VMware Workstation 15 - Export and import VMware or OVF (OVA) virtual machines

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As with other virtualization solutions, it's possible to export and import virtual machines into VMware Workstation.
By default, VMware Workstation uses the vmx format for virtual machine configuration and the vmdk format for associated virtual hard disks.

However, it's also possible to export your VMware virtual machines in OVF format to share them over the Internet and to download them over the Internet in OVF format for import them into VMware Workstation.

  1. Export and import in vmx format (VMware)
    1. Export in vmx format
    2. Import in vmx format
  2. Export and import in Open Virtual Machine Format (OVF)
    1. Export to OVF (Open Virtual Machine Format)
    2. Import from OVF (Open Virtual Machine Format)

1. Export and import in vmx format (VMware)

1.1. Export in vmx format

By default, your virtual machine has a vmx configuration file and its location is shown at the bottom right.

As you can see, in the folder of our virtual machine, we find, for example, the linked virtual hard disk in vmdk format, as well as its configuration file in vmx format.

To export it, just copy the folder of your virtual machine.

1.2. Import in vmx format

To import it into VMware Workstation (or add it after formatting your physical PC), you can go through the "File -> Open" menu.

And select the vmx file of the virtual machine to import.

Or, double-click on the vmx file of the desired virtual machine from the file explorer.

The virtual machine appears.

If the imported VMware virtual machine was created for an older version of VMware Workstation, the "Upgrade this virtual machine" option will appear.
In this case, you are free to click on it to update the hardware compatibility of this virtual machine if you want, and then update the VMware Tools in the guest OS for the virtual machine to work properly.