Category: Workstation

Notes on securing Meltdown and Spectre

Now that the dust is slightly starting to settle It became clear to me that there’s an enormous amount of information and confusion out there. I have read a lot of websites in order to get a clear picture and being able to get all of my hosts and Virtual Machines patched. While not completely done yet, here’s my collection of links and some answers on questions that I see asked often. This is a live document and will be updated with notes relevant for patching. Last update 2018/01/29 Continue reading “Notes on securing Meltdown and Spectre”

VMX unrestricted guest errors with Workstation 14 or Fusion 10

With the new Workstation 14 and Fusion 10 there is also a new requirement for your CPU’s. This unfortunately has not been clearly communicated about by VMware. When you try to start a VM and get the error:

This host does not support virtualizing real mode. The intel “VMX unrestricted Guest” feature is necessary to run this virtual machine on an Intel processor.

Module ‘CPUIDEarly’ power on failed

Failed to start the virtual machine

You’re one of those lucky ones with a CPU that is too old.

Continue reading “VMX unrestricted guest errors with Workstation 14 or Fusion 10”

VMware Tools for Linux guests and desktop integration

If you installed a recent Linux guest recently then you might have noticed that things are changing. See also this blog post “Open-VM-Tools The Future of VMware Tools for Linux“. Trying to install the normal VMware Tools will tell you that it can’t and that you should use open-vm-tools instead. But there are numerous complaints about screen and desktop integration in the forums. So what is going on? Sven found the answer and I will tell you what it is if you read on below. Continue reading “VMware Tools for Linux guests and desktop integration”

Boot via EFI firmware

As you might or might not know, you can change your VMs nowadays to boot via EFI instead of the Plain Old BIOS.

This is great as you can now experiment with EFI without messing up your physical environment or having to reboot on metal.

There’s ongoing work on VMware Fusion and Workstation to improve UEFI support. In VMware Workstation 10, this was unsupported, but it worked.

Workstation 11 now has a option for this under VM Settings -> Options -> Advanced -> Boot with EFI instead of BIOS. With Fusion 7 you either have to edit the config file by hand or change it to another guest OS that uses EFI.

Continue reading “Boot via EFI firmware”

VMware Workstation 11 things you might want to know

As has been published in many channels, VMware Workstation 11 has been released.

For details see: release notes and features at the official pages (I’m not going to copy & paste that as I’m sure you are better off to read it from the horses mouth)

What is important to know and a little less easy to find is that the new Workstation will only run on 64 bits host operating systems.

As you can already see when trying to download (as it clearly states Windows 64 bits/Linux 64 bits), but more information about this and the background is here in this VMware Communities question: No more x86 (i686/i386) build for Linux?

Relevant quote from that community question is written by fubvmware :

The support of 32 bit Operating System is dropped from both Workstation Linux and Windows Technology Preview 2014, it is a hard decision to make, we put a lot of thoughts in it base on the user data (from whom opt-in to share data with us), just like when we drop the support of 32 bit processor in Workstation 8, we really really want to spend our team’s efforts to the biggest platform to provide the best performance and stability.

 

Workstation 10 is a great product that works very stable, if you really need to run VM on a 32 bit Linux, it will work great even out of support (not with the new features added lately though).

For the record “Technology Preview” here is “VMware Workstation 11”

Another interesting note about Workstation 11 is the added CPU features for Haswell CPU’s in particular (and I quote from the post New Virtual CPU features in virtual Hardware version 11 shared by VMware’s own jmattson in the communities)

These are the new virtual CPU features introduced in virtual hardware version 11 (if supported on the physical CPU):

CPUID.01H:ECX.TSC_DEADLINE (bit 24)

CPUID.07H:EBX.TSC_ADJUST (bit 1)

CPUID.07H:EBX.BMI1 (bit 3)

CPUID.07H:EBX.HLE (bit 4)

CPUID.07H:EBX.AVX2 (bit 5)

CPUID.07H:EBX.BMI2 (bit 8)

CPUID.07H:EBX.INVPCID (bit 10)

CPUID.07H:EBX.RTM (bit 11)

CPUID.07H:EBX.FP_SEGMENT_ZERO (bit 13)

CPUID.07H:EBX.???? (bit 18)

CPUID.07H:EBX.???? (bit 19)

CPUID.07H:EBX.???? (bit 20)

CPUID.(EAX=0DH,ECX=01H):EAX.XSAVEOPT (bit 0)

CPUID.80000001H:ECX.ABM (bit 5)

Notably, lock elision is now available on Haswell processors

You can get your download via: VMware Workstation evaluation (as always the 30 days evaluation is the full download, you only need to have a new license in order to change it into the complete version)