic Kernel Module Support (DKMS) can be used to manage VMware modules and to void from re-running vmware-modconfig each time the kernel changes. The following example uses a custom Makefile to compile and install the modules through vmware-modconfig. Afterwards they are removed from the current kernel tree.


First, install the dkms package.

Then create a source directory for the Makefile and the dkms.conf:

# mkdir /usr/src/vmware-modules-12/

Build configuration

Fetch the files with git or use the ones below.

1) Using Git
$ cd /tmp
$ git clone git://github.com/bawaaaaah/dkms-workstation.git
$ sed -i 's/9/12/' dkms-workstation/dkms.conf
# cp dkms-workstation/Makefile dkms-workstation/dkms.conf /usr/src/vmware-modules-12/
2) Manual setup

The dkms.conf describes the module names and the compilation/installation procedure. AUTOINSTALL="yes" tells the modules to be recompiled/installed automatically each time:


MAKE[0]="make all"
CLEAN="make clean"








and now the Makefile:

HEADERS := /usr/lib/modules/$(KERNEL)/build/include
GCC := $(shell vmware-modconfig --console --get-gcc)
DEST := /lib/modules/$(KERNEL)/vmware

TARGETS := vmmon vmnet vmblock vmci vsock

LOCAL_MODULES := $(addsuffix .ko, $(TARGETS))

	mkdir -p modules/
	mv *.ko modules/
	rm -rf $(DEST)

	ln -s $(HEADERS)/generated/uapi/linux/version.h $(HEADERS)/linux/version.h

%.ko: $(HEADERS)/linux/version.h
	vmware-modconfig --console --build-mod -k $(KERNEL) $* $(GCC) $(HEADERS) vmware/
	cp -f $(DEST)/$@ .

clean: rm -rf modules/


The modules can then be installed with:

# dkms install vmware-modules/12 -k $(uname -r)

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.

GUI doesn't show after upgrade

Tango-inaccurate.pngThe factual accuracy of this article or section is disputed.Tango-inaccurate.png

Reason: Questionable reasoning, definitely needs a reference (Discuss in Talk:VMware#)

The following affects VMware Workstation and Player versions before 12.1.0. After upgrading to kernel 4.2 an existing installation of VMware does not start any of its GUI applications. This is because the LD library path no longer points to a compatible library. To fix this set your LD_LIBRARY_PATH in a terminal from which you run VMware.

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

To make this change permanent only when running VMware Workstation add the following line at the beginning of the executable file:

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

For VMware Player make the same change in /usr/bin/vmplayer.

Kernel modules fail to build after Linux kernel 4.7

As of VMware Workstation Pro 12.1, the module source needs to be modified to be successfully compiled [2][3]. Depending on the kernel version, execute the following commands.

Linux kernel 4.7

# cd /usr/lib/vmware/modules/source
# tar xf vmmon.tar
# mv vmmon.tar vmmon.old.tar
# sed -r -i -e 's/get_user_pages(_remote)*/get_user_pages_remote/g' vmmon-only/linux/hostif.c
# tar cf vmmon.tar vmmon-only
# rm -r vmmon-only
# tar xf vmnet.tar
# mv vmnet.tar vmnet.old.tar
# sed -r -i -e 's/get_user_pages(_remote)*/get_user_pages_remote/g' vmnet-only/userif.c
# sed -i -e 's/dev->trans_start = jiffies/netif_trans_update\(dev\)/g' vmnet-only/netif.c
# tar cf vmnet.tar vmnet-only
# rm -r vmnet-only

Linux kernel 4.8

# cd /usr/lib/vmware/modules/source
# tar xf vmmon.tar
# mv vmmon.tar vmmon.old.tar
# sed -r -i -e 's/get_user_pages(_remote)*/get_user_pages_remote/g' vmmon-only/linux/hostif.c
# sed -r -i -e 's/NR_ANON_PAGES/NR_ANON_MAPPED/g' vmmon-only/linux/hostif.c
# tar cf vmmon.tar vmmon-only
# rm -r vmmon-only
# tar xf vmnet.tar
# mv vmnet.tar vmnet.old.tar
# sed -r -i -e 's/get_user_pages(_remote)*/get_user_pages_remote/g' vmnet-only/userif.c
# sed -i -e 's/dev->trans_start = jiffies/netif_trans_update\(dev\)/g' vmnet-only/netif.c
# tar cf vmnet.tar vmnet-only
# rm -r vmnet-only

Workstation Server service does not start

If you see this error ( Could not find administrative user. Error 127 ) in the output of

# systemctl status vmware-workstation-server

You may need to execute the following:

$ ln -s /usr/lib/vmware/bin/wssc-adminTool /usr/lib/vmware/bin/vmware-wssc-adminTool
$ chmod +x /usr/lib/vmware/bin/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.