Normally, you use virtual machines from VMware Workstation in window or full screen mode.
But, you can also run them in the background and switch between them via a shortcut key using VMware KVM mode.
By default, when you launch virtual machines from VMware Workstation, you will find :
If you go to the VMware Workstation folder, you will find a "vmware-kvm.exe" program.
If you run it without parameters, a "No virtual machine specified" error message will be displayed with the syntax to use "vmware-kvm.exe [OPTIONS] [--] [FILE]" and the list of available options :
To configure the various VMware KVM options, open a command prompt (cmd) and go to the VMware Workstation folder.
If you have a 32-bit (x86) version of Windows, type this :
cd "C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Workstation"
If you have a 64-bit version of Windows, type this :
cd "C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Workstation"
Then, start VMware KVM with the "--preferences" parameter.
From this "VMware KVM Preferences" window, you will be able to configure :
To start virtual machines in KVM mode, you need to know the path of the configuration file (.vmx) of this one.
In our case, we will use 2 virtual machines.
Here is one of the configuration files in vmx.
First, we'll start the "Windows 8 x64 Pro" virtual machine by typing this :
vmware-kvm.exe "I:\VMs\Windows 8 x64 Pro\Windows 8 x64 Pro.vmx"
Your computer switches to a VMware startup screen.
A tip "Press Pause to switch among virtual machines and the host" is displayed.
And Windows 8 Pro starts in full screen (although it's managed as a virtual machine).
With VMware KVM, you feel like you're using another PC, while it's a full-screen virtual machine with a few details.
There is no toolbar at the top of the screen as is the case with VMware Workstation's full-screen mode and you can hardly get out of it.
The only options for getting out of it are :
If you press the shortcut key shown previously ("Break" by default) and the VMware Tray icon is enabled in your case, you will see that a VMware virtual machine is currently running in the background.
Note : if you don't see this icon, launch VMware Workstation and go to : Edit -> Preferences.
Then, select "Show tray icon: When a virtual machine is powered on" (or : Always).
As you can see, this virtual machine is well managed by VMware KVM (and not VMware Workstation : vmware.exe) with the help of a vmware-vmx.exe process.
The vmware-tray.exe process is simply the icon shown on the image above.
We are launching a second virtual machine using this command :
vmware-kvm.exe "I:\VMs\Windows 10 x64 Pro\Windows 10 x64 Pro.vmx"
And on the host PC, we see that both are running.
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