[Quick Guide] How to Enable Shared Folder in VMware
You may want to use shared folders to share files between the host and guest machine, but do you know how to enable shared folder in VMware? In this article, I will show you the detailed steps and an easy alternative to copy files between any physical/virtual machines.
Can you enable shared folder in VMware
If you want to share files between a guest virtual machine and the host, using shared folders seems like a convenient good idea.
But how to enable shared folders? For VMware virtual machines, there is such a built-in feature in VMware Tools, makes enable shared folder in VMware Workstation an easy process. However, since VMware ESXi is a type-1 bare-metal hypervisor, you cannot enable shared folder in VMware ESXi.
For VMware ESXi trandfer files to VM, you can use scp protocol or alternative professional file-based backup software. In this article, I will introduce how to enable shared folder in VMware Workstation, and an alternative file backup and restore way to copy files between any physical/virtual machines.
How to enable shared folder in VMware Workstation
1. Launch VMware Workstation, select the target virtual machine and click VM > Settings… on the toolbar.
2. Navigate to Options > Shared Folders tab. There are 3 options in Folder sharing section:
- Disabled: disable the folder sharing feature.
- Always enabled: keeps folder sharing enabled, even when the VM is shut down, suspended, or powered off.
- Enabled until next power off or suspend: enable folder sharing temporarily, until the VM is shut down, suspended, or powered off. Note that if the VM is restarted, shared folders will remain enabled.
3. Click OK to save the change.
✦ How to add shared folder in VMware Workstation
4. In Folders section, click Add… to open the Shared Folder wizard, click Next to continue.
5. Click Browse… to specify a Host path for this shared folder and provide a Name for it. Click Next.
6. Specify the scope of this shared folder:
- Enable this share: enables the shared folder. Deselect this option when you want to disable the shared folder without deleting it from the VM configuration.
- Read-only: makes the shared folder read-only. The VM can view and copy files from the shared folder, but it cannot add, change, or remove files.
Then you can click Finish.
Depending on the different type and version of the guest operating system, the shared folders are displayed differently. For a windows guest machine, you may see the vmware-host machine displayed in Windows Browser > Network.
Why cannot enable shared folder in VMware Workstation
Case: Why I can't enable shared folders in VMWare?
I can't enable shared folders in VMWare 8. Any selections is gray!! I've tried run as Administrator but it is always GRAY.
- Question from superuser.com
I just showed you how to enable shared folders in VMware Workstation. The options are displayed in VM settings. However, sometimes you may see that all these options are grey and you can neither enable folder sharing nor add host folders.
The reason why the folder sharing options are all greyed out is that you are suspending the target guest virtual machine. To fix this problem, you only need to Shut Down the guest and reopen the VM settings window.
An alternative to copy files between any physical/virtual machines
Although enabling shared folders in VMware Workstation is a convenient way to share files between the host and the guest virtual machine, sharing files between guest virtual machines are very different. In addition, the process of enabling folder sharing on VMware ESXi is more complex than on VMware Workstation.
If you want to copy/move files between any physical or virtual machines, maybe file-based backup is what you need exactly. By installing an agent on the guest operating system, you can backup virtual machines as physical machines, backup and restore data between any physical/virtual machines, including V2V, V2P, and P2V VMware.
Here I recommend you a professional backup software AOMEI Centralized Backupper, it allows you to backup and restore multiple physical/virtual machines in intuitive wizard and simple steps.
Next, I will demonstrate how to backup files and restore to another physical/virtual machine. You can click the following button to start a free trial.
How to backup and restore files between any physical or virtual machines
1. Launch AOMEI Centralized Backupper, and navigate to Computers > Uncontrolled Computers. Check your physical/virtual machine (with a static IP) from the Computers list, and click Request Control.
2. Navigate to Tasks > New Task > File Backup.
You can change the task name by moving the cursor over the task name and click on it.
3. There are 3 steps to follow.
Firstly, click + Add Computers to specify a source physical/virtual machine, click OK to confirm.
4. Then you need to specify the source file or folder you want to backup.
5. Specify a Share or NAS device to store the backup. And then you can click Start Backup.
6. The created task will be listed separately in Tasks. Click Advanced > Restore on the right top of the task, and select to Restore to a new location. Specify a folder path on another physical/virtual machine you want to restore the file to. Then you can click Start Restore to copy the files to the destination computer.
You may want to use shared folders to share files on the host to your virtual machine. So, how to enable shared folders in VMware? In this article I introduced how to enable VMware Tool’s folder sharing option on VMware Workstation.
However, folder sharing is only convenient when transfer data between the host and guest machine. If you want to perform V2V migration, I recommend you an easier software AOMEI Centralized Backupper. Except for file backup, it also centralized the features of System Backup, Disk Backup, Partition Backup, SQL Server Backup, and Sync.