How to Create VMware Shared Folder Between Guest and Host

To quickly share files between the guest and host, you can create a VMware shared folder and mount it automatically. Here’s how to do it.

When it comes to virtualization, especially for regular consumers, VMware is one of the best. One of the main advantages of VMware is its ease of use and virtualization performance. The performance part is particularly true when compared to VirtualBox, at least in my experience.

When you install a virtual operating system in VMware, it is completely isolated from the host operating system. This isolation provides better security but also makes it quite hard to move or copy files between the guest and host or vice-versa. To makes things easier, you can install VMware tools and enable the drag and drop feature for file transfers. However, this might not be sufficient for other workflows. Especially for quick access without transferring. In those cases, you can share the host folder with VMware’s guest operating system by creating a VMware shared folder. After creating the shared folder, you can access the folder as a shared folder or network drive in the guest operating system.

So, without any delay, follow the below steps to create a VMware shared folder between host and guest in Windows 10.

Note: The steps shown below can also be followed in Windows 8 (and 7).

Steps to Create VMware Shared Folder

VMware makes it quite easy to add a shared folder. Before proceeding, make sure that you have already installed VMware Tools in the guest operating system. Without the VMware Tools installed, the guest operating system cannot detect the shared folder due to driver issues.

Note: I’m showing this in VMware workstation. However, even if you are using VMware Player, the steps are very similar.

1. Open the VMware application by searching for it in the start menu or by double-clicking on the desktop icon.

2. After opening VMware, make sure the target guest operating system is completely turned off. i.e, it should not be in the running or paused state. Otherwise, you cannot add a shared folder.

3. After confirming the VM is turned off, select it on the left pane and click on the “Edit virtual machine settings” option.

Vmware-shared-folder-edit-vm-settings

If you are using VMware Player, you will see the same option in the bottom right corner.

4. In the Virtual Machine Settings window, go to the “Options” tab. Here, select “Shared Folders” option on the left panel. Next, select the “Always Enabled” radio option on the right panel and click on the “Add” button.

Vmware-shared-folder-select-enabled

5. Click the “Next” button in the wizard. Now, click on the “Browse” button and select the folder you want to share with the guest operating system. Enter a name in the “Name” field. Click “Next” to continue.

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Vmware-shared-folder-add-folder

6. Here, select “Enable this share” option and click on the “Finish” button.

(Optional) If you want to the shared folder to the read-only then select the “Read-only” option. When you select this option, you can access files in the shared folder but you cannot write or modify the files from the guest operating system. Enabling read-only is good in terms of security.

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7. You can see the added shared folder under the “Folders” section. By clicking on the “Add” button, you can add as many shared folders as you want. Click on the “Ok” button to save changes.

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Wrapping Up

That is it. From now, launch the VM, open the File Explorer and select “Network” on the left panel. On the right panel, you will see the “vmware-host” option. Click on it to access the shared folder.

Vmware-shared-folder-in-action

If you cannot see it, make sure you are connected to the network and the network discovery is turned on. If that doesn’t fix, shut down and start the VM again (not restart).

That is it. If you are stuck or need some help, comment below and I will try to help as much as possible.

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