How to Install VMware Player on Debian 12 (Bookworm)

Learn step-by-step: Install VMware Workstation Player on Debian 12 (Bookworm) with our comprehensive guide.

VMware Workstation Player is a desktop virtualization tool that allows users to create and run virtual machines (VMs) on their local computers.

It is a valuable tool for users exploring virtualization, creating isolated testing environments, running multiple operating systems on a single machine, or developing and testing software across different platforms.

So, if you’re eager to harness the power of VMware Workstation Player on the latest Debian release, Debian 12, also known as “Bookworm,” you’re in the right place.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the step-by-step process of installing VMware Workstation Player on your Debian 12 system.

However, before we dive into the installation process, let’s briefly explore why VMware Workstation Player stands out as an excellent choice for your virtualization needs.

Why VMware Workstation Player?

  • User-Friendly Interface: VMware Workstation Player boasts a simple and intuitive interface, making it accessible to beginners and experienced users. You don’t need to be a virtualization expert to get started.
  • Support for Various Operating Systems: It supports various guest operating systems, including Windows, Linux, macOS, and more, ensuring compatibility with your virtualization needs.
  • Snapshot Functionality: With snapshot support, you can capture and restore the state of your virtual machines, providing an extra layer of security and flexibility for your work.
  • Cost-Efficient: VMware Workstation Player is free for personal use, making it a budget-friendly choice for individuals and small businesses.

Prerequisites

VMware Workstation Player runs on standard x86-based hardware with 64-bit Intel or AMD processors. The system requirements are:

  • A compatible 64-bit x86/AMD64 CPU
  • 1.3 GHz or faster CPU speed
  • 2 GB RAM minimum (4GB RAM or more recommended)
  • Windows or Linux host operating system

Before proceeding with the VMware Workstation Player installation, the first step is to install some build dependencies required to build the VMware kernel modules. So open the terminal app on your Debian system and run the following command:

sudo apt install build-essential linux-headers-$(uname -r)

Additionally, you can boost your APT command-line skills by checking out our specialized guide with examples on the subject.

Step 1: Download VMware Workstation Player

Point your browser to https://www.vmware.com/go/downloadplayer to download the latest version of VMware Workstation Player. When the page loads, click the “GO TO DOWNLOADS” link.

Download VMware Workstation Player for Linux.
Download VMware Workstation Player for Linux.

Because we will install VMware Workstation Player on Debian, click the “DOWNLOAD NOW” button on the “VMware Workstation Player for Linux 64-bit” section on the following page.

Download VMware Workstation Player for Linux.
Download VMware Workstation Player for Linux.

Wait for the download to complete, then you can close the browser window if you no longer require it.

Download VMware Workstation Player for Linux.
Download VMware Workstation Player for Linux.

Bonus Tip: If you prefer to use the command line, you can skip downloading VMware Workstation Player through the browser and instead do it in the terminal using the following wget command:

wget -O VMware-Player-Full.bundle --user-agent="Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:109.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/109.0" https://www.vmware.com/go/getplayer-linux

Step 2: Make the File Executable

The downloaded file needs to be made executable. You have two options. If you prefer the command line, type chmod +x followed by the file’s full path:

chmod +x Downloads/VMware-Player-Full-17.0.2-21581411.x86_64.bundle

The second approach is to use the File Manager application. Go to the directory where you downloaded the VMware Player installation file, then right-click on it and select “Properties” from the context menu.

Make the file executable using the File Manager app.
Make the file executable using the File Manager app.

Then, switch on the toggle “Executable as Program” to on. Once you have done that, you can close the Files application.

Make the file executable using the File Manager app.
Make the file executable using the File Manager app.

Step 3: Install VMware Workstation Player on Debian 12

Run the installer specifying the full path to the file:

sudo Downloads/VMware-Player-Full-17.0.2-21581411.x86_64.bundle

The progress of the VMware Workstation Player installation on your Debian 12 (Bookworm) system will be shown in the terminal. So, wait for the operation to complete, which takes around a minute.

Install VMware Workstation Player on Debian 12.
Install VMware Workstation Player on Debian 12.

Step 4: Start Initial VMware Workstation Player Initialization

You can run VMware Workstation Player by starting it from your application launcher. So, search for “vmware” and click to run the same when its icon appears.

Start VMware Workstation Player on Debian 12.
Start VMware Workstation Player on Debian 12.

VMware Workstation Player will start. All that is left is to complete the initial setup, but don’t worry. It happens in seconds on a next-next-finish basis. First, accept the End User License Agreement and hit “Next.”

Accept End User License Agreement.
Accept End User License Agreement.

Another End User License Agreement will greet you. Accept it and confirm with the “Next” button.

Accept End User License Agreement.
Accept End User License Agreement.

On the following screen, you will be asked if you want the application to check for available updates automatically when you start it. Make your choice and then press the “Next” button.

Choose whether to participate in the VMWare CEIP program.
Choose whether to participate in the VMWare CEIP program.

Choose whether to participate in the VMWare Customer Experience Program (CEIP) and click “Next.”

Choose whether to participate VMWare CEIP program.
Choose whether to participate VMWare CEIP program.

From the next screen, select that you want to use VMWare Player on your Debian 12 system with a free license for non-commercial use unless you already have a paid one. If this is the case, enter it in the box provided. Finally, press the “Finish” button.

Choose the VMWare Player license type.
Choose the VMWare Player license type.

You will be prompted for your user password to apply the settings. Enter it and click the “Authenticate” button to confirm.

Apply the settings made.
Apply the settings made.

That’s all! You can start creating your new virtual machines with VMware Player and explore the virtualization world with all its possibilities.

VMware Workstation Player is running on Debian 12 (Bookworm).
VMware Workstation Player is running on Debian 12 (Bookworm).

Install Open VM Tools

After installing each Linux guest on the VMware Workstation Player host, install Open VM Tools inside it. These are a set of open-source virtualization utilities designed to enhance the performance and functionality of virtual machines running on VMware platforms.

Open VM Tools provide a range of features, such as better graphics performance, improved network connectivity, file transfer between a host and guest, improved memory management, enhanced support for virtualized hardware devices, etc. They are available for various operating systems and are designed to work seamlessly with VMware Workstation Player.

For Debian-based (Ubuntu, Linux Mint, etc.) guest VMs, the command will be:

sudo apt install open-vm-tools

For RPM-based Linux guest VMs such as Fedora, Red Hat, AlamLinux, Rocky Linux, Oracle Linux, etc.:

sudo dnf install open-vm-tools

The Arch-based guest VMs, such as Manjaro, EndeavourOS, Garuda Linux, etc., need to run the following:

sudo pacman -S open-vm-tools

openSUSE users need to run the following:

sudo zypper install open-vm-tools

After the installation, reboot your guest virtual machine so the system may apply the changes made by installing the Open VM Tools to its kernel.

How to Uninstall VMWare Workstation Player

If you uninstall VMware Workstation Player from your Debian 12 system for any reason, you can do it easily by running the command below.

sudo vmware-installer -u vmware-player
Uninstall VMware Workstation Player.
Uninstall VMware Workstation Player.

Conclusion

Our comprehensive guide on installing VMware Workstation Player on Debian 12 (Bookworm) has provided a detailed, step-by-step approach to help users seamlessly set up this powerful virtualization tool on their Linux system.

Throughout the guide, we’ve covered all the essential steps, from preparing the system and downloading the necessary files to configuring dependencies and successfully launching VMware Workstation Player.

We hope it is a valuable resource for anyone seeking to enhance their computing experience through virtualization. We encourage you also to try the other widely used virtualization software, VirtualBox. The guide on how to install it on your Debian 12 system is here.

Additionally, users can visit their official documentation page for more information about VMware Workstation Player. If you have any questions or concerns, please leave a comment below.

Bobby Borisov

Bobby Borisov

Bobby, an editor-in-chief at Linuxiac, is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, he has worked as a Senior Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

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