I have VMWare Workstation 7.1, and it has some support for multiple monitors. For example, it can take a single VM and have it show itself on multiple screens (use monitor 1 and 2 both for a single VM). I can not figure out though, how to have VM1 on screen 1 and VM2 on screen 2.

It seems VMWare insists on an "MDI" layout (all VMs are shown inside a single window). It's very frustrating when I need to work with two different VMs. I have three monitors. The only solution I have so far is to enable remote desktop and remote desktop into each VM separately.

vmWare vSphere can open consoles which float and are separate top level windows on my desktop too, but VMWare workstation can't.

I'm thinking that this couldn't possibly be how they designed it on purpose. I'm hoping I've missed some option to allow VMWare to "undock" and move a VM out of its main window, or something like that.

Update It seems if you have two copies of VMWare workstation open, and no VMs running, you can start VM1 inside the first, and VM2 inside the second one, and this works. But you can't easily arrange running VMs on your desktop as you might like, which is really quite annoying. I wish someone at VMWare had heard of "docking+floating" window management like they have in most IDEs.

1 Answer 1


Can you run separate instances of VMWare Workstation per this question? How to make VMWare Workstation use multiple windows for VMs instead of tabbed display?

  • I hadn't tried to start a second instance of VMWare Workstation.
    – Warren P
    May 12, 2011 at 4:09
  • It seems that this is possible. However, it's really sub-optimal. If you already have a VMWare VM open within one VMWare Workstation main window, you can't easily move it to the other one unless you shut it down first.
    – Warren P
    May 12, 2011 at 12:46
  • It actually fails pretty often like this: It says "In use, do you want to take ownership", you click yes, it says "Taking ownership of this virtual machine failed."
    – Warren P
    May 12, 2011 at 12:52
  • I've gotten this to work only by running multiple instances of VMWare. I have four monitors and I can say VM1 spans monitors 1&2, VM2 is on monitor 3, and VM3 is on monitor 4. I could also say vm5 runs on monitors 1,2,3 and 4 in which case none of the other VMs would be visible when vm5 were running. I'm not sure how a single instance of VMWare could ever support this.
    – PatS
    Apr 2, 2019 at 20:59

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