VMware Workstation & Fusion Technology Preview 2013

VMware have just released a new public beta for VMware Workstation

The VMware Workstation team is providing public access to the VMware Workstation Technology Preview to gather feedback from users on a wide range of hardware and software configurations. The VMware Workstation Technology Preview includes changes to the core virtualization engine and new capabilities we are exploring.

What's New - Read the full release notes

VMware Hardware Version 10 - This Technology Preview introduces hardware Version 10.   Hardware versions introduce new virtual hardware functionality and new features while enabling VMware to run legacy operating systems in our virtual machines.  

16 vCPUs - In this Technology Preview VMware Workstation is shipping Hardware Version 10 and has enabled our users to create and run virtual machines with up to 16 virtual CPUs.  Please let us know how this performs running your workloads.  We have run CPU benchmarks, encryption/decryption and encoding/decoding programs to characterize the performance, but we are interested in what results you get running other applications.

SSD Passthrough - Windows 8 is capable of detecting when it is being run from a solid state drive (SSD) and optimizes itself for this hardware.   In this Technology Preview, Workstation can detect when the Virtual Machine Disk file is being stored on an SSD drive and pass this information to the guest operating system to enable Windows 8 to make the same optimizations when it is running in a virtual machine.

Expiring Virtual Machines - VMware has enhanced the capabilities of Restricted Virtual Machines to include the ability to expire the virtual machine on a certain date at midnight UTC time (for now).  The intent of this feature is to enable customers to create virtual machines to be shared with employees, students, customers, contractors etc. that will run until the date that that you set. 

New Converter - This Workstation Technology Preview includes a preview of the next version of VMware Converter.   The Converter enables users to make Physical machines virtual.  This version of the Converter includes support the following enhancements:

  • Guest operating system support for Microsoft Windows 8 and Microsoft Windows Server 2012
  • Guest operating system support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6
  • Support for virtual and physical machine sources with GUID Partition Table (GPT) disks
  • Support for virtual and physical machine sources with Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI)
  • Support for EXT4 file system
  • Support for vSphere 5.1 virtual machine hardware version 9

Pre-Released OVFTool - The Open Virtual Machine Format (OVF) is a virtual machine distribution format that supports sharing virtual machines between products and organizations.  The VMware OVF Tool is a command-line utility that enables a user to import and export OVF packages to and from a wide variety of VMware products.

User Interface Enhancements:

There are other small changes that have been included in this release that you may discover and we are continuing to add more features but here are a couple of items that you may come across:

Windows 8 Unity Mode Support - We are continuing to improve on how our Unity Mode user-interface works with Microsoft's "Modern UI" or the "Microsoft Design Language" (The new tile interface in Windows 8 formerly known as Metro).   We have made some improvements and would like to know what you think!

Multiple Monitor Navigation - When running with 2,3,4 and even 5 or 6 monitors it has been frustrating to use the full screen mode in Workstation and toggle through each combination of monitors to get to the one you want.  The fullscreen toolbar now has an option to choose your configuration and jump to it immediately.

Power Off Suspended Virtual Machines - I am sure that this has happened to you as often as it happens to me.   You want to change the configuration of a virtual machine in your library that you use all of the time.   You open up the virtual machine settings dialog and everything is greyed out because the virtual machine is currently suspended.    Instead of powering on the virtual machine and waiting for it to boot up before powering it down to make the changes, the Technology Preview lets you simply power off the suspended Virtual Machine (as long as you don't care about what is in its memory).

Remote Hardware Upgrade - When working with virtual machines running remotely on vSphere or on another instance of Workstation, you can now remotely upgrade the Hardware version..

There is also a new release of VMware Fusion as well

VMware Labs is providing public access to the VMware Fusion Technology Preview 2013 to gather real-world feedback from users on a wide range of hardware and software configurations. The VMware Fusion Technology Preview includes changes to the core virtualization engine and new capabilities we are exploring.

  • Creating large VMs on appropriately equipped Macs (16 vCPUs, 64GB RAM)
  • Dictation Support
  • Network handling when running VMware ESX as a guest
  • Restricted virtual machines with an expiration date
  • PC Migration Assistant
  • Virtual Machine Compatibility pane under Settings
  • Improved handling of the Command/Windows key under Windows 8
  • General stability and correctness

What's New? - Read the full release notes


  • New virtual Hardware Version 10 with support for up to 16 vCPUs on Macs with more than 16 cores.
  • Support for up to 64GB of RAM per VM on Macs with sufficient memory.
  • Support for Mountain Lion Dictation.
  • Updated PC Migration Assistant.
  • Support for expiring a restricted virtual machine after a particular date.

User Interface

  • Redesigned Settings > Compatibility to provide more information about the limits associated with each virtual hardware version and product compatibility.
  • A virtual machine can now be rebooted to BIOS/EFI by performing the following actions: Settings > Startup Disk > Restart to firmware. The “Restart to firmware” option is shown when the “Alt/Option” key is held down.

Operating Systems

  • Improved handling of the Command key to prevent accidentally entering “Metro-style” when running Windows 8.