Is it possible to create a desktop shortcut for the guest OS in VMware and use it to launch the guest OS directly without opening VMware?

  • I'm using VMware Workstation Player on Windows 11
  • "launch the guest OS directly without opening VMware" :/ Commented Dec 12, 2023 at 9:09
  • 2
    You can start a guest from a command line (so shortcut) . developer.vmware.com/docs/powercli/latest/… .... But I think that will also start VMware. Vmware is need to run a guest machine. It does not run by itself.
    – John
    Commented Dec 12, 2023 at 13:46

2 Answers 2


Two things about your question.

(1) For most applications, a VMware Guest needs VMware to be running for the guest to run a Guest machine

VMware guest requirement

No. Workstation is designed for user-interactive VMs. In 6.x and newer, the ability was added to keep a VM running in the background AFTER it has been started up -- however the GUI must be started to start/run the guest, AND the user must stay logged in (i.e. the VM is running as a user process). If you want to run VMs as services, use VMware Server.

(2) Given the restriction in (1) you can run a VMware Guest from a command line (and so a shortcut).

Start Guest from Command line

Start-VM This cmdlet powers on the virtual machines specified by the VM parameter.

Syntax Default .

Start-VM .

-VM <VirtualMachine[] .

[-RunAsync] .

[-Server <VIServer[]>] .

[CommonParameters] .

Now VMware Player is not the complete VMware experience, so with Player you will need to start Player and the Guest normally.


1- Go to the virtual machine location. (To find the location of a virtual machine, right click on its name on the main page of VMware and select settings, and then in the Options tab, in the Working directory section, you can see the location of the desired virtual machine.)

2- Find the file specified with .vmx format in the location.

3- Right click on the .vmx file and select Send to and then Desktop (create shortcut).

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