How to Install Windows 11 on VMware Workstation with Fixes

Can't figure out how to install Windows 11 on VMWare Workstation? Here's how to configure the VM to be ready for Windows 11 installation.

How to install Windows 11 on VMWare Workstation

If you are familiar with VMware Workstation Pro, you might be surprised how hard it is to install Windows 11. When you install it, you will get an error message saying that your PC isn’t meet the hardware requirements. That’s because there is no Windows 11 template available on VMware Workstation Pro software yet, at least for the time being for the latest version 16. To fix this issue, the virtual machine needs extra configurations as we will detail in this article.

To ensure your virtual machine has all the configurations for Windows 11 requirements, it needs to have at least 2 CPU cores, 4,096 MB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. Moreover, you will need to enable UEFI, Secure Boot, Encryption, and the TPM module. For more detailed directions, check the following step-by-step guides.

Table of contents

  1. Prerequisites
  2. Creating a New Virtual Machine
  3. Configuring Virtual Machine for Windows 11 Installation
    1. Enable Virtual Machine Access Control Encryption
    2. Add Trusted Platform Module (TPM)
  4. Installing Windows 11 on VMWare Workstation Pro 16
  5. Installing VMWare Tools

1. Prerequisites

To make sure the installation goes smoothly, you should have everything listed here ready on your computer.

  • VMWare Workstation 15 or 16 – It might also work on older versions. I didn’t try that.
  • Windows 11 ISO – You can download it from the Microsoft website.

Windows 11 Specifications

Virtual Machine Hardware Requirements:

  • 2-cores or 2-processors
  • 4GB (4096 MB) of RAM
  • 64GB of Storage – 32GB will work, but it might have issues in the future.
  • UEFI enabled.
  • Secure Boot enabled.
  • VM Encryption enabled.
  • Trusted Platform Module (TPM) enabled.

2. Creating a New Virtual Machine

To install Windows 11 on VMWare Workstation Pro, follow these steps:

  1. Open VMWare Workstation.
  2. Click on File > New Virtual Machine (Ctrl + N).
    VMWare - File New Virtual Machine
  3. Select Custom (advanced), and click Next.
    VMWare - Select Custom (advanced)
  4. Keep the default hardware compatibility option, and click Next.
    VMWare - Default hardware compactivity
  5. Select the Installer disk image file (.iso), and click Browse.
    VMWare - Select Browse ISO File
  6. Locate and select the Windows 11 iso file, and click Open.
    VMWare - Select Windows 11 iso file.
  7. Confirm the location of the iso file, and click Next.
    VMWare - Verify installation media.
  8. Select Microsoft Windows from the guest operating system, “Windows 10 and later x64″ from the version, and click Next.
    VMWare - Microsoft Windows - Windows 10 or later x64
  9. Name your Windows 11 virtual machine, click Browse to select a folder where you want to store your new VM, and click Next.
    VMWare - Name your Virtual Machine for Windows 11
  10. Select UEFI, check Secure Boot as the firmware type, and click Next.
    VMWare - Select UEFI - Secure Boot for firmware type
  11. Leave the default configurations for processor configurations. Make sure you have at least two total processor cores. Click Next.
    VMWare - CPU Configuration with two cores.
  12. Set memory for the virtual machine to at least 4096 MB (4GB), and click Next.
    VMWare - 4GB Memory
  13. Select Use bridge networking to allow your new Windows 11 VM access to an external network with its IP address. Or select Use network address translation (NAT) to authorize your new VM to access an external network via your host’s IP address. Click Next.
    VMWare - Bridge Networking
  14. Keep the default LSI Logic SAS as the I/O controller type, and click Next.
    VMWare - LSI Logic SAS Controller Type
  15. Keep the default NVMe as a disk type, and click Next.
    VMWare - Select NVMe for Disk Type
  16. Select Create a new virtual disk, and click Next.
    VMWare - New disk file
  17. Specify your preferred maximum disk size. Windows 11 has a minimum requirement for disk space is 64GB. As per my testing, 32GB will be enough for testing purposes. Click Next.
    VMWare - 32GB as maximum disk size
  18. Leave the default name and location of the disk file. By default, it will install inside the VM directory. Click Next.
    VMWare - Default Windows 11 disk file name and location
  19. Verify the virtual machine settings, and click Finish.
    VMWare - Summary and Finish

Once you complete the steps, VMWare will create a new virtual machine with all the configurations you selected from the wizard. However, it is not ready for Windows 11. If you try to install it now, you will see the “This PC can’t run Windows 11” message. To meet the hardware requirements for Windows 11, you will need to configure the virtual machine with extra configurations.

