elementaryOS is one of the cleanest Linux desktops available. Learn how to install it on VMware.

Install elementaryOS Linux on VMWare Workstation 15

Install elementaryOS Linux on VMWare Workstation 15

Installing Elementary OS on VMware

We previously showed how to install Manjaro OS on VMware. It’s a rather simple installation and it allows you to get a fully working OS within VMware. For elementaryOS the process is very similar. In this guide we will guide step by step on how to install elementaryOS 5.1 on VMware Workstation 15.

Is elementaryOS good and stable?

elementaryOS has been getting very popular over the last few years, mostly from the clean look and the simplicity they offer. At the time of this post elementaryOS is listed as #6 on the most popular distros in https://distrowatch.com/.

Since it’s based on Debian Ubuntu, elementary OS will be very compatible with most of the packages you are used to on Ubuntu.

Download elementaryOS 5.1 Hera

Start by going to the elementaryOS https://elementary.io/ and download the iso. elementaryOS shows a donation button before you download. You are not forced to pay for it but we recommend donating to the project, and any other project you regularly use as it helps with development.

After downloading the disk image, you will get a file like


Create VM in VMware Workstation

Create a new virtual machine by going to File > New Virtual Machine. Select typical installation and press Next. In the next screen, select the ISO downloaded as the image for the disc drive to use.

At the end of the wizard, you can customize your VM further. We recommend removing the printer and increasing the memory and CPU. In our test machine we use an 8-core Ryzen CPU with 32GB RAM. For the VM we decide to use 4-cores, 8GBs and a hardrive of 12GB.


Once the OS booted you will be presented with a screen that will let you Try or Install, select Install and follow the process. Once prompted to choose what to do with the hard drive, since this is a VM and it’s sandboxed selecting Erase all will just prepare the virtualized disk and won’t damage your Host OS (Windows in this case)

Follow the install process as it copies all the files and when it completes, restart the virtual machine and disconnect the virtual optical drive that has the image loaded.

Installing VMwareTools on elementaryOS 5.1

After the installation completes and the VM restarts, you will be shown a login screen that doesn’t use the full screen available. To fix this issue, we need to install VMwareTools.

In the VM menu from VMware Workstation select Install VMware Tools. This will mount an optical drive in the VM that contains the files. From a file manager application, copy the file WMwareTools.xxxxxxxxx.tar.gz to your Downloads folder and extract the files.

Once the files are in your Downloads folder, navigate to the extracted folder and open Terminal. In the terminal, type the following:

sudo ./vmware-install.pl -d

This will install all VMware specific drivers for Linux and during the process you should see the screen resizing to use all available space. A benefit from having the drivers working is that VMware will resize the monitor in Linux as you resize to window to match the size.

If you didn’t encounter any issues during this process you should see a full desktop experience by now. elementaryOS is a beautiful OS and a statement that the Linux desktop can be made simple and beautiful.

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