VMware Workstation 11 / 10 - Virtualize Windows XP to make it fluid

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If you have ever tried to reinstall Windows XP in a VMware Workstation virtual machine, you may have noticed that Windows XP has become extremely slow, or unusable, with recent versions of VMware Workstation.
To solve this problem, you will have 2 solutions :

IMPORTANT : using "Workstation 10.0" compatibility hardware with a newer version of VMware Workstation (12 and +) will not work.

To begin, open the wizard to create a new virtual machine.

Select "Custom (advanced)".

For the hardware compatibility level, select "Workstation 10.0" (even if you are using VMware Workstation version 11.0.0).

Select :

  • Guest operating system : Microsoft Windows
  • Version : Windows XP Home or Windows XP Professional (depending on which edition of Windows XP you want to virtualize)

At the end of the wizard, click on "Customize Hardware".

In the "Processors" section, select "Preferred mode: Binary translation" option.
This is the only virtualization mode that will allow you to use Windows XP properly (otherwise, Windows XP will remain extremely slow).

In the "New CD/DVD ..." section, select the Windows XP iso file.

When you start the virtual machine, VMware Workstation will show you a warning :

Plain Text

Binary translation is incompatible with long mode on this platform. The virtualization engine will automatically switch to Intel VT-X if the guest enters long mode.

Check the "Do not show this hint again" box to stop seeing this warning every time this virtual machine starts, and then click OK.

Now, you can install Windows XP normally.

Note : if necessary, refer to our tutorial : Windows XP - Formatting and reinstalling

Once Windows XP is installed, don't forget to install also the drivers (VMware Tools).

Once the VMware Tools are installed, you can use your virtual machine smoothly.