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VMware Unlocks New Horizons: Workstation and Fusion Now Free for Home Users

  • June 4, 2024
  • 12 min read
IT and Virtualization Consultant. Vladan is the founder, and executive editor of the ESX Virtualization Blog at He is a VMware VCAP-DCA and VCAP-DCD, and has been a vExpert from 2009 to 2023.
IT and Virtualization Consultant. Vladan is the founder, and executive editor of the ESX Virtualization Blog at He is a VMware VCAP-DCA and VCAP-DCD, and has been a vExpert from 2009 to 2023.

In a groundbreaking move that’s set to revolutionize the way we interact with technology, VMware has announced that its flagship desktop virtualization products, VMware Workstation Pro and VMware Fusion Pro are now available free of charge for personal use.

I’ve been using VMware Workstation Pro in my lab for more of a decade and never really looked for an alternative. The fact that the product supports many different kind of Linux distros, all windows OS, Netware is just perfect for home use, for home lab.

This strategic shift opens up a world of possibilities for home users and enthusiasts, allowing them to leverage the full power of their computers to run multiple operating systems, create virtual labs, and explore the vast landscape of software development and testing without any financial barriers.

The Power of Virtualization at Your Fingertips

Virtualization technology is the cornerstone of modern computing, enabling users to run multiple operating systems on a single physical machine. With VMware Workstation and Fusion, you can transform your powerful home computer into a multi-faceted environment capable of handling various operating systems such as Windows, Linux, and macOS. This not only maximizes your hardware investment but also provides a sandbox for experimentation, learning, and development.

Learning and Development Made Easy

For students, developers, and tech enthusiasts, the ability to run virtual machines is invaluable. It provides a safe and controlled environment to learn about different operating systems, network configurations, and software applications.

Whether you’re a budding programmer looking to test your code across various platforms or a network administrator simulating complex infrastructures, VMware’s offerings facilitate a hands-on learning experience that’s both comprehensive and accessible.

Multi-OS Platforms on a Single Machine

Imagine running Windows for your productivity apps, Linux for your development tools, and macOS for your creative endeavors, all on one machine. VMware’s virtualization software makes this a reality if you have recent PC with lots of RAM and SSD drives.

You can switch between operating systems as easily as you switch between apps, giving you the flexibility to use the best tools for the task at hand without the need for multiple devices.

The number of different Windows supported is quite high. The older OS from Microsoft are often used for applications that were not written for newer OS.

Like this, you can simply install let’s say a fresh copy of old Windows NT and run an old DB app that could not be rewritten for newer OS. This is just one example, but there are thousands of others.

New Virtual Machine Wizard

Create your own networks

You can create your own networks isolated from your home network. Imagine you want to test some feature or software on isolated network. It might be a good idea to be on an isolated network if you want to test some software that is potentially unsafe or unstable.

You can use the built-in Virtual network editor which allows you to create those networks, and you don’t need any external switches or any other PCs or nodes.

You’ll find it in the Edit > Virtual Network Editor Menu.

Edit > Virtual Network Editor Menu.

A Community-Focused Approach

VMware’s decision to make Workstation and Fusion free for personal use reflects a commitment to the community. By removing the cost barrier, VMware is fostering an environment where innovation and education can thrive. Home users now have the same powerful tools used by professionals at their disposal, democratizing access to technology that was once reserved for commercial entities.

Now, you don’t necessarily need or want to learn VMware technology. You can perfectly install your collection of Linux server VMs or other OS that can run smoothly on this software. You could be a studying towards Microsoft certification exam and you need Windows server OS with Active Directory. VMware Workstation Pro is the best tool you can have.

What is my best feature?

Snapshots is one of the best features of VMware Workstation. Nothing is the best when you need to test a new OS patch or new software. Before doing so, make sure to create a clean snapshot by going to menu VM > Snapshot > Create New.

VM > Snapshot > Create New.

Once you have your clean snapshot, you can install your testing software, do a damage to your system file to see what happens or different other crazy things.

Once your machine is destroyed, damaged or infected with a virus, simply select your clean snapshot and click Go To button. You’ll be taken back in time to when your OS was perfectly clean.

Select your clean snapshot and click Go To button

Some of the features of VMware Workstation

VMware Workstation Pro is a powerful desktop hypervisor that allows you to run multiple x86-based operating systems on a single PC. Here are some of the features:

Virtual Machines – Workstation Pro relies on the same hypervisor technology that powers vSphere, enabling you to run virtual machines (VMs) and guest operating systems efficiently.

High-Performance 3D Graphics – Workstation Pro supports DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4.3, providing a fluid and responsive experience for running 3D applications within VMs.

Containers and Kubernetes Clusters – Developers on Windows can use the vctl CLI tool to build and run containers and Kubernetes clusters with VM-level isolation and networking.

Powerful Virtual Networking – Create and configure complex IPv4 and IPv6 virtual networks for VMs, including network latency and bandwidth simulations to recreate real-world scenarios.

Baked-In vSphere and ESXi Support – Run ESXi and vCenter as VMs on your desktop, and connect to a remote vSphere environment for quick VM access and basic management tasks. (Note you can also run other virtualization platform alternatives.)

Example from my lab where I’m testing XCP-NG virtualization platform.

Testing XCP-NG virtualization platform.

Secure and Isolated Desktops – Workstation Pro allows you to run a secure second desktop with different privacy settings, tools, and networking configurations.

The Future of Home Computing

With this strategic move, VMware is not just offering a free product; they’re investing in the future of home computing. By empowering individuals to explore and learn, they’re cultivating a generation of tech-savvy users who will push the boundaries of what’s possible. As we look to a future where technology is increasingly integrated into every aspect of our lives, VMware’s contribution is both timely and significant.


VMware’s announcement is more than just good news. It’s a catalyst for change. By making Workstation and Fusion free for home users, VMware is enabling a new era of exploration, learning, and creativity.

Whether you’re a student, developer, or simply a technology enthusiast, the opportunities are now limitless. Dive into the world of virtualization and unleash the full potential of your home computer with VMware.

Found Vladan’s article helpful? Looking for a reliable, high-performance, and cost-effective shared storage solution for your production cluster?
Dmytro Malynka
Dmytro Malynka StarWind Virtual SAN Product Manager
We’ve got you covered! StarWind Virtual SAN (VSAN) is specifically designed to provide highly-available shared storage for Hyper-V, vSphere, and KVM clusters. With StarWind VSAN, simplicity is key: utilize the local disks of your hypervisor hosts and create shared HA storage for your VMs. Interested in learning more? Book a short StarWind VSAN demo now and see it in action!