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Install Windows Server 2012 on VMWare Workstation 8

truck accidentSometimes we try an do things that just shouldn’t work.  Maybe they aren’t supported or there technology isn’t designed for that type of activity.  Whatever the reason, we tend to do this every so often, adding even more gusto to the task when people tell us that it can’t be done.  Low and behold, I had one of these tasks last week.  I needed to spin up a virtual machine running Windows Server 2012 on VMWare Workstation 8.

For those that don’t know, the current release of VMWare Workstation is version 9.  This version fully supports Windows Server 2012, but version 8 does not.  And this was the crux of my problem.  I had version 8, but not 9 and I couldn’t just upgrade, as was suggested by others.  But the question is, who do I go about getting VMWare 8 to load an OS that it doesn’t recognize or support?

It’s actually pretty easy, when you know what needs to be done, and doesn’t veer too far off what is done with other operating systems on VMWare.  The five steps are:

  1. Configure the virtual machine in VMWare Workstation 8 with the Windows Server 2008 R2 template, but do not load the operating system.
  2. Power on the virtual machine and manually load Windows Server 2012.
  3. When the install completes, power down the virtual machine and modify the 3D graphics settings to enable Accelerate 3D graphics (
  4. Power on the virtual machine and install VMWare tools.
  5. Eat dry white toast and kick butt.

That’s it.  Run through these and you’ll have your virtual machines running on VMWare 8 and be full from a nifty snack.

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  • more clarity needed!1

  • you can just intall it by selecting windows7 option..that worked well for me..

    • StrateSQL

      I tried the Windows 7 option a few times and that never ended up working for me. When I talked to my VMWare friends, their response was that it wasn’t supported since VMWare 9 came out before Windows 2012 and that to go that route, I should upgrade.

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  • aspacelot

    Thanks so much! Question though: I only have wheat bread. Is it ok if I eat dry wheat toast instead or will this break my VM?

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  • Alban

    Had the same problem, fixed it that way and many thnx for the info

  • kbart2000

    Thanks a lot …. I was stuck as well …

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  • Mike LeVasseur

    Worked great for me. Thanks

    • StrateSQL

      Good to hear.

  • Emanuel


    • StrateSQL

      Your welcome, glad that my pain in getting this to work has helped others.

  • RoyCar69

    sshhii.. rather eat four fried chickens and a coke..

  • os

    Thanks worked like a charm

  • Piers

    Spot on, thanks. I’d already installed the tools and got a black screen which didn’t improve after a reboot so thought I was going to have to reinstall.

    • StrateSQL

      Glad to hear that this worked out for you.

  • Kash

    Thanks for the tip it worked !

  • TheChadrick Knott

    Thank you sir! Worked like a champ.

  • Mark

    Can I add one more point… you can use a similar process to upgrade a Windows 2008 R2 to Windows 2012. Just shut down the Win 2008 VM first, check the box to Accelerate 3D Graphics, then attach the Windows 2012 ISO to the CD/DVD in the VM and run Setup from there. Works fine!