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I am trying to run a VM on VMWare Workstation in sort of 'background' mode, basically I want to start it without a console and connect to it via ssh only. Is it possible?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

VMware Workstation and VMware Player both require the VMware application to be open and running, preventing you from logging out. The application / VM window itself can always be minimized. There are application settings to configure performance of the VM when running in background mode (i.e. not the current application focus).

If you're looking for running a VM completely in the background (almost like a service), consider the free VMware Server for Windows:

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I don't know about Player, but VMWare Workstation definitely allows me to background virtual machines. I do it all the time. – TomXP411 Apr 27 at 16:03

Yes it is possible. You can do this with the "vmrun" command using the "nogui" option:

 vmrun -T ws start /export/vmware/rh5/server.vmx nogui

The VM will then come up without starting the Workstation GUI and you can ssh to it.

If your host os is Windows change the path to:

vmrun -T ws start C:\export\vmware\rh5\server.vmx nogui
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This worked for me!, this should be the correct Answer! – Joyal Nov 21 '15 at 13:17

You can start the VM in workstation and then you simply close the tab that it's open on. Workstation will ask you if you want to power off, suspend, or background that virtual machine.

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interesting...gotta try that! – Alex N Nov 28 '09 at 22:42
didn't work for me: it just closed and suspended the vm. – rivimey Jan 20 at 14:46

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