17 January 2020

VMware Workstation can’t run on Windows

This was fun… Lets update Windows. Okay, done. Now lets open VMware Workstation and get back to work on that vm that I needed to do something on…

VMware Workstation Pro can’t run on Windows

Check for an updated version of this app that runs on Windows.

Compatibility Assistant

What the!!! Umm, I’m not re-purchasing Workstation, I just bought it a couple months ago! 🤬 😤

If you have tried running VMware’s Workstation Player/Pro version 12 or 14 on Windows 10 1903 (or above), there’s a pretty good chance that you went through the same conversation with yourself that I did above. Apparently the release schedules for Windows 10 and for Workstation, don’t align, and older releases of Workstation will get put on a sort of program “blacklist”.

As part of a MS Cumulative Update (Sept 26, 2019; OS Build 18362.387+), it will update a database of programs that are prohibited by MS. Their “Compatibility Assistant” component now prevents older versions of Workstation from even running. So how do we get around this and use Workstation?

The best solution would be to become a paid “Advantage” member of the VMware User Group (VMUG). By spendign $200 and becoming an VMUG Advantage member, one of the biggest perks is that you get access to evaluation licenses of basically all of VMware’s products. So, you can download, install, run with the most current and non-“Compatibility Assistant” blocked version of Worstation.

Okay, so you don’t want to spend any additional money. I totally understand. In that case, the simplest way to fix this is going to be to make a registry edit. The registry edit is necessary to override the “Compatibility Asisstant” default behavior, thus allowing us the ability to run Workstation again.

  1. Backup your registry… Disclaimer: I’m not responsible for any unintentional mishaps you have while you edit your registry.
  2. Open a text editor, and copy/paste the code below into it.
  3. Save it as a ‘.reg’ file. Go ahead and name it something like “VMworkstation.reg”.
  4. Open and apply your “VMworkstation.reg” file to modify your registry.
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags]

Note: This method is also suitable to deploy via Group Policy.

The last option available, would be to replace the “Compatibily Assistant” database file with an older version of itself. I’m personally not a fan of this method, so I’m not going to expand on it. But with a little googling you can learn how this would be done.

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Posted January 17, 2020 by IT.G.c in category "Microsoft", "VMWare", "Windows 10", "Workstation

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