VMware Workstation Player and Workstation Pro are virtualization applications that users can run in their desktop or laptops. One is free (Player) and the other is licensed (Workstation). Both run on top of the host Operation System like in Windows or Linux systems.
These two virtualization applications are different since Workstation Player is more a basic and non-commercial tool and Workstation Pro is more advanced and professional virtualization solution to create and manage Virtual Machines.
The hardware and Host Operation Systems requirements for these two virtualization applications are the same.
Host requirements to install VMware Workstation Player and Workstation Pro:
- CPU: 1GHz 64-bit processor
- Memory: 2Gb RAM
Recommended (mainly if running multiple Virtual Machines):
- CPU: 2GHz 64-bit processor
- Memory: 4Gb RAM
- For Workstation Player: 150Mb
- For Workstation Pro: 1,2Gb
Note: Additional CPU, Memory and hard disk space, are required for each virtual machine.
Additional information about hardware and Host Operation Systems requirements:
- Processor Requirements for Host Systems
- Host System Requirements for Workstation Pro
- Host System Requirements for Workstation Player
Note: VMware Workstation Player doesn’t run in the following CPUs:
- Intel Atom processors based on the 2011 “Bonnell” micro-architecture (e.g. Atom Z670/Z650; Atom N570)
- Systems using Intel Atom processors based on the 2012 “Saltwell” micro-architecture (e.g. Atom S1200, Atom D2700/D2500, Atom N2800/N2600)
- Systems using AMD processors based on the “Llano” and “Bobcat” micro-architectures (e.g. code-named “Hondo”, “Ontario”, “Zacate”, “Llano”)
Both Workstation Player and Pro can be installed in Windows and Linux Operating Systems.
The following Host Linux Operation Systems (64-bit):
- Host Operating Systems (64-bit)
- Ubuntu 15.04 and above
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 & above
- CentOS 7.0 and above
- Oracle Linux 7.0 and above
- openSUSE Leap 42.2 and above
- SUSE Linux 13 and above
Note: Workstation 15 Pro requires a 64-bit operating system on the host PC.
Some of the 200 Operating Systems that are supported as Guest Operation Systems:
Windows 10, Windows 8.X, Windows 7, Windows XP, Ubuntu, Red Hat, SUSE, Oracle Linux, Debian, Fedora, openSUSE, Mint, CentOS.
For a complete list of supported host and guest, the operating systems visit the VMware Compatibility Guide.
What is VMware Workstation Player?
VMware Workstation Player (formerly known as Player Pro) is a basic freeware desktop application. Workstation Player is much more straightforward application and is easy and quick to create and run virtual machines with a user interface designed to be as easy to use as possible.
Workstation Player is a free application and a non-advanced virtualization application. The licensed version enables Workstation Player to run VMware Workstation Pro and Fusion Pro Virtual Machines. Non-licensed Workstation Player cannot run multiple VMs at once.
The latest version for VMware Player is v15.0.2. You can download the latest VMware Workstation Player free from VMware site.
New Operating Systems that were added in the latest Workstation Player update:
Support has been added for the following host operating systems.
- Windows 10, version 1809
- Windows Server 2019
Support has been added for the following guest operating systems.
- Windows 10, version 1809
- Windows Server, version 1809
- Windows Server 2019
VMware Workstation Player cannot co-install with other VMware Products. If in the same Host Operating System is detected a VMware Workstation Pro or VMware Server, an error is displayed and install is aborted.
Note: Students and faculty of accredited educational institutions can use VMware Workstation Player for free if they are members of the VMware Academic Program.
Commercial organizations require commercial licenses to use Workstation Player.
What is VMware Workstation Pro?
VMware Workstation Pro is a Hypervisor Application with much more advanced features and where users can create Virtual Machines, create Virtual Networks, create Snapshots, Clone Virtual Machines and sharing VMs.
VMware Workstation Pro has much more advanced Virtual Machine settings and is designed for technical professionals such as systems engineers and IT administrators, etc.
Since Workstation Pro is a Hypervisor, we can connect to a vSphere/ESXi Server and remote vSphere Host Power Control.
As a Workstation Server, Workstation Pro can Share Virtual Machines.
Workstation Pro run restricted VMs that are encrypted and password-protected to ensure only authorized users can interact with corporate data.
When a VMware Workstation Pro license is acquired and install Workstation Pro, a version of Workstation Player licensed is included with your installation.
The latest version for VMware Player is v15.0.2. You can download the latest VMware Workstation Pro from VMware site.
In the next table, we can check all the features and differences between Workstation Player and Workstation Pro. Has we can notice, most of the advanced features are only available in Workstation Pro.
Decide on which application to use for your virtualization work, it all depends on what type of work and Virtual Machines you will create and for what purpose. Depending on those needs, select the best tool that fit your requirements. Always bear in mind that one you can use with a free license (free for personal non-commercial use. Business and non-profit use is considered commercial use) and the other needs a paid license.
As we showed in this article, Workstation Player is more for basic virtualization tasks, and Workstation Pro is more for advanced and expert virtualization work with some more powerful features to extend virtualization tasks to a hypervisor level.