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VMware Workstation 9, VMware Fusion 5, VMware Player 5 released

23 August 2012, Nick Peers

Leading virtualisation developer VMware has announced three major new releases across its range of consumer products. VMware Workstation 9.0, VMware Fusion 5.0 for Mac and free cut-down VMware Player 5.0 (Windows only) have all been launched, boasting a number of major new features, improvements and the all-important raft of bug fixes.

Changes include support for the latest versions of Windows and OS X where applicable, plus redesigned user interfaces, virtual hardware improvements and a large number of minor tweaks, improvements and new features.

VMware Workstation 9.0 has been designed to run on Windows 8 as well as utilise Windows 8 virtual machines, with support for multi-touch and USB 3.0. It also includes a number of notable graphics improvements, including the ability to render 3D in Windows 8 without hardware acceleration and behind-the-scenes changes designed to improve performance and allow for more advanced features at a later date.

Workstation 9 also introduces OpenGL for Linux Guests, restricted virtual machine support and WSX, a new web interface for accessing shared virtual machines via a tablet or smartphone web browser using HTML5. For a complete list of the changes in VMware Workstation 9, click here.

VMware Player 5.0 adds Windows 8 support and a revamped user interface to its roster.

VMware Player 5.0 is VMware’s free-for-personal-use product, and allows users to create virtual machines for a number of purposes, including testing and sandboxing. Version 5.0 promises improvements to the user interface, which now conforms to Windows standards, plus enjoys all the virtual hardware improvements found in VMware Workstation 9.

Mac users should choose VMware Fusion 5.0, which benefits from a simplified installation routine – just double-click VMware to install or upgrade VMware Fusion. It’s also been designed for Mountain Lion users, enabling them to run Windows applications with a more Mac-like experience.

The user interface has also been refined with a new virtual machine library, the ability to organize virtual machines into folders and tweaks to snapshot management among others.

VMware Fusion also comes with Windows 8 optimisations, adds support for the latest Mac technologies including retina display and takes advantage of hardware improvements such as faster memory and SSD drives.

Virtual hardware changes include support for 3D Linux desktops, OS X Mountain Lion, Windows 8, better support for running multiple VMs on Macs with 16GB or more RAM and support for running restricted virtual machines. Full release notes can be found here.

VMware Workstation 9.0 is available as a free trial download for PCs running Linux or Windows (XP or later). VMware Player 5.0 is a free-for-personal-use download for Windows PCs only, while VMware Fusion 5.0 is a free trial download for Mac users running OS X 10.6.7 or later.

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