Windows 11 on VMware workstation – How to install it?


After the windows11 came out, I was so excited to try out the new operating system from Microsoft. Since it is not officially available to download, I somehow managed to get the windows11 iso. Do I recommend this OS to be installed on your PC? not yet.

I could register myself to the windows insider program and get the preview build from Microsoft directly to my machine. Or wait for an official ISO release for the public and install it on my machine. As a result, not many bugs and so much peace of mind.

However, that doesn’t stop me from trying out Windows 11 on a virtualized environment. I have already tried out Windows 11 on KVM on my Ubuntu machine, and that works great. You may check out the article here if you are interested.Opens in a new tab.

In this blog, we are going to install Windows 11 on VMware workstation pro.

Before you begin, you need to have,

Once we have the prerequisites ready, let’s go ahead and start installing windows11 on the VMware workstation.

1.    Create the Windows 11 Virtual machine.

The first step in the process is to create the Windows 11 Virtual machine on the VMware workstation.

Open VMware Workstation and on File click on New virtual Machine or Press CTRL+N on your keyboard. it will open up new virtual machine wizard.

Click on New virtual machine to Create windows 11 virtual machine

In the new virtual machine wizard, you may tend to use the typical option, do not choose Typical. Select Custom instead and click on next.

Choose custom installation in VMware workstation for windows 11 deployment.

You will have to choose the hardware compatibility. As I am using VMware workstation 16, I am okay to leave the default. If you are on an older version, you might have to choose your version under hardware compatibility.

After the selection, click on Next.

choose windows 11 hardware compatibility in VMware.

Attach the Windows 11 ISO image.

We have to attach the windows 11 ISO image under the installer disk image file. Click on Browse and attach the windows 11 iso file.

Click on Next.

attach windows 11 iso image to VMware workstation.

Choose the guest operating system version.

You now need to choose the Guest operating system version in the VMware workstation.

As you know, Windows 11 was recently launched. It is not available yet as a supported operating system in VMware workstation, so the workaround would be to choose windows 10 and work just fine.

Choose the Guest operating system as Microsoft Windows and version as Windows 10 x 64 and click on Next.

choose windows 10 as the guest operating system

Name the VM and choose the location.

Provide a user-friendly name, I will name the VM as Windows 11, and you need to choose where you want to save the VM files.

I am okay with the default location. If you want to choose a different location you may click on the Browse option and change it.

After you choose the name and the VM location, you may click on Next.

name the virtual machine name and the location.

Firmware type.

This step is crucial, so choose the firmware type as BIOS instead of default UEFI and click on next. Selecting the UEFI will not let you get into the windows installation wizard.

choose BIOS as the firmware type for windows 11 in VMware

2. Configure the system resources.

We have to configure the CPU and memory for the VM now, let’s configure the CPU first and we will configure the memory.

Configure the CPU.

I will give 4 CPUs for the windows machine, and my host has about 12 CPUs, including threads, so I am okay to give 4 CPUs. If you want to provide more CPU cores or less than 4 CPU’s you may choose to do so and click on Next.

configure the cpu for windows 11.

Configure the memory.

For Windows 11 to work fine, you need to provide at least 4GB of RAM. I will give 8GB of RAM for my VM and click on Next. Depends on your requirement, you may choose the memory, but it is recommended to keep more than 4GB and click on Next.

configure the memory for the windows 11 in VMware.

3. Choose the Network.

Don’t get confused by the number of options you get for the network. You have to choose either NAT or bridged network if you want your guest machine to access the internet. I am selecting the network as Bridged. That way, this Windows 11 machine becomes part of my home network, and my router would start assigning IP directly to the VM.

Sometimes your bridged adapter may not work fine, so you can choose NAT instead.

You can follow the steps hereOpens in a new tab. if you would like to troubleshoot the VMWare workstation bridged adapter not working.

After choosing the adapter of your choice click on Next.

choose the network type for windows 11 in VMware workstation.

Leave the I/O controller type as LSI Logic SAS and click on Next.

Select I/O controller type as LSI Logic SAS.

Select disk type as NVMe and click on Next.

selecte NVMe as the disk type for windows 11 in vmware.

