Is it possible to run x64 guests on x86 host in VMWare Workstation 6.5? It would probably make my life easier due to notebook device drivers...

Just to make it clear. I also added my CPU to tags. Based on your answers I should be able to run in this configuration because I do have support for VT in BIOS.

  • Just out of curiousity: Why would you want to do that? – 0x89 Aug 10 '09 at 21:06
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    your question says you've got a x86 host, but your tag says x64 host. which is it? – brad.lane Aug 10 '09 at 21:21
  • @0x89: because getting all kinds of device drivers for my notebook is much easier on x86 platform, compared to x64. I use my notebook as my primary development machine. – Robert Koritnik Aug 11 '09 at 5:55

Yes, VMWare Workstation can run 64-bit guests on a 32-bit hosts...however it is required that your hardware can support 64-bit OS's (it doesn't have to run a 64-bit OS, it just needs to support it).

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It depends on your hypervisor. As Chopper and davr have pointed out, VMware Workstation 6.5 supports 64-bit VMs on a 32-bit host with VT extensions enabled in the BIOS.

Some older versions of VMware did not support this.

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  • Sorry but this answer is incorrect. – Chopper3 Aug 10 '09 at 21:36
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    Have you actually done this successfully? If so, what were you running? I know for a fact that VMware does require a 64-bit host OS in order to run a 64-bit VM, because I've tried and it told me as much. – rob Aug 10 '09 at 21:50
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    Yes, yes I have, Windows 7 64-bit on Vista 32-bit - doing it now in fact. Here's someone else doing it too; blogs.dirteam.com/blogs/jorge/archive/2007/12/12/… – Chopper3 Aug 10 '09 at 21:58
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    It does depend on hypervisor as you state - in particular it works with VMWare Workstation 6.5 as per the question. – Chopper3 Aug 10 '09 at 22:15

Contrary to other answers I'm certain that you can do this, so long as your processor and BIOS support hardware virtualisation anyway. It's not a great way of doing it and I wouldn't suggest giving the guest too much memory either, but yes, yes it will work.

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  • I would think that it would be impossible using BIOS-based hardware virtualization, and that you would have to use pure software emulation , the same as if you were emulating a PPC chip – Matt Simmons Aug 10 '09 at 21:34
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    No, it works in hardware, you just have to enable the VT-bit via BIOS. – Chopper3 Aug 10 '09 at 21:36
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    Without more clarification from the original poster, there are no guarantees that this will work for him. For all we know he's running an Athlon 900... – Mark Henderson Aug 10 '09 at 21:56
  • hence the 'so long as your processor and BIOS support hardware virtualisation anyway' caveat/qualifier. – Chopper3 Aug 10 '09 at 22:01
  • He didn't ask 'Can I do this on my PC', but 'Is this possible'. So I guess his machine isn't really relevant to the answer. Of course, it could be he really wanted to know the answer to the former question, and not the latter. – davr Aug 10 '09 at 22:33

From personal experience, Sun's VBox will run a 64 bit O/S on a Win XP SP3 32-bit system, provided your CPU supports, and BIOS has VT-x turned on.

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If you can't move to Windows 64 bits because of the lack of drivers for your laptop, well I'm going to surprise you but ... you could install a 64 bit Linux distrib and it's 99% likely to support your machine out of the box. Then you can run Windows in the VMs, any version.

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yes, however only if you are using a fully virtualized machine. with a fully virtualized machine the processor is software and does not rely on the physical hardware. paravirtualization uses the main(real) processor and therefore can not run at 64bit if the host is 32bit.

I have used both scenarios with XEN


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