At the time of writing, the VMware Workstation Player [archive] software package can be downloaded free of charge for
x64 computers running Windows or Linux. The VMware vSphere Hypervisor provides a local virtualization solution for running a second, isolated operating system on a single computer, although it has less features than the commercial VMware Workstation product; see here [archive] for a full description of supported platforms, version history and features. A community website [archive] is also available for discussing and resolving issues that are encountered.
Lead Whonix ™ developer, Patrick Schleizer, has expressed serious reservations about VMware:
- In comparison to Free Software [archive], VMware is not very open and transparency is critical for security.
- Users of the free VMware Workstation Player are apparently unable to submit bug reports in contrast to users of commercial products.
- There is no known list of open bugs which means it is difficult to determine VMware's suitability for Whonix ™, such as potential threats to anonymity.
- Attempted bug reports go entirely unanswered, meaning there is little motivation to investigate issues, make contributions, or submit further bug reports.
- Free VMware products only have community support and not professional support.
VMware Whonix ™ Support Status
Table: Unofficial Supported VMware Products
|VMware Workstation||Previous tests of VMware Workstation were found to be in a working state. Please note it is rarely tested.|
|VMware ESX(i)||Up to version |
|VMware Server||VMware Server and all other products are untested, but are most likely functional.|
|VMware Player||VMware Player was previously tested by an anonymous user and found to be functional, . although this has not been confirmed by Whonix ™ developers. Note that the internal network setup can sometimes be difficult; refer to How to create multiple networks on VMware Player [archive] for further instructions.|
How-to: Run Whonix ™ using VMware
- Either import the Download version or manually build from source.
- Due to an upstream VMware bug, it might be necessary to press retry when importing the
.ovaimages (to relax the importing requirements).
Simply importing the
.ova templates will not work because ESX(i) will not recognize the hardware family. Existing workarounds include using VMware Workstation or extracting the
.ova and then editing the
Importing Virtual Disk Files
To import the appliances:
- Create two virtual machines in ESX(i) with default settings -- do not create a virtual disk for them.
Whonix-Workstation.ovain VirtualBox (this is not a typo!). Do not check the setting
Import as VDI.. 
- Once both are imported, retrieve the
.vmdkdisk files from their physical location on the disk (VirtualBox extracts them from the
- Upload both disk files to the datastore that is being used in ESX(i).
- Attach the disk files to the appropriate virtual machines.
- Ensure Whonix-Gateway ™ has two network adapters configured as a virtual machine, while Whonix-Workstation ™ only has one.
- Attach the first Whonix-Gateway ™ network adapter to the outside network vSwitch (this can be WAN, LAN, DMZ etc.)
- Attach the second Whonix-Gateway ™ network adapter to an isolated vSwitch. Preferably create a new vSwitch which will only be used by Whonix-Gateway ™ and Whonix-Workstation ™. Note: Do not attach physical NICs to this vSwitch! Ensure a new vSwitch is created and not simply a new portgroup. Promiscuous mode within a vSwitch might jeopardize anonymity.
- Attach the Whonix-Workstation ™ network adapter to the isolated vSwitch from the previous step.
- Boot the machines and check online connectivity has been established.
If you prefer building from source or the previous instructions did not work, the following method was successfully tested with Whonix ™
220.127.116.11.9 and ESX(i)
Using VMWare Workstation as an Intermediary
If VMware Workstation is available, the following method works without manual extraction and repacking:
- Import both VMs to VMware Workstation.
- Check all settings are properly applied as per the guide above.
- Either export the VMs to
.ovfand import them on the ESX(i) server, or if the server is connected to the Workstation instance, migrate via VMware Workstation. This generally works out of the box, although the networking should be reviewed and isolated as per the guide above.
The following measures are recommended for improved security:
- remove printer
- disable 3D acceleration
- remove CD/DVD drive
- remove Floppy drive
- remove USB controller (or at least disable the automatic connection of new devices)
- remove sound card
- do not install VMware Tools or
open-vm-tools-- trading security for convenience is unrecommended because VMware Tools leak information to the host operating system or hypervisor.
Some users might wish to access the Whonix-Workstation ™ via SSH and therefore consider adding a second network adapter with Host-Only Networking [archive]. Be cautious of this configuration because it can cause information leakage:
If you install the proper routing or proxy software on your host computer, you can establish a connection between the host virtual Ethernet adapter and a physical network adapter on the host computer. This allows you, for example, to connect the virtual machine to a Token Ring or other non-Ethernet network. On a Windows 2000, Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 host computer, you can use host-only networking in combination with the Internet connection sharing feature in Windows to allow a virtual machine to use the host's dial-up networking adapter or other connection to the Internet. See your Windows documentation for details on configuring Internet connection sharing.
VMware Upstream Bug Reports
- VMware bug report: failed to import .ova image [archive]
- VMware bug report: .ova image internal network becomes bridged network [archive]
- VirtualBox bug report Ticket #11160: .ova image created with VirtualBox, failed to import in VMware [archive]