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

Note: This article supports only the latest major VMware versions, meaning VMware Workstation 10 and VMware Player (Plus) 6.


Note: VMware Workstation/Player (Plus) will not be manageable with pacman as the files are not installed with it.

1. Download the latest VMware Workstation or VMware Player (Plus) (you may also try the testing (Beta/RC) versions).

2. Start the installation (--console uses terminal instead of the GUI):

$ chmod +x VMware-edition-version.release.architecture.bundle
# ./VMware-edition-version.release.architecture.bundle --console
Note: To ignore fatal errors use -I or --ignore-errors.

3. Read and accept the main application and the OVF Tool component EULAs to continue.

4. (optional) Enter license key.

5. During the install you will get an error about "No rc*.d style init script directories" being given to the installer. This can, however, be safely ignored since Arch now uses systemd.


Tip: There is also a package called vmware-patchAUR in the AUR with the intention of trying to automate this section (it also supports older VMware versions).
Note: Ensure you have installed the correct headers required for building the modules (linux from the official repositories uses linux-headers).

VMware module patches and installation

VMware Workstation 10.0.1 and Player (Plus) 6.0.1 support kernels up to 3.13.

3.13 kernels - patch for Netfilter-enabled systems (optional)

Systems that have enabled the network packet filtering framework (Netfilter or CONFIG_NETFILTER) on 3.13 kernels (found in: Networking SupportNetworking Options) will fail to build the vmnet module.

This isn't included in the Arch stock kernel, but for custom kernels a patch can be found here:

$ curl http://pastie.org/pastes/8672356/download -o /tmp/vmware-netfilter.patch
$ cd /usr/lib/vmware/modules/source
# tar -xvf vmnet.tar
# patch -p0 -i /tmp/vmware-netfilter.patch
# tar -cf vmnet.tar vmnet-only
# rm -r vmnet-only
# vmware-modconfig --console --install-all

Systemd service

6. (Optional) Instead of using # /etc/init.d/vmware {start|stop|status|restart} directly to manage the services you may also create a .service file (or files):

Description=VMware daemon

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


To start the daemon on boot, enable the systemd service vmware.

Launching the application

7. Now, open your VMware Workstation (vmware in the console) or VMware Player (Plus) (vmplayer in the console) to configure & use!

Tip: To (re)build the modules from terminal, use:
# vmware-modconfig --console --install-all
Tip: As VMware Player 6.x does insist for any directory to put his rc-scripts, it will fail installing his rc-scripts at all and you end up with no rc-scripts. This will cause module compilation to fail because he can not stop his services. Just create a dummy file called "vmware" in whatevery directory you gave vmware while installation and make it executable, for example:
# touch /root/vmware
# chmod a+x /root/vmware

Tips and tricks

Entering the Workstation 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 doesn't 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

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:

~/vmware/Virtual machine name/Virtual machine name.vmx
bios440.filename = "bios440.rom"

Copy-On-Write (CoW)

CoW comes with some advantages, but can negatively affect performance with large files that have small random writes (e.g. database files and virtual machine images):

$ chattr +C ~/vmware/Virtual machine name/Virtual machine name.vmx
Note: From the chattr man page: "For btrfs, the C flag should be set only on new or empty files. If set on a file which already has data blocks, it is undefined when the blocks assigned to the file will be fully stable. If set on a directory, only new files will be affected."

Using DKMS to manage the modules

The Dynamic Kernel Module Support (DKMS) can be used to manage Workstation 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 dkms from the official repositories.

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

# mkdir /usr/src/vmware-modules-9/

Build configuration

Fetch the files from Git or use the ones below.

