Installing VMware Workstation Player On Debian

In order to learn about operating systems (OS’s) it is easier to install a system in a virtual environment rather than having to install it on hardware. You can put several OS’s in your virtual machine manager and have your own personal lab for experimentation. VMware Workstation Player is one of the options for your virtual machines, for your lab. Here’s how to install it on Debian 10 Buster, the latest Debian version at the time of writing.

Enable Virtualization

If not activated already, enable hardware virtualization (AMD-v/VT-d/VT-x) in your BIOS/UEFI. You will need hardware that supports this feature, of course. Check the documentation on your machine if you are unsure on how to tackle this.

Download VMware

Next, download Vmware Workstation Player. It is not available in the official package repository of Debian 10. It can easily be downloaded from the official website. At the time of writing, the latest version is 15.5.

At the page, click on “Download Now” under the heading “Try Workstation15.5 Player for Linux”.

Do what you usually do in your browser to save the file. Remember where the file gets saved. Usually this is in a folder named “Downloads”.

Install Libraries And Tools

While VMware is downloading, let’s get the necessary tools in Debian.

Open a terminal and update the APT package repository. Run the command:

sudo apt update

Install the tools. Run the command:

sudo apt install build-essential linux-headers-$(uname -r)

When prompted, confirm that you want to continue. Enter “Y” and hit enter. The tools should install.

Install VMware

Once VMware finishes downloading, let’s install it. I’ll assume the file is in the “Downloads” folder. Change the commands to navigate to your download location.

Go to the “Downloads” folder. Run the command:

cd ~/Downloads/

Verify that the file is there. Run:


You should now see a list of the files in the folder. The filename can now easily be copied as we’ll be needing it.

Add execute permission to the VMware installer. Change “[filename]” with the name of the downloaded file before you run the command. Run:

chmod +x [filename]

Run the installer with super user privileges. Run:

sudo ./[filename]

The graphical installer should start.

Select “I accept the terms in the license agreement” and then click on “Next”.

Select “I accept the terms in the license agreement” again and then click on “Next” again.

Deny the request to look for updates at startup. Select “No” and then click “Next”.

Deny the request to join the Customer Experience Improvement Program. Select “No” and then click on “Next”.

Select “Use VMware Player 15 for free for non-commercial use” and then click “Finish”.

VMware should now install. Once finished, it should show up in your programs list.

Now click on the VMware icon in the programs list.

An authentication window should pop up. Enter the password and click “Authenticate”. It didn’t pop up for me in the Xfce desktop environment. I switched to Gnome and it did.

After updating, VMware is good to go.


If at any point the installation gets stuck, try rebooting and then continue.

If you add virtual machines but they aren’t showing up in the manager right away, try closing the manager and then start the virtual machine by clicking the file directly. Go into the folder where the machines are stored and execute the machine from there. I had to do that for the first one. After that it worked like normal.