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How to configure Shared Folders with VMware Player 2.x

VMware offers a feature called Shared Folders that works without using network protocols. The guest can access certain folders in the host without requiring the host to enable these shares. It is all done via the virtual machine in which the guest system runs, and because there is no networking involved it is more conveniently set up than CIFS or SMBFS. See the notes about networking.

The VMware Workstation offers in its menu directly to add, remove and configure shared folders while older Player software can't use shared folders at all. The newer Player generation starting with 2.0 can access shared folders in the host system, but they have to be preconfigured in the VMware appliance, because the Player doesn't offer to create or configure shared folders like the Workstation. For security reasons the Player may disable Shared Folders on the first start of an image. They have to be enabled through the menu.

If the VMware appliance has no shared folders configured at all and the matching menu items in the Player are grayed out after the start of the image, the .vmx file (e.g. Debian5.vmx), which holds the configuration info, has to be edited manually, after shutting the player down first. Some lines have to be appended at the end of this file. Here is is an example:

isolation.tools.hgfs.disable = "FALSE"

sharedFolder.maxNum = "2"

sharedFolder0.present = "TRUE"
sharedFolder0.enabled = "TRUE"
sharedFolder0.readAccess = "TRUE"
sharedFolder0.writeAccess = "TRUE"
sharedFolder0.hostPath = "C:\Data"
sharedFolder0.guestName = "DataOnC"
sharedFolder0.expiration = "never"

sharedFolder1.present = "TRUE"
sharedFolder1.enabled = "TRUE"
sharedFolder1.readAccess = "TRUE"
sharedFolder1.writeAccess = "TRUE"
sharedFolder1.hostPath = "D:\Data"
sharedFolder1.guestName = "DataOnD"
sharedFolder1.expiration = "never"

These lines above are an example for two shared folders. They have to be adapted to the number of shared folders you want, their path names and the names under which they can be accessed from the guest system. The first line that starts with

isolation.tools.hgfs.disable =

may already be somewhere in the .vmx file. If that is the case remove this other line. There has to be only one line that controls whether shared folders are disabled or not.

The next line

sharedFolder.maxNum = "2"

has to be adjusted for the number of shared folders that the guest shall be able to access. Finally a block of lines declare and configure each shared folder. Copy and paste these blocks and edit:


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