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.

21 thoughts on “Install Windows Server 2012 on VMWare Workstation 8

  1. 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!


  2. 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.


  3. 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?


    1. 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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