Windows 10: Update KB4517211/KB4522015 breaks VMware Workstation

[German]It seems, that Update KB4517211 for Windows 10 Version 1809 and  KB4522015 for Windows 10 Version 1903 breaks older Versions of VMware workstation. This virtualization software can’t launch after installing this patch.


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Update KB4517211/KB4522015 for Windows 10

Update KB4522015 has been released on September 23, 2019 for Windows 19 V1809 – and Update KB4517211 has been released on September 26, 2019 für Windows 10 Version 1903. These are security updates for Internet Explorer, released to mitigate a vulnerability in scripting. Update KB452201 has been available only via Microsoft Update Catalog, but it is causing several issues (see the knows issues section of KB4522015 and link list below). Update KB4517211 has been released also via Windows Update.

Issues with VMware workstation

Shortly after I’ve published the article Windows 10: Issues with Updates KB4522015, KB4522016 / KB4517211 (Sept. 2019) I got a user comment mentions issues with Vmware workstation. German blog reader Kay wrote:

old versions of VMware Workstation no longer work after KB4522015 update

There is a thread at reddit.com, where a user wrote ‘Cannot run VMware WS Pro 14 after KB4517211’. He posted the following screen shot.

VMware workstation can't run(Source: reddit.com)

One user wrote, that it has something to do with changes in Hyper-V and may be present since the release of Windows 10 version 1903. Maybe the patch changes something in kernel isolation. We have this issue also in Windows 10 Version 1809. Other users has confirmed this issue. There is also a thread at VMware forum, where this issue has been discussed.


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Windows 10 KB4517211 Stops VM workstation 12 From Starting

After installing this Windows update “KB4517211” VMWare workstation 12 no longer starts. Had to delete update….

Other users has confirmed this issue caused by Windows 10 V1903 update KB4517211:

We got the same issue but I don’t think that it is a good solution to just remove this update. Is there any other known fix for this issue?

There is also a Microsoft Answers forum thread about this issue. The issue affects several versions of VMware workstation installed on Windows 10 Version 1903. At tensforum.com a user describes a workaround for VMware workstation 14. To do this, unzip the file sysmain.zip and copy it into the folder:

sysmain.sdb to C:\Windows\apppatch

Use the steps are described in the forum. This is because Microsoft can block the execution of applications or drivers via the sysmain.sdb file. The sdb file it provides does not block VMware. Update: See the comment below, there is the possibility, to use the Compatibility Administrator Toolkit to re-allow VMware workstation. But I got reports from users, that the file sysmain.sdb is write protected – so you need to overtake the ownership. Also updating to VMware workstation/Player 15.5 solves that issue. And some users found out renaming vmware.exe to vmware1.exe enables older versions again. Addendum: VMware has issued a statement for this topic.

From what I’ve heared is, that Microsoft enabled some Hyper-V virtualization feature for a Windows 10 feature, which may conflicts with the hypervisor of older VMware versions. So the update sets a compatibility block. Unfortunately I forgot the details about the exact reason and can’t find the link, where I read (that) suspicion. On the other hand, users who are removed the block has been able to run older VMware products again.

Similar articles
Windows: Vulnerabilities in IE and Defender (09/23/2019)
Windows 10: Issues with Updates KB4522015, KB4522016 / KB4517211 (Sept. 2019)Windows: Printer issues after Sept. 2019 Update confirmed
Windows 10 V1903: Known Issues – Part 3


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38 Responses to Windows 10: Update KB4517211/KB4522015 breaks VMware Workstation

  1. Windows 10 User says:

    There is no need to replace the entire sysmain.sdb (this action could expose your machine to unpredicatble problems).

    You can simply run the Compatibility Administrator Toolkit (https://docs.microsoft.com/it-it/windows-hardware/get-started/adk-install), and disable the entry under the “System Database/Applications/VMware Workstation Pro” path. That’s all.

  2. Sinh Quan says:

    It works. Thank you for the solution!

