Posted by: reformedmusings | October 25, 2015

Upgrading to Windows 10 in a VMWare Workstation 12 virtual machine

I ran Windows 8.1 in a VMWare Workstation under Ubuntu Linux 15.04. I tried updating from Windows 8.1 to 10 some time back, but eventually the Windows notification tool told me that I had an “Unsupported SVGA driver” and could not update. That was under Workstation 11. So, I bit the bullet and updated to Workstation 12.0 Pro, which went smoothly, but I still received the same error. Ugh.

After searching the VMWare Workstation knowledge base, I found this entry that explained the issue. Good old Microsoft. It turns out that Windows isn’t smart enough to detect the video capabilities of a virtual machine. According to VMWare, this is true for all virtual machines. Great job by Microsoft, NOT.

This can be overcome, but it involves some unusual actions – like dumbing down the virtual machine (VM) and lying to the updater. As always, start with a backing up the virtual machine.

According to VMWare, you start by uninstalling VMWare Tools from the virtual machine. I did that with the Windows Control Panel -> Programs and Features -> Uninstall Programs inside the VM. Then, shut down the guest VM Windows.

After that, follow the steps in the knowledge base article, which leverages the Microsoft Media Creation Tool. This worked perfectly for me. As usual, Windows takes quite a while to upgrade. But no worries, just let the VM run and continue to work as usual on the host machine. After the upgrade is complete, install VMWare Tools for the new installation and you’re off and running.

A few thoughts on Windows 10. The interface is better than Win 8.1, but that’s not saying much. I only run three programs in the VM – Logos Bible Software, OliveTree Bible Study, and TurboTax – and they all work fine in Win10. So, I don’t really use Windows as a system, only as a vehicle to run those three programs. I haven’t looked at the OS past that goal, other than privacy settings. My advice – turn off all sharing with Microsoft except letting apps control the radios. I don’t trust Microsoft with my shoe size much less anything else.


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