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Unable to install VMWare Workstation on Windows 8.1

November 17, 2014

I got a new laptop at at work recently, an HP Z Book 15, which is a good machine. Very slick, and used the included SSD for the OS and got a caddy to replace the optical drive with another old-school spindle and platter hard drive for data, ergo VM’s. In my rush to get it sorted and be back in play for work stuff, I installed the same old VMWare Workstation 7 and upgrade to 8 application and license as I had on my old laptop. This didn’t want to play ball, so I had the bright idea of enabling the built-in Hyper-V which has worked OK but is overkill for simple labbing of ideas. VMW WS is nice and slick for quick and easy stuff on a laptop, it’s easy to template the various OS builds for cloning and sharing host folders into VM’s is a simple and painless procedure. Networking is also easier, I’ve found Hyper-V wants to use my wireless adapter for it’s networks and this has caused issues with wireless generally, instability and an unwillingness to connect just when I really need it. So I ended up with, you guessed it, lots of virtual network adapters spread around the place that seemed to be causing further issues. I decided to uninstall VMWare workstation, only to be faced with an error on the uninstall. The installer obviously performs a check on the host to see if Hyper-V is enabled (logically), and errors out very early on if it is. The thing is, I was trying to uninstall it but it just wouldn’t get that far. After some digging, there’s a way to ‘temporarily’ disable the Hyper-V hypervisor with a bcdedit tweak.

All this info is from but the long and the short of it is that the information in the second post did indeed work like a charm. I tweaked, rebooted, and was able to uninstall VMWare WS without issue, and all the network adapters it creates for itself have gone. I revisited the command prompt and reversed the second command to set the hypervisor to ‘Auto’ (bcdedit /set {guid_hvoff} hypervisorlaunchtype auto) and rebooted again. I might change the boot file back to remove the choice on boot of HV or no HV, or I might leave it, perhaps it’ll come in useful at some point in the future. I didn’t see the same issues as the original poster in that thread, following this second reboot, I was able to open Hyper-V manager and start one of my VM’s, indicating that the hypervisor was happy and hadn’t been uninstalled. I point out I’m using Windows 8.1 and he was using Windows Server 2008 R2, so this is obviously the difference.

A strange place to find myself in. I’ll continue to use Hyper-V for now as it works and I can use my VM’s created in there for labbing and testing, but I have to say that I’m chasing a WS10 license to get that back on so I’ll uninstall the Hyper-v feature/role, install WS10 and convert the VM’s from Hyper-V format to WS format.

It’s entirely my fault for rushing things and getting in a self-made muddle, with 2 hypervisors present, but that’s how it is at work sometimes.


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