  3. Simon says:

    Yay! Thanks for the tip! Also helped me.

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  5. Hans says:

    Vielen Dank! Thank you!

  6. Rich Goodchild says:

    Thank you for this: saved me from a very embarassing experience explaining to a customer that I could not carry out the work I was supposed to do because none of my VMWare applications worked. Just a shame that yet again, Microsoft updates cause numerous headaches for thousands of PC users with no come-back.

  7. Jure Peternel says:

    Yess. Hats off to you sir!

  8. Rick Warton says:

    Wow that was easy. Thanks a million for the tip.

    You can simply run the Compatibility Administrator Toolkit (https://docs.microsoft.com/it-it/windows-hardware/get-started/adk-install), and disable the entry under the “System Database/Applications/VMware Workstation Pro” path. That’s all.

  9. Marco says:

    How can I disable the entry? If I try to modify the db with Compatadmin.exe it’s says me “Read Only”.
    Please help

    • guenni says:

      That’s the mystery I haven’t solved. Some users clain it’s ‘read only’, while others say ‘it worked’. Are you a member of administrators group? Did you launch the tool with ‘Run as administrator’?

  10. Marco says:

    Hi, I run the Compatibility Administrator Toolkit and try to disable the entry under the “System Database/Applications/VMware Workstation Pro” path but in the title bar I’ve (Read Only).
    Could you write the operation step-by-step?

    Thank you.

    • Windows 10 User says:

      Don’t worry about the warning “Read Only” on the title bar… I see the same on mine, but despite of that I’ve been able to disable the entry. Maybe the last update changed the meaning of the term “read only” too :)

      Run the tool as Admin and, on the left-upper tree, expand the “System Database/Applications” path then left click on “VMware Workstation Pro”. You should see, on the right-side panel, two entries: vmplayer.exe and vmware.exe.

      Right click on them and select “disable entry”. That’s all, the modification should be applied without the need to explicitly save the database.

  11. Andreas Mohr says:

    Worked for me, too!
    Many thanks for this very helpful tip.

  12. MA says:

    Thanks soo much! Brilliant.

  13. TJ says:

    Thanks a Billion!!

  14. DG says:

    Great, thanks a lot.

  15. W says:

    For me helps just changing application vmplayer name
    C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Player\vmplayer
    To
    C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Player\vmplayer1

    Just that’s all

    • balrog says:

      THAT worked!!!!! Thank you!!!

      • Edmort says:

        I tried renaming to vmplayer1 and the program finally starts. But when I tried to Run my WinXP image, I received a new message: VMWare Player failed to start the VMWare Authorization Service. Windows 10 1903 (build 18362.418). M$ is making ours lives a nightmare.

  16. FS says:

    Very good hint, worked for me.

    Thank You

  17. Hieu says:

    Excellent, thank you so much!

  18. FelipeDui says:

    That’s amazing. I did the name change and everything it’s OK again.
    LOL.

  19. Said says:

    Worked here too! thanks a milion

  20. balrog says:

    Doesn’t work for me :/ Running it as administrator grays out the option to disable. Running it normally gives the ability to click disable, but doing so didn’t fix it anyway. Still getting that annoying popup. Win10 Pro, not Home. So there shouldn’t be any issue. Reinstalled, VM Work Pro, no go… what a bummer..

  21. Jackson says:

    Awesome. Thanks a lot !

  22. Mak says:

    Thank You. “disable entry” method work for me

  23. Binyam says:

    go to
    start—– > setting > update and security > windows update >view update history > uninstall update (search for –KB4517…) then uninstall this hotfix then restart your computer ,then open the vmware workstation

  24. Pingback: How to Fix “VMWare Workstation Pro Can’t Run on Windows” Error – | ALLSTAR |

  25. 2vi says:

    rename worked

  26. Valery says:

    Sh%t, now ‘compatibility toolkit’ is blocked too…
    https://imgur.com/Eax0C9H

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