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I’m using VMWare Player to play an old 16-bit Windows game. Unfortunately the game uses only 640x480 and I cannot figure out how to stretch the VM window to full-screen on the host. I set the guest OS to 640x480, but the screen is still small, in the middle of the screen as seen in figure 1.

I even tried setting the compatibility mode to Windows 95 and 640x480, but it has no effect (figure 2) and looks exactly the same as when I set the VM to full-screen (1366x768 on the laptop) and start the game normally.

There are few references to stretching a VM. One page mentions setting a Stretch Guest option, but there is no such option, at least not in VMWare Player 4.0.3.

I know that VirtualBox has a stretching option, but I’m trying to find a solution for VMWare (Player, not Workstation).

Figure 1: Guest OS is pillar-boxed

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Figure 2: Using compatibility mode

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Interesting! Has something changed in this regards with newer VMware Player 6 (and new Vmware Tools)? Also, I can assure that you can stretch 16-bit applications to fullscreen using Stretch guest + VMware Workstation 7.xx and above + VMware Tools. When back at work I will try it with a Player too. – nixda Oct 4 '13 at 8:22
This was with VMPlayer 4; maybe they’ve enhanced it since then. – Synetech Oct 4 '13 at 16:51
Have checked it. Unfortunately they haven't added the "Stretch guest" option in VMware Player 6 – nixda Oct 9 '13 at 7:03
I guess we’ll have just have to use the work-around below until they do. ◔̯◔ – Synetech Oct 9 '13 at 14:25

I figured out a not-ideal-but-effective-nonetheless solution/work-around: use Unity.

  1. (Use a third-party tool to) set the host OS resolution to 640x480 (ignoring the Optimal Resolution warning)
  2. Enter Unity in the guest VM
  3. Launch the game from the Unity Start menu

Note: the order of steps is important.

(Optionally auto-hide the taskbar.)

Yay! The game runs at full-screen on the guest OS instead of a tiny letter- and pillar-boxed screen. Now the only problem is that the 16-bit game uses 100% CPU, but there’s not much that can be done about that.

Fullscreen host capture of guest VM running in Unity mode:

Fullscreen host capture of guest VM running in Unity mode

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