VMWare Workstation Pro 12 can be used in multiple window modes. VMs can be run within a single tab-based window, or in multiple windows on your host computer. Virtual machines can also be run full screen. Using Unity mode, VMWare removes the operating system wrapper and lets windows and apps from the guest to work aeamlessly alongside your host system.
- [Voiceover] Once your VM is created, there are many ways to work with it within your host system. We have been working with it in a Windows state. But you can also use it full screen and in a special mode called Unity that removes the frame of the operating system entirely. I have a Windows 7 VM suspended. We'll walk through how to use the window controls and customize the interface of the VM. When you start the VM, you may see this window appear. This is showing you all the hardware that is physically connected through your host computer that you can link to the VM. You can dismiss this by checking the box and continuing on.
Right now, we have the VM running inside the workstation window. The window can be adjusted using the buttons at the top, or items in the View menu. The library on the left shows the various VMs that are available for you to run on this machine. You can hide this by clicking on the Show or Hide the Library button in the top menu bar. Or, select Library from the View + Customize + Library selection. You can also hide it using the F9 key.
You can still access the VMs in your system by opening up the Tabs menu, and selecting any of the VMs here. Going back to the VM, you can access the settings and configuration by clicking on the Show or hide console view button. I'm going to start up the Windows XP VM to run alongside the Windows 7 VM. To do this, I'm going to select the Windows XP Professional tab. And then run here. I now have two VMs that are running at the same time.
In the Windows 7 tab, to re-display the VM, click again on the Show or hide console view. Now there are two VMs running. We can switch between them using the tabs or from the items in the Tabs menu. If you want to have the two VMs run side by side, then click and drag the tab off of the existing window, and it will display it as a new tab. Let's put this into Windows mode, and then we can take the Windows 7 tab, and drag that outside of the main window.
I can restore this back to a single window by dragging the tab back to the original window. Then close the second window. If you wish to remove the tabs, status bar, and button bar, you can remove these from the View menu. Go to View + Customize, and then you can uncheck any of the items down at the bottom to remove the toolbar, the tabs, and the Status Bar.
You cannot remove the Menu Bar from the app when it is running in Windows mode. Let's put this back in Windows mode and we can adjust the window size to make it larger or smaller. But when you do this, you'll see that the VM does not resize within the new window. It will instead center itself. This is the default action. You can adjust that if you would like. Let's go back to the Windows XP Professional, and I'll show you exactly how this works. If I resize this window, you'll see that the window is now located inside of the frame.
It doesn't resize to fit the window that's outside of the virtual machine. We can snap the guest to fit within the window frame. To do this, open the View menu, and select Fit Guest Now. After a second, it will resize the guest to fit within the window frame. If you make the window smaller than the guest, you'll see the scrollbars to navigate the larger window within the frame. You can snap the VM back to the frame size by selecting Fit Guest Now from the View menu again.
If you resize the window often, you can also opt to automatically resize the guest for you. To do this, open the View menu, open Autosize, and select Autofit Guest. Now, when you resize the window, it will automatically adjust the size of the guest VM. If you notice, as you're dragging, you'll see a small Tooltip display. This tells you the size you're creating the guest machine to be. You can also run a VM as a full screen system.
To do this, click the full screen button, or select Full Screen from the View menu. The desktop will disappear, and the VM will take up the entire screen. You'll see the menu bar, button bar, and tabs are displayed in a floating bar at the top. You can hide the bar by unpinning it. On the very left side of the bar is a pushpin icon. If you toggle this off, it will hide the floating menu bar.
Although it is hidden, you can open it up again by moving your mouse to the top of the screen. To exit full screen mode, toggle the full screen button in the button bar, or select View + Full Screen. There is a special full screen mode called Exclusive Mode. This mode enhances performance of your VM graphics, which could be helpful if you're using graphics-intensive programs or playing games. The catch is that the mode grabs your input and you need to manually let it go. It also disables the auto-hiding menu bar.
To start Exclusive Mode, you first need to go into regular full screen mode. Go to View + Full Screen. Then, from the View menu, you can select Exclusive Mode. You'll then see this dialogue box. This is reminding you that to leave Exclusive Mode, you need to break input control from the guest by pressing the left control and left alternate keys at the same time. If we enter into Exclusive Mode, you'll see that the Menu bar is now gone. And you can't leave the VM.
Press the control and alternate buttons, and you'll return back to the regular full screen mode. The last mode is something very unique. It's called Unity Mode. Unity Mode removes the desktop, frame, and chrome of the guest operating system, and lets the applications you are running in the VM look like they are running on the host computer desktop. This mode only works with Windows guests. It isn't compatible with Linux installations. To start, with the VM running, open up the View menu, and exit out of full screen if you currently are full screen.
From the View menu, select Unity. You'll see that the VMware workstation appears to go away. But if you move your mouse to the lower left corner of the window over the host Start button, you'll see a window appear for Windows XP Professional. If you click this, you'll see the guest VM start menu appear instead of the host. You can navigate this menu and open an app. I'll open up the My Computer window. It'll open the window as if it is running on the host computer.
You can tell the difference between the guest and the host windows by the small VM icon in the title bar of the My Computer window. It also will have a bright orange or blue outline around the window. If you notice, you'll see the icon appear in the host task bar as well. You can minimize Unity windows to the task bar and restore them. In Unity mode, Windows and apps and their guests look and behave just as if they're on the host computer.
You can pin Windows and running apps to the taskbar in the host. If I right click, and I say Pin this program to taskbar, and close the app, it will still appear in my Windows 10 desktop. I can re-open it by clicking on the icon. Now, let's suspend the VM. To do this, we'll go to the workstation icon, hover over the Windows XP Professional window, and click the Suspend button. So now, the VM is not running.
But you'll see that the My Computer icon we pinned is still displaying on the taskbar. If we click it, it will restore the VM automatically and run the app or open the window. To exit Unity mode, you can hover over the VMware icon and select Exit Unity mode, or display the VM start menu and select Exit Unity. So, as you can see, VMware Workstation can work with your VMs in multiple ways. Either in a Windows form, full screen form, or an immersive Unity form that hides the operating system and makes the apps look and feel like they're running on the host computer.
- How VMware Workstation Pro works
- Supported guest and host systems in VMware Workstation Pro
- Setting up Windows and Ubuntu as guests
- Creating a custom virtual machine
- Setting up file sharing
- Connecting hardware
- Managing VM snapshots