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Installing guest operating systems from ISO images in VMware Workstation (1002)

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This article provides steps to create a virtual machine and install an operating system (OS) from an ISO (disc image) file.


To install the OS from an ISO image in a virtual machine:
  1. Save the ISO image file in any location accessible to your host. For example:
    • Windows: C:\Temp or %TEMP%
    • Linux: /tmp or /usr/tmp

    Note: For best performance, place this image on the host computer's hard drive. However, to make the ISO image accessible to multiple users, you can also place the ISO image on a network share drive (Windows) or exported filesystem (Linux). If your OS install spans multiple discs, you need to use an ISO image of each disc and place them all of them in a location accessible to the host.

  2. Create a new virtual machine. Go to File > New > Virtual Machine.

  3. Select Typical to accept Workstation's recommendations for various settings (such as processors, RAM, and disk controller type). Select Custom if you want to select these options yourself.

  4. On the Guest Operating System Installation screen, when prompted where to install from, select Installer disc image file (iso).

  5. Click Browse, and navigate to the location where you saved the ISO image file.

  6. Click Next, and proceed through the new virtual machine wizard.

  7. Before you click Finish, to create the virtual machine, deselect Power on this virtual machine after creation.

  8. Edit the virtual machine settings so that its virtual CD/DVD device is configured to use the ISO image rather than the physical CD/DVD drive:
    1. Select the tab for the virtual machine you just created.
    2. Click Edit virtual machine settings.
    3. On the Hardware tab, select the CD/DVD drive.
    4. On the right side:
      1. Select Connect at power on.
      2. Select Use ISO image file.
      3. Click Browse and navigate to where you saved the ISO image file.

    5. Click OK.

  9. Power on the virtual machine.
The virtual machine boots from the ISO image, which contains the installation software for your guest OS. Follow the installation procedure for your guest OS. For more information, see the Guest Operating System Installation Guide.
Note: If the guest OS asks for the second CD/DVD, repeat step 8 to point the virtual CD/DVD device to the second ISO image.
When you are finished installing the guest OS, you can edit the virtual machine settings so that it is once more set to use the host computer's physical drive. You do not need to leave the drive set to connect at power on.

Additional Information

For translated versions of this article, see:


URLZ; 1002; 1725; device; ide1:0; disconnected

Update History

01/25/2011 - Updated article to discuss installing from ISOs, not creating ISOs 08/23/2012 - Added Workstation 9.x to Product Versions. 09/05/2013 - Added Workstation 10.x (Windows & Linux) to Product Versions. 02/12/2014 - Updated for Workstation 11.x

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  • 79 Ratings