3. Configuring Virtual Machine for Windows 11 Installation

To prepare the virtual machine to be fully compatible with Windows 11 hardware requirements and free from error, you will need to enable access control encryption and add TPM hardware to the VM settings. Use these steps:

  1. Click on the Windows 11 virtual machine.
  2. Click on Edit virtual machine settings.
    VMWare - Edit virtual machine settings

3.1. Enable Virtual Machine Access Control Encryption

  1. Click the Options tab, select Access Control from the settings list, and click on Encrypt.
    VMWare - Options - Access Control - Encrypt
  2. Enter the same password in the Password and Confirm text box. You will need to enter this password to access the virtual machine when you open the VMWare Workstation next time. Click Encrypt.
    VMWare - Enter Encrypted Password
  3. The virtual machine is encrypted. Click OK to close the settings.
    VMWare - VM is encrypted

3.2. Add Trusted Platform Module (TPM)

  1. Under the Hardware tab, click Add.
  2. Select Trusted Platform Module from the hardware types list, and click Finish.
  3. Click OK to close the settings.
    VMWare - Add TPM Hardware

That’s it. Now your virtual machine is ready for Windows 11 installation.

4. Installing Windows 11 on VMWare Workstation Pro 16

Follow the steps below to install Windows 11 on a configured virtual machine on VMWare Workstation:

  1. Click on the Windows 11 virtual machine.
  2. Click on Power on this virtual machine.
    VMWare: Power on the Windows 11 VM
  3. Click anywhere inside the Windows 11 virtual machine console to change the keyboard and mouse input to the virtual machine.
  4. Remember to press Enter or any key when you see the “Press any key to boot from CD or DVD.” message to boot into Windows 11 installation wizard. If you didn’t press any key while the message appeared, you need to reset the VM and try again.
    VMWare: Press any key to enter setup
  5.  When the Windows Setup dialog appears, choose your preferred language, time and current format, and keyboard or input method. Click Next.
    Win 11 Setup: Select Language, Time, Currency, and Keyboard Layout
  6. Click Install now.
    Win 11 Setup: Install Now
  7. Click I don’t have a product key link button to continue the setup.
    Win 11 Setup: Enter Product Key
  8. Select your desired Windows 11 edition. Click Next.
    Win 11 Setup: Select Windows 11 Edition
  9. Select Custom: Install Windows only (advanced), and click Next.
    Win 11 Setup: Custom installation
  10. Select the available disk, and click Next.
    Windows 11 Setup: select disk
  11. Wait until the installation process finishes.
    Win 11 Setup: Starting installation
  12. Your PC will restart when it finishes installing.
    Win 11 Setup: Restarting
  13. Select your country or region, and click Yes.
    Win 11 Setup: Select Country
  14. Select the correct keyboard layout for your connected keyboard, and click Yes.
    Win 11 Setup: Select Keyboard Layout
  15. Click Skip if you don’t need a second keyboard layout.
    Win 11 Setup: Add a second keyboard
  16. Enter a name for your Windows 11 PC and click Next.
    Win 11 Setup: Enter a PC Name
  17. Select Set up for personal use, and click Next.
    Win 11 Setup: Setup as new device
  18. Enter your personal Microsoft account email address, and click Next.
    Win 11 Setup: Enter Microsoft Account Password
  19. Enter your account password, and click the Sign in button.
    Win 11 Setup: Enter Microsoft Account Password
  20. Click view more options to more options, and click Next.
    Win 11 Setup: View more restore options
  21.  Select the Set up as new device option, and click Next.
    Win 11 Setup: Setup as new device
  22. Click the Create PIN button.
    Win 11 Setup: Create PIN
  23. Enter your desired PIN in both boxes, and click OK.
    Win 11 Setup: Enter PIN
  24. Choose your privacy settings, and click Next.
    Win 11 Setup: Privacy Settings
  25. Choose your preferred experience or click the Skip link button to continue.
    Win 11 Setup: Customize Experience
  26. Click Next to agree to have your files backup with OneDrive associated with your Microsoft account.
    Win 11 Setup: Backup with OneDrive
  27. Confirm your offer for a free Office 365 trial.
    Win 11 Setup: Office 365 Offering
  28. It takes a few minutes to finish the last installation process.
    Win 11 Setup: Finishing Installation
  29. When it finalizes the installation, you will see the Windows 11 desktop.
    Win 11 Setup: Desktop

5. Installing VMWare Tools

To improve performance and interactive experience for your Windows 11 virtual machine on VMware Workstation, you need to install the VMware Tools. It contains a set of services and modules and is locally available when you’ve installed the software. Follow the steps to install VMware Tools on your virtual machine:

  1. Click on the Windows 11 virtual machine.
  2. Click on the VM menu, and click Install VMware Tools. It will mount the VMware Tools ISO file to the media drive on your virtual machine.
    VMware: install VMware Tools
  3. On your Windows 11 virtual machine, open File Explorer. Go to VMware Tools media drive, and double-click the setup64.exe executable file.
    VMware: Open setup64.exe from VMware Tools media drive
  4. Click Yes to continue the setup.
    VMware: Confirm VMware Tools installation
  5. Click Next.
    VMware: VMware Tools setup message
  6. Select the Typical option and click Next.
    VMware: VMware Tools setup as typical
  7. Click Install.
    VMware: Install VMware Tools
  8. When it finishes setup, click Finish.
    VMware: Setup Finished
  9. Click Yes to restart your VM.
    VMware: Restart VM to applied VMware Tools
  10. You can verify the setup by confirming the VMware Tools icon in the system tray.
    VMware: VMware Tools icon in system tray

Hopefully, this guide helped you to install Windows 11 on VMware Workstation. If you have any questions or problems with the steps detailed in this tutorial, please let me know in the comment below.