VMWare Player Network driver (and video, SCSI, etc.)

Problem: After installing some operating systems such as Vista* in a virtual machine (i.e. as a ‘guest’ OS) under VMWare Player, they cannot access the internet because they don’t have a driver for VMWare’s virtual network card.

Solutions: This driver (and many others such as SVGA, SCSI, sound) are available in the ‘VMWare Tools’ package. Unfortunately this does not come with the free(beer) VMware Player, only higher-end products such as Server and Workstation that require payment and/or a ‘free’ (revocable at any time; costs your time and one valid email address) license key. They’re also a rather hefty download to scavenge out one lousy driver and copy it over. VMWare Tools includes .iso files, notably ‘windows.iso’ that can be mounted as a CDROM in the guest OS to install the drivers. This is the part you really want.

Windows.iso download direct from VMWare’s site: VMware ESX Server vmxnet Driver Update for Windows NT (.tgz file, use 7-Zip or similar freeware to extract)

This file contains basically an updated copy of Windows.iso (to fix a bug in a particular old version packaged with VMWare ESX Server) and nothing else; no registration or 200MB downloads required. (Despite the ‘for NT’ description, the .iso contains the full set of drivers for other Windows versions.) Score!

* for Vista and maybe others, you may have to explicitly force VMWare Player to present a specific virtual network card interface corresponding to one of the drivers included with VMWare Tools: open the .vmx file for your virtual machine in a text editor, find the network section and ADD the following line for each card:

Ethernet[n].virtualDev = “vmxnet”

replacing [n] with the virtual network card’s number shown in the other lines of settings, e.g. ethernet0. The ‘vmxnet’ driver is included in the Tools. Other choices I have heard of besides ‘vmxnet’ for this field include ‘vlance’ and ‘e1000’, though I don’t know where or if a full list of possible choices is publicly documented anywhere. Of those options, only the ‘e1000’ card seems to have a driver available for Vista x64 (the Tools does not appear to contain 64-bit drivers).

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5 Responses to “VMWare Player Network driver (and video, SCSI, etc.)”

  1. daRkLight says:

    Great post man, thx

  2. JB_FT says:

    Thanks for posting this… I built some .vmdk images and converted one from Microsoft for someone else and passed them along and later realized that they had VMware Player and that version 2.5.1 doesn’t contain the VMware tools (why not?).

    Anyway your assistance was wonderfully appreciated. Most other places linked to extracting from Linux packages (which is not a problem for me) but it is easier do it the way you did. I simply forwarded the .ISO and they did the rest…….

    Thanks again,

  3. Jiri says:

    FYI Just set:
    Ethernet0.virtualDev = “e1000”
    on windows7 running in vmplayer, network card recognized well, connected in bridged mode.

  4. Ahmed Ehtesham Zaedi says:

    Thanks a lot the above solution worked perfectly.

  5. Chris says:

    +1 for:

    Ethernet0.virtualDev = “e1000”

    I had converted a working Windows Virtual PC 7 image (Windows 7 Pro x64 host OS, Windows 7 Pro x86 guest) to VMWare Player format using VMWare`s standalone converter. After conversion and installation of VMWare Tools, the network adapter wouldn`t start. I noticed the above line wasn`t in the .vmx file, so I added it. BINGO! Everything`s working now.


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