Knock-out: VMware Workstation 14 needs modern CPUs

[German]VMware has released version 14 of VMware Workstation and VMware Player virtualization software. But there is a bad surprise: The new Workstation 14 requires newer processors.


It has been announced in mid of August 2017 (see my German article VMware Workstation 14 Pro und Workstation 14 Player), that VMware Workstation 14 Pro and VMware Player 14 for Windows and Linux will be available in October 2017. Now both products has been released end of September. VMware Workstation and Player allows to virtualize several operating systems as guest in virtual machines on a Windows or Linux host.

Within my German article I mentioned, that Workstation 14 Pro provides enhanced support for Virtual Based Security (VBS) in Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016.  This feature adds a unified advanced firmware interface (UEFI) Secure Boot module and a virtual Trusted Platform module to ensure the highest levels of operating system security.

But only with modern processors

I read a few days ago the announcement of VMware Player 14 and VMware Workstation 14 on a German site here. There I saw the changed requirements for Workstation 14:

  • Intel: Previously Core 2 Duo processor or equivalent. Now a 64-bit processor of the generation "Sandy Bridge" or better. 
  • AMD: Previously 64 FX dual-core processor or equivalent. Now 64-bit processor of the generation "Bulldozer" or better..

This requirements may be found under System requirements in VMware's web shop. While VMware Player 14 runs on older CPUs, the hardware requirements for Workstation 14 has been raised.  64-bit CPU from Intel Sandy Bridge or from the AMD bulldozer generation is expected.

German site has published the article VMware Workstation 14 braucht jüngere Prozessoren, dealing with the same topic. Workstation 14 didn't run on older Core-I processors of Intels first CPU generation, introduced 2008. The same is valid for AMD's CPUs prior to Bulldozer CPUs introduced 2011.


Also VMware Fusion for macOS has this requirements, as you can read within the technical data here.

The reason for the new requirements might be the use of' Unrestricted guests', which allows to start logical processors directly in "Real Mode" (see this Wikipedia article and the infos here).

I'm using VMware Workstation 10.0.5 for virtualization. A comment here at VMware introduction criticize the new hardware requirements. Others are saying: Nice, we bought two Pro Licenses on Aug 17th. 5 days too early for a free upgrade. Hard to explain to management why they should pay another 331,89 EUR for an upgrade in such short time.

Within this VMware forum thread I found a hint, that the statement:

monitor.allowLegacyCPU = „true"

within a VM ini file (vmx file) re-enables older CPUs, but slow down the VMs. This forum thread contains hints to Unrestricted Guests as the problem.

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4 Responses to Knock-out: VMware Workstation 14 needs modern CPUs

  1. Paul Coddington says:

    "While VMware Player 14 runs on older CPUs"

    Attempted to install on a Core 2 Q9550 and it refused to run. (I hear that VMware have not been consistent in updating published specs on their websites.)

  2. Bachsau says:

    WTF needs Real Mode today?!? Modern operating systems use it just for early booting in BIOS mode. Not a good reason to break compatibillity this hard. And how does allowLegacyCPU slow down machines?

  3. Jason Seven says:

    I have Vmware Workstation 10 and 12, none of the two versions has Apple Mac Pro OS as an operating system while trying to install… Please help… Thanks. Email:*** [filtered for privacy]

    • guenni says:

      That's not the boat I'm in, because lack of support for macOS as guest is a licensing issue. Contact VMware.

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