How Can I Enable Data Sharing between Host Computer and VMware Virtual Machine?

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It is a very common question that is asked by many VMware users. Since the VMware Workstation is an industry standard virtualization application that is used in many production environments, you can easily configure a guest operating system that is installed within a virtual machine of the VMware Workstation to communicate with the host computer, and share the data via the network. When the VMware Workstation is configured this way, the guest operating system sees the host operating system as a different computer, and establishes a communication channel with it using its IP address.

Apart from the above, the VMware Workstation also has a built-in Shared Folders option which, when enabled, allows you to share any folder on the host machine. This way you do not have to go through the lengthy network configuration process, and the VMware Workstation simply starts sharing the folder on the host computer with the guest computer.

While enabling the Shared Folders feature in the VMware Workstation and choosing the target folder on the host computer, the application also allows you to share the target folder as a mapped drive. When this is done, the icon of the shared folder is made available in the ‘Computer’ window that you can access by double-clicking the Computer icon.

By following the instructions given in this tutorial, you will be able to enable the Shared Folders feature in your instance of VMware Workstation application.

Here is what you are required to do:

  • Log on to the computer with the administrator account.
  • Initialize the VMware Workstation application by double-clicking its icon.
  • On the opened interface, from the Sidebar in the left, click to select the virtual machine on which you want to enable the Shared Folders.
  • Once selected, go to the VM menu from the menu bar.
  • From the displayed list, go to Settings.
  • On the opened Virtual Machine Settings box, go to the Options tab.
  • On the displayed interface, from the left pane, click to select the Shared Folders option.
  • From the right pane, under the Folder Sharing section, click to select Always
    radio button.
  • Check the Map as a network drive in Windows guests checkbox.
  • Under the Folders section, click the Add button.
  • On the opened Add Shared Folder Wizard welcome window, click Next to continue.
  • On the Name the Shared Folder window, click the Browse button in the Host path field, and locate the folder from the host computer that you want to share with the selected virtual machine.
  • Once done, click Next.
  • On the Specify Shared Folder Attributes window, if required, check the Read-only checkbox (this step is optional).
  • Finally click Finish to share the target folder with the selected virtual machine.