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July 24, 2007

VMware installation problems

Filed under: — Alex Salamakha @ 7:23 AM

I’ve been setting up my machine for a new project and part of this set up was VMware Workstation installation (VMware-workstation-4.5.2-8848.exe). After the installation I realised that I had VMware Player installed previously and it looked like an unnecessary waste of space on my nearly full drive C: (don’t ask me why our corporate standard don’t provide enough space on drive C:) There is goes – uninstall. It appears that some crucial parts of VMware Workstation set up were removed during the uninstallation of VMware Player and as a result VMware Workstation stopped working.

Sounds trivial? However, VMware installation programs are not fun.

Repair installation failed because it failed to find parts of installation which it was about to delete (!!!!!!!). Uninstall didn’t work for the very same reason and new install didn’t work because existing version was still there. Catch-22. Deadlock!

After a numerous attempts to fix it without re-imaging my hard drive, I found THE SOLUTION – Microsoft Install Cleanup utility. It removed all the broken registry entries and let me run a brand new install of VMware workstation that worked like a charm. God bless Microsoft! 🙂


  1. I know it’s annoying but RTFM. You can’t have two flavours of VMWare on one system and the installation program forces you to uninstall the existing one first and reboot. You can, of course, ignore it, but you should be prepared to face the consequences…

    And yeah, God bless Microsoft for creating a tool to clean up the mess that they themselves have invented. Registry is just a bunch of config files. Or is it? But they managed to make it so fragile that one doesn’t dare touch it.

    Comment by Fred[dy] — July 24, 2007 @ 9:08 AM

  2. Well, it somehow managed to install both of them in the first place. So I see four problems:
    1) The Workstation installation shouldn’t proceed if it sees Player installed (if it thinks it’s harmful)
    2) If it manages to install both products, uninstallation of the Player shouldn’t remove common bits if Workstation is still there. Lots of apps are in the same boat – they use the same shared libraries and their uninstall checks for presence of other products. Think of MFC DLLs as a very rough example, but we’re talking about two products from the same vendor which makes it even easier.
    3) If parts of the program went missing for whatever reason, the uninstall shouldn’t fail. Seriously, it’s removing these bits anyway, why fail half way through?
    4) Repair of the installation option is meant to repair missing bits, not just fail miserably with “Oops! Can’t repair your install because it’s broken!”

    I know, I know, Registry isn’t perfect, it’s a crappy idea after all, but lots of applications are being installed on Windows and not every application’s forums have tons of posts from frustrated customers who were caught in limbo. It all comes down to VMware guys forgot to put some additional logic to handle special cases. Programs need to be more robust and it’s not that hard to create a reasonable installation product, really. Writing virtualisation software is a lot harder. 🙂

    Comment by Alex Salamakha — July 24, 2007 @ 2:04 PM

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