4. Create a Virtual hard disk.

For any operating system to work, you need to have a hard disk attach to it, so in VMware, you can either create a new hard disk and choose an existing virtual hard disk. You can even choose your physical hard disk, but for this blog, I will keep the default which is Create a new virtual disk and click on Next.

create windows 11 virtual hard disk in vmware.

You need to provide the capacity for your virtual hard disk. By default, it has picked up 60GB, which is a good amount of storage for me. So based on your requirement, you may alter the hard disk space here.

Also, be sure to choose Split virtual disk into multiple files and click on Next.

specify the windows 11 disk capacity.

You can see the virtual hard disk created with VMDK extension that will save on your chosen location. Click on next.

specify the windows 11 disk file.

Finally, you will get the properties of the VM that you are going to set up. Once you verified everything, click on Finish.

windows 11 hardware properties for windows 11.

5. Begin the Windows 11 installation in the VMware workstation.

After few seconds, you should see the windows 11 VM is created in your VMware workstation hypervisor.

Select the VM and click on power on this Virtual machine.

begin windows 11 installation in VMware workstations

You will now boot into the windows 11 installation wizard.

Choose the language, time, and keyboard layout of your choice, click on next, and click on Install now.

choose windows 11 language in vmware.

If you have a product key, you may enter them here; it is unlikely that you will have a product key for windows 11. You may click on I don’t have a product key option.

enter the product key for windows 11 in vmware.

Choose the Windows 11 version.

There are some windows 11 versions are available to choose from, choose the one that fits your need and click on next.

I am choosing the windows 11 pro, and you will get license agreement windows. You may accept it and click on Next.

choose windows 11 version in vmware.

Choose the custom option as the installation type. It will take you to choose the virtual hard disk that you have set up in step 4.

Select the virtual hard disk and click on next.

choose the windows 11 virtual hard disk.

The installation of windows will now begin. This process will take some time, so you may take a  short break and come back.

6. Windows 11 initial setup wizard.

After a couple of restarts, you will be presented with the Windows 11 initial setup wizard.

Chose the country or region and click on next.

Note: You may ignore the VMware tools warning at the bottom of the screen, which we will install it, later on.

windows 11 initial setup wizard in vmware workstation.

You will have to choose the keyboard layout and click on Yes.

I will not connect to the network yet, which I will do after completing the initial setup wizard, so click on I don’t have internet.

Not connecting to the internet would help me to set up my local account and save some time during the installation. Because Windows 11 will not start searching for an update either.

disconnect windows 11 from vmware network.

You may click on Continue with limited setup, and you will get an option to set up a local account, enter your name and click on next, and set up your password as well.

You will also be asked to answer three security questions as well after finishing that, you will be taken to the windows11 desktop in few seconds.

windows 11 desktop in vmware.

7. Install VMware tools for windows 11.

We have now completed the installation of windows 11 on your VMware workstation. We are going to install the VMware Tools on the machine now. It will provide good performance for the Virtual machine.

Click on VM> Install VMware Tools.

install VMware tools in windows 11.

This will mount the VMware tools disk to your windows 11 machine. Click on the folder icon on the bottom to get into ‘This PC,’ and on the left side, you should see VMware tools DVD has been attached.

In the DVD files, you should see a file called setup64. Double click on it to install the VMware workstation tools on your VM.

open the vmware tools cdrom in windows 11.

In the VMware Tools Setup wizard, choose Typical and click next.

VMware tools installation steps in windows 11.

After few seconds, the VMware tools will be installed on your machine. Click on Finish on the installation wizard.

finish vmware tools installation steps.

You will get a prompt to restart the windows 11 machine. You may click on yes. After that, you are ready to go.

As you can see, we have successfully installed Windows 11 on VMware workstation pro, and remember I was chosen not to connect to the network, and I have now connected to the network, and I can access the internet just fine.

windows 11 desktop in vmware workstation.

Enjoy Windows 11 on VMware workstation pro!

Saifudheen Sidheeq

Saifudheen is in the Computer networking and technology field for about a decade now. He loves technology and new ideas, and in his spare time, he loves to write about them.

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