Search the VMware Knowledge Base (KB)
Products:
View by Article ID

Sharing a folder from your Mac to a virtual machine (1004055)

  • 118 Ratings

Details

This article provides the steps to make a folder on your Mac available to a virtual machine using VMware Fusion. It also discusses security and permissions, troubleshooting shared-folder access, and alternatives to using Shared Folders.


Solution

Note: VMware Tools must be installed for shared folders to work. For more information about VMware Tools, see Overview of VMware Tools for VMware Fusion (1022048).

VMware Fusion's Shared Folders feature enables you to access your Mac's folders from your virtual machine. To access your virtual machine's folders from the Mac, you need to set up mirrored folders or create a network share. To see Shared Folders in action, watch this video:





For information on mirroring folders, instead of sharing, see Setting up mirrored folders for your Mac and virtual machine (1014127). For details on creating a network share, see the end of this article.

Windows

To configure a shared folder in a Windows virtual machine:

  1. Launch VMware Fusion.
  2. Power on the virtual machine.
  3. Click Virtual Machine > Settings.
  4. Click Sharing.
  5. In Fusion 8.x and 7.x, select Enable Shared Folders. In Fusion 6.x, 5.x and 4.x, turn ON the Shared folders option. In Fusion 3.x, select the Share folders on your Mac option.
  6. Click the + button.
  7. Browse to the folder on the Mac that will be shared with the virtual machine and click Add.

Shared folders can be accessed via the VMware Shared Folders shortcut on the Windows desktop or the mapped network drive Z:.

Linux

To configure a shared folder in a Linux or Solaris virtual machine:

Note: FreeBSD does not support Shared Folders.

  1. Launch VMware Fusion.
  2. Power off the virtual machine.
  3. Click Virtual Machine > Settings.
  4. Click Sharing.
  5. In Fusion 8.x and 7.x, select Enable Shared Folders. In Fusion 6.x, 5.x and 4.x, turn ON the Shared folders option. In Fusion 3.x, select the Share folders on your Mac option.
  6. Click the + button.
  7. Enter the share name, browse to the folder on the Mac that will be shared with the virtual machine and click Add.
  8. Click Apply, then OK.
  9. Power on the virtual machine.
  10. Open the Terminal utility in the guest operating system.
  11. Browse to the Host Guest File System (HGFS) folder by running this command:

    cd /mnt/hgfs

Note: Whenever the Linux kernel (Operating System) is updated, VMware Tools will need to be reinstalled.

Security

If you are concerned about security, you can make the shared folders read-only, so that the virtual machine can access the files within but cannot change them or add new files. This does not affect how the Mac interacts with its own files and folders.

To make the folder access read-only:

  1. Launch VMware Fusion.
  2. Power on the virtual machine.
  3. Click Virtual Machine > Settings.
  4. Click Sharing.
  5. For each folder you want to protect, change the Permissions dropdown from Read & Write to Read Only.

Troubleshooting

If you encounter any errors about shared folders, or you cannot access the folders, try each of these steps in turn, restarting the virtual machine after each:

  1. Remove each of the shared folders. Repeat steps 1-4 for your operating system above, then select each folder, and then click the button to remove it.
  2. Disable shared folders. Repeat steps 1-4 for your operating system above, and then deselect the box(es) you selected to turn on sharing.
  3. Reinstall VMware Tools. For more information, see   Uninstalling and manually installing VMware Tools in VMware Fusion (1014522)
    .

For more troubleshooting steps, see Troubleshooting access to shared and mirrored folders in Fusion (1027646).

Additional Information

Desktop Shortcut

VMware Fusion automatically creates a shortcut to the shared folders on the virtual machine's desktop. This shortcut is in addition to the network drive that is mapped to shared folders, visible in My Computer (on Windows) or in /mnt (in Linux). If you do not want this desktop shortcut, it is possible to delete it.

To delete the shortcut:

  1. Shut down the virtual machine.
  2. Open the virtual machine settings file for editing. For information, see Editing the .vmx file for your Fusion virtual machine (1014782).
  3. Find this line:

    hgfs.linkRootShare = "TRUE"

  4. Change it to:

    hgfs.linkRootShare = "FALSE"

  5. Save and close the .vmx file.
  6. Quit Fusion, and the reopen Fusion. This reloads the changed settings.
  7. Power on the virtual machine.

Other Sharing

VMware Fusion's Shared Folders feature is designed to keep you from having to worry about setting up sharing in Windows or Linux, and then connecting to it from the Mac. For information on setting up sharing in the virtual machine and then connecting to it from the Mac, see these Apple articles:

Note: The preceding links were available as of November 02, 2012. If you find the links to be broken, provide feedback on the article and a VMware employee will update the article as necessary.

For translated versions of this article, see:

Tags

how-to  use-shared-folders

This Article Replaces

1003431

Update History

06/11/2010 - Added information about what Shared Folders does; Added information about setting permissions; Added troubleshooting steps; Added information about alternatives. 08/02/2010 - Added section headers, note and troubleshooting step about re-installing VMware Tools. 09/14/2010 - updated article title, added link to further troubleshooting steps 09/23/2010 - Added link to video of Shared Folders in action 03/28/2011 - Added note about FreeBSD 04/30/2011 - Added information about removing desktop shortcut. 08/23/2012 - Added Fusion 5.x information 08/26/2014 - Updated for Fusion 7.x

Request a Product Feature

To request a new product feature or to provide feedback on a VMware product, please visit the Request a Product Feature page.

Feedback

  • 118 Ratings

Did this article help you?
This article resolved my issue.
This article did not resolve my issue.
This article helped but additional information was required to resolve my issue.

What can we do to improve this information? (4000 or fewer characters)




Please enter the Captcha code before clicking Submit.
  • 118 Ratings
Actions
KB: