Windows 10 and VMware Fusion


You may have caught wind of the news that Windows 10 is here, and for many folks who want to install it in a virtual machine, VMware Fusion is the obvious choice.

I’ve been using it for a few days now, and must admit so far I’m quite pleased with it.  I’ve been even playing with Cortana in the background with my VM just minimized while I work away on the Mac. The ‘Hey Cortana’ feature works flawlessly with Fusion as far as I can test.  I even asked her to sing me a song while I was working away and while her singing voice isn’t bad at all, her choice of Danny Boy is a little odd if you ask me.

I’ve been using the Fusion 2015 Tech Preview lately, but Fusion 7 was working just fine with all the Insider Preview of Windows 10 if you just choose Windows 8.1 as the Guest OS type.

Either way, it’s a really nice OS and it runs at incredibly well in Fusion. I’m using a MacBook Pro mid-2012 model with 16GB of RAM overall and I give it 2 vCPUs and 4GB of RAM, and maybe that’s even overkill for what I use it for. I’d say it feels leaner and more responsive overall than every Microsoft OS since XP and I feel like they finally got rid of all the unnecessary cruft and bloat that was holding them back.

There is however this upgrade problem that a number users are hitting tho which currently affects most hypervisors. Tho I haven’t heard of any users with HyperV having this problem, <sarcasm> I can only presume there are no HyperV users interested in upgrading to Windows 10. </sarcasm> Draw your own conclusions, but it is what it is.

Luckily, there’s actually a REALLY EASY workaround.

Rather than use the upgrade method within the VM, download the .ISO and mount it to Fusion to perform the upgrade.

Straight from the source!

Microsoft makes the Windows 10 ISO file available for the world to download so you can burn to disk or use as a VM. Rather than a single link, they have this process to get the right version, and actually works really well. (From Safari on my Mac, no less).  No funky windows.exe thing to use to download and create the .iso with, this is a full ISO from with Win10_English_x64.iso as the filename.

Fusion 7 + Windows 8.1 + Windows10.iso = Upgrade!

First things first as always before ding major upgrades, TAKE A SNAPSHOT! This way you make sure to have a safe roll back point in case something goes wrong, you don’t like it, or it breaks all your other Windows apps or something.

Here we go!
Here we go!

After the installation assistant greeted me, things started moving along just fine.

The installation begins!
The installation begins!

The installation proceeds basically unattended, which is nice. Took about 10 minutes on my MacBook Pro (mid-2012).

Upgrading... here we go!
Upgrading… here we go!


Once the installation finished, I ran through the personalization walkthrough which I highly recommend to turn off all the ‘send everything I type to Microsoft’ features… yikes.

So that’s it!  You can use that same .iso file from Microsoft to install multiple copies as needed, or just use the clone feature of Fusion Pro to save yourself the hassle.




## Update
I had comments muted for spamming reasons, but I tweaked it and it should be only legit folks… sorry I missed all your comments I’ll try and respond, thanks everyone for reading!

54 thoughts on “Windows 10 and VMware Fusion”

  1. Thank you for this, I’m setup now with VMWare Fusion 7 Pro and Windows 10 Pro. One thing to add is you probably will have to reinstall VMWare Tools. For me on my retina iMac this simply mounted the disc, from there I double-clicked the setup64 option, chose repair, then rebooted and all works fine so far, it seems.

  2. I installed Windows 10 via the ISO onto an existing Bootcamp partition. If I boot up in Bootcamp the OS works great. If I do it through Fusion the resolution is locked to 1024 x 768. Any ideas?

    1. I had this same problem. You need to uninstall VMWare tools using Add/Remove programs from windows. Reboot Windows 10, then install VMWare tools. Just doing re-install VMware tools doesn’t fix the problem for some reason. Now if i can just get it to recognize my network connection I’ll be all set…

  3. Hi Michael

    I have followed your instructions but after I get to the purple “Installing Windows 10” screen I get a “”installation failed” dialog box and the instal process quits. Any suggestions? I’m running VM Fusion 7.1.2 on a mid-2011 iMac and trying to upgrade from a registered copy of Win 8.1

  4. Hi Mike:

    Thanks for the post. I got installed but still have the original issue to contend with. Since it does not recognize the display it gives me only low res options once i got running. Any ideas?

  5. Do you think this is something Microsoft is going to fix, or should we all just expect to update from an ISO? I’m not in a hurry to upgrade – I figure I’ll let lots of other people help Microsoft and other companies deal with the problems – but it would be nice if it just worked.

  6. Naturally I downloaded the and installed from official Windows 10 Enterprise DVD ISO upon release, but the upgrade resulted in a “Microsoft Basic” video driver. No matter if I extracted the bootcamp drivers or manually chose the NVIDIA GT 750M, they would not take. Without rollback the system was stuck at VGA resolution. Instead I just did a Clean Install (CI) after that-FYI.

  7. I have problems with the graphics driver on the final version of Windows 10. The installer chooses a generic driver with max capabilities of 1024 x 786 which results in a Lego-Style on an retina iMac. Switching 3D off an reinstalling the VM-Ware-Tools doesn’t help. Do you have any suggestions that I can try?

  8. Thanks. This worked fine for Win 8.1 Pro to to Win 10 Pro (although I uninstalled VMware Tools, and turned off internet connection via my Mac as precautions during installation). It didn’t work for Win 7 Pro to Win 10 Pro though due to error 0xC1900101 – 0x20017, which I wasted several hours trying to overcome. Can’t say I’m impressed with Win 10, with MS going for even more control of my computer, apparently in desperation to protect its turf (e.g. auto updates).

  9. Mike:

    Got the ISO but how did you get it to start in VMW from the screen shot above. Not sure how to start the upgrade.

  10. I assume you need to boot from the ISO to upgrade? I just mounted the ISO within the running Win 7 install and it got the same graphics driver error…

  11. Networking does not work for me. I bypassed the SVGA problem successfully but I cannot get the network running. I migrated from Windows 8.1, with a working network adapter. Windows 10 reports that it cannot find networking hardware. However, the “Intel” nic is visible in the device manager, which says it’s functioning properly.

    Any insight?

  12. I tried this, but in first step Windows Setup asks for my product key and my valid Windows 8.1 product key doesn’t work in my case. Any idea? I exactly downloaded the version you mentioned.

  13. Hi,

    Thanks for this workaround I successfully installed W10, but now face issues with the screen resolution (Macbook pro with Retina display) and VMware tools does not install anymore.

    The screen resolution in W10 is such that all shows a huge and it is not changeable within the setting of W10 and VMware fusion.

    Anny ideas here?

    Paul Gerits

  14. Hi Michael
    Thanks for a great solution. It works fine but I can’t get a higher resolution than 1600×1200? I can only choose between the basic Windows Video Card driver.

    Do you have any idea what to do?



  15. Hi. Thanks for the post regarding the ISO install of Windows 10. It took a few goes but eventually it completed. Any idea how I get to use the full width of my screen (13″ Retina MBP)? Got 2560 x 1600 on the Mac side and 1152 x 864 on the Win 10 side 🙁

  16. I followed your installation process above and Win 10 installed well. The major issue I had was that in Win10 file explorer, the Z: vmware-local\Shared Folders drive had a big red X and was not accessible, even though programs using files in the shared folders found them. How do you get rid of the Red X and see the files in this folder?

    The other issue is the screen resolution issue is still there, on a 24″ apple monitor (older one, not newer thunderbolt).

    Can you help?

  17. Hi…
    Ever ask “would it be a good idea to have my email address on my page/blog?” The answer is a resounding “yes” …

    here’s an example of why 🙂

    I’m posting to let you know of a typo … something easier/quicker/more-discreetely done via email.

    You have “ding major upgrades,” instead of “doing major upgrades”. Over course, sometimes one does get dinged 🙂

    That aside, thanks for a very helpful article!


  18. Hi, thank you for your short how to. Where did you get a valid product key for the downloaded iso file? As far as I know, you have to upgrade an existing win7 or win8.1 first, extract the new generated key (the old one is invalid then for the old OS as well) and use it for a clean installation of win10 with the iso.

    Thanks for your reply!

  19. Do you know what size the x64 .iso image should be?

    I’ve downloaded it twice, got 3,934,351,905 bytes the first time, and 3,172,367,140 bytes the second time. For the 2nd one, the SHA1 hash is 9ba55be4118d4add2d12b675bf0ac787882331cb.

    In both cases, I got errors trying to run setup.exe after mounting the .iso file in VMPlayer.

  20. Nice article –

    I have official Windows 8.1 license and when I go through process of using windows 10 .iso to create image in Fusion 7.1.2, the process asks for license key – so I give it my good 8.1 key and that fails. I still was able to install full Windows 10 inside Fusion, but unactivated. How do you get around this?

    I tried waiting for upgrade within 8.1 image and Microsoft now comes back saying “VMWare SVGA 3D. The display manufacturer hasn’t made your display compatible with Windows 10”

    Thanks for any leads you may have,

  21. Whether using the .iso, or a burned DVD, I get error messages about SPWIZENG.DLL and autorun.dll being corrupt. I’ve tried the download twice.

      1. Hello Michael,

        I was so disappointed with he 1600×1200 I hasn’t fooled around with Fusion/Windows on my iMac for a while. But today, when I run fusion/Windows 10, to my surprise, the resolution works! It goes all the way to 5120×2800, amazing. I don’t know what I did to have the change. Maybe just the latest updates of Fusion 8? Anyway, all is well that ends well!


  22. Great guide, but with ONE big problem. The free upgrade to W10 only seem to be available if you use the guided upgrade, but with the ISO-install there is a problem converting the W7 or W8 license to W10 so I can’t get any product key.

  23. Thanks very much for the workaround. All is well until the “Creating Window 10 media” program runs. It progresses nicely 🙂 until 100% when it gives me this quaint sounding error:

    Modem Setup Host has stopped working

    A problem caused the program to stop working correctly. Windows will close the program and notify you if a solution is available.

    happy to send a screenshot.

  24. This problem is with Vmware Workstation 2015 Technical Preview also.

    But there is shitty coding by Vmware, they know how to. Doesnt matter if it is Technical Preview!

  25. Thanks very much for the workaround. All is well until the “Creating Window 10 media” program runs. It progresses nicely 🙂 until 100% when it gives me this quaint sounding error:

    Modem Setup Host has stopped working

    A problem caused the program to stop working correctly. Windows will close the program and notify you if a solution is available.
    And help for this?

  26. I loaded using the .iso file, but while running under Fusion to convert from Windows 7 to 10. Had to restart several times during the installation, which is awkward, because if I wasn’t hovering over the MacBook Pro, it rebooted into the MacOS. It looks as if it is working in Fusion EXCEPT the screen size is fixed at one small size. When I resize the PC screen in the window, the window gets larger, but not the Windows window–it is not really resizing within the Fusion window. I’ve tried changing the PC’s settings (and those of VMWare Fusion (7.1.2) like turning off the 3D graphics acceleration as suggested) to no avail. The PC window stretches, but at the same aspect ratio. I cannot get it to widen UNLESS I change the resolution inside the PC. Then I can up the resolution, but the lovely elastic revision of screen sizing through the Fusion interface is gone. For good??

  27. That’s great, but the video driver is still broken. This is why the upgrade assistant tried to stop you from upgrading from 8.1 to windows 10.

    Please fix the video driver as the experience on a retina sucks when you are forced into 1152 x 864.

    Apparently parallels and bootcamp don’t have this issue.

  28. Mike,
    Thank you for the methodology. The install went smoothly using the ISO. I ended up with a max screen resolution of 1152 x 864 on a 27″ Thunderbolt monitor, which makes Win 10 almost comic.

    Any idea on what could be done to increase that? I’m using a MacBook Pro late 2013 with the Iris display, not the retina, 8 GB of RAM, which I am going to bring up to 16.

  29. Made some mods to VMware Fusion settings & things look better, but still stuck with 1152 x 864 resolution. Guess might have to wait for Fusion 8

  30. So, is there a fix in the works? I don’t have time for this long. long workaround and look to you guys to fix things. ETA?


  31. hi mike, thanks for the guidance. how do you manage the resolution..? have windows 10 installed on the VM with Mac Pro. but seems the resolution not too good…

    1. There’s an option in the Settings > Display pane of the VM labeled ‘Use full resolution on Retina display’. Try checking or unchecking it (while the VM is running is okay) see if that helps. Windows 10 looks great when you have it checked when you’re on a retina or 4K/5K display because it scales the UI using vector images instead of bitmaps like how Windows 7 did it. With Windows 7 it looks small because of the actual dots per inch that are in use if it’s enabled, as an example.

      Windows 10 knows how to run on high DPI displays, so you can enable this option when you’re on one, but inversely it might look weird if it’s enabled and you’re on a standard resolution display. You can always toggle the option while the VM is running.

      1. Hello Michael,

        Thank you for shedding lights on the resolution issue.

        I have a 27″ 5k, running Fusion 8. I have set enough RAM for Windows. I first installed Windows 7 Pro, then today I upgraded to Windows 10 Pro. Wind 10 seems to run ok except the display resolution is stuck in 1600 x 1200 which is the highest I can go. I adjusted text size and icon is to smallest I can go, but they are still too big.

        I went to Virtual Machine -> Settings… -> Display, then checked and Unchecked “Use full resolution for Retina display” a few times (each time sign out and sign in). Unfortunately it does not help, it’s still 1600 x 1200. “Accelerate 3D Graphics” check box and Shared graphics memory 2048 MB” are dimmed. Do you see if I can do anything to make the resolution higher?

        I very much appreciate your help.


        1. Hey, sorry for the delay, apparently I wasn’t getting emails from the comments.

          Enable ‘use full resolution for retina display’ and change it so it’s ‘for all view modes’.
          Can you get higher resolutions after that?

  32. I did not see a resolution to the product key issue. I was also trying to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 using the .iso and it asked for a Windows 10 product key. I tried my key for Windows 7, but it is telling me the product key didn’t work.

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