VMware Player is a freeware virtualization software package from VMware, Inc. (a company which was formerly a division of and whose majority shareholder remains EMC Corporation). VMware Player can run existing virtual appliances and create its own virtual machines (which require an operating system to be installed to be functional). It uses the same virtualization core as VMware Workstation, a similar program with more features, but not free of charge. VMware Player is available for personal non-commercial use, or for distribution or other use by written agreement.No support is provided by VMWare, but there is an active community website for discussing and resolving issues.
VMware claims the Player offers better graphics, faster performance, and tighter integration for running Windows XP under Windows Vista or Windows 7 than Microsoft's Windows XP Mode running on Windows Virtual PC, which is free of charge for all purposes.
Versions earlier than 3 of VMware Player were unable to create virtual machines (VMs), which had to be created by an application with the capability, or created manually by statements stored in a text file with extension ".vmx"; later versions can create VMs. The features of Workstation not available in Player are "developer-centric features such as Teams, multiple Snapshots and Clones, and Virtual Rights Management features for end-point security", and support by VMWare. Player allows a complete virtual machine to be copied at any time by copying a directory; while not a fully featured snapshot facility, this allows a copy of a machine in a particular state to be stored, and reverted to later if desired, e.g. after a demonstration or a virus infection test.
VMware Player is also supplied with the VMware Workstation distribution, for use in installations where not all client users are licensed to use the full VMware Workstation. An IT administrator can distribute a virtual machine created by Workstation to computers running Player without paying for additional VMware Workstation licenses.
Click here to download VMWare Player