1) Using Git
$ cd /tmp
$ git clone git://github.com/djod4556/dkms-workstation.git
# cp /tmp/dkms-workstation/Makefile /tmp/dkms-workstation/dkms.conf /usr/src/vmware-modules-9/
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/src/linux-$(KERNEL)/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 /usr/src/linux-$(KERNEL)/include/generated/uapi/linux/version.h /usr/src/linux-$(KERNEL)/include/linux/

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

	rm -rf modules/


The modules can then be registered:

# dkms -m vmware-modules -v 9 -k $(uname -r) add


# dkms -m vmware-modules -v 9 -k $(uname -r) build

and installed:

# dkms -m vmware-modules -v 9 -k $(uname -r) install

If everything went well, the modules will now be recompiled automatically the next time the kernel changes.


Could not open /dev/vmmon: No such file or directory.

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 VMware service is not running. If using the systemd service from step 6. it should be restarted.

Kernel headers for version 3.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.

First of all, just try to start the vmware-usbarbitrator before you start the vmware service.

# vmware-usbarbitrator
# systemctl start vmware

You should use the vmware service script above. This should solve the problem for most cases.

For some reason, some installations are missing the vmware-USBArbitrator script. To readd it manually see this forum post.

You may also manually extract the VMware bundle and copy the vmware-USBArbitrator script from destination folder/vmware-usbarbitrator/etc/init.d/ to /etc/init.d/:

$ ./VMware-edition-version.release.architecture.bundle --extract /tmp/vmware-bundle
# cp /tmp/vmware-bundle/vmware-usbarbitrator/etc/init.d/vmware-USBArbitrator /etc/init.d/

vmci/vsock modules not loading automatically

If you get this error:

Failed to open device "/dev/vmci": No such file or directory
Please make sure that the kernel module 'vmci' is loaded.
Module DevicePowerOn power on failed.
Failed to start the virtual machine.
  1. Open the file /etc/init.d/vmware
  2. In function vmwareStartVmci() change the line
    vmwareLoadModule "$mod"
    vmwareLoadModule "$vmci"
  3. In function vmwareStartVsock() change the line
    vmwareLoadModule "$mod"
    vmwareLoadModule "$vsock"
  4. In function vmwareStopVmci() change the line
    vmwareUnloadModule "${mod}"
    vmwareUnloadModule "${vmci}"
  5. Under the function vmwareStopVsock() change the line
    vmwareUnloadModule "$mod"
    vmwareUnloadModule "$vsock"
  6. Restart the vmware daemon

This problem is caused by an issue in the /etc/init.d/vmware script:

Starting VMware services:
  Virtual machine monitor                                   done
  Virtual machine communication interface                   failed
  VM communication interface socket family                  failed
  Blocking file system                                      done
  Virtual ethernet                                          done
  VMware Authentication Daemon                              done

A workaround that was posted by "haagch" is that in vmwareStartVmci() you change vmwareLoadModule "$mod" to vmwareLoadModule "$vmci" and in vmwareStartVsock() vmwareLoadModule "$mod" to vmwareLoadModule "$vsock" and the same for vmwareStopVsock() and vmwareStopVmci().

See also this.

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 you should remove it (you may also refer to the uninstallation section of this article):

# rm -r /etc/vmware-installer

Incorrect login/password when trying to access VMware remotely

VMware Workstation 10 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

The following instructions from Bankim Bhavsar's wiki show how to manually adjust the ALSA output device in a VMware .vmx file. This might help with quality issues or with enabling proper HD audio output:

  1. Suspend/Power off the VM.
  2. Run aplay -L
  3. If you are interested in playing 5.1 surround sound from the guest, look for surround51:CARD=vendor-name,DEV=num. If you are experiencing quality issues, look out for a line starting with front.
  4. Open the Virtual machine name.vmx config file of the VM in a text editor, located under ~/vmware/Virtual machine name/, and edit the sound.fileName field, e.g.: sound.fileName="surround51:CARD=Live,DEV=0". Ensure that it also reads sound.autodetect="FALSE".
  5. Resume/Power on the VM.

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


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:

# vmware-installer -u vmware-product

Remember to also disable and remove the vmware service:

# systemctl disable vmware
# rm /etc/systemd/system/vmware.service

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