VMWare Player Maximum Screen Resolution

Tuesday, 2006-December-26 at 10:21 11 comments

Here is a common issue with VMWare Player.  The guest operating system’s screen is equal to the resolution of your host screen, so that you can either run it full screen or have it partially obscured and use scroll bars to see things along the edges (like the “start” button).  Or perhaps you wish to be able to view the whole guest operating system screen and still have a way to see applications running on your host operating system.  In my case, it tends to be the latter, but this solution will work for either problem.  Inside of the directory where your guest operating system is stored, there is a file with a name like guestOS.vmx.  While VMWare is not running, open your text editor (Vi, Emacs, Notepad Wordpad, or whatever).  On Windows, I use Wordpad instead of Notepad, because the file may havebeen created on a different operating system and Notepad may not read it properly.  Add the following snippet at the bottom of the file and save it.

# Set maximum screen size -- added Dec 26 2006
svga.maxWidth = "800"
svga.maxHeight = "600"

One possibility is that you will find that the file has pre-existing entries for these.  If that is true, comment the former entries out by entering the “#” character at the beginning (left side) of the lines where svga maximum values are set.  In this way, if you decide to move the virtual machine (VM) to another host computer, you can switch back to the original values by uncommenting the former values and commenting the values you add.

UPDATE, 2007-10-21: There is a problem some people have with version 2 of VMWare Player, where the mouse is unable to reach the edges of the screen.  JRI Panama solved it (in part with information from this article) this way:

And it did not solve it. However, I decided to run the guest machine at 1024 x 768, so I change these lines accordinly and resize the screen resolution on the guest machine and the problem went away. The mouse can be moved freely when switching from the host to the guest.

svga.maxWidth = “1024”
svga.maxHeight = “768”

Also, if you copy and paste, remember that the quote marks you see are probably "curly", while the software expects regular straight quote marks or sometimes none at all.  If you hand-replace the quotes or even remove them, it may work acceptably.

Entry filed under: Computers, Software, VMWare. Tags: , .

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  • 1. erkcan  |  Monday, 2007-January-22 at 03:27

    Thanks for this solution. I have recently installed VMWare Server 1.0.1 and was looking all around in the menus to be able to do this. One thing though: in my case, VMWare complained when the resolution integers (800, 600 in your example) were written inside quotations. I removed them and it worked like charm…

  • 2. Isaac  |  Sunday, 2007-December-16 at 10:46

    Just wanted to confirm that this works like a charm on my machine.

    I have a nonstandard resolution (1440×900) on my laptop and by using this trick it was selectable from within my virtual Win2K.

  • 3. Peter  |  Wednesday, 2008-February-20 at 03:42

    Great; solved my problem, which was pretty obscure. I had been trialling a Matrox dual-head 2 go, so had had a laptop monitor + two screens running at 1024×768 (rotated to portrait). I unplugged that lot, and VMWare sulked at 640×480. I put the maxWidth & height in the file – problem solved.


  • 4. Tom  |  Thursday, 2008-June-05 at 13:36

    Very nice. That worked for me. I’ve got an FT01 with 1280×800 resolution.

  • 5. Cedrick Lesperance  |  Tuesday, 2008-July-29 at 09:46

    Thanks a lot it works great

  • 6. manish  |  Monday, 2008-August-25 at 02:04

    I have tried above modification, but it not working.
    I have used several resolution sets, but it remains as usual.
    My vmware player version is 2.0

    Thanks in advance for help.

  • 7. The Rat  |  Thursday, 2008-September-04 at 22:45

    manish, did you restart the virtual PC after saving the modifications? Shutting down the viewer isn’t enough.

    After restart, you’ll have to set up your screen resolution within your virtual os.

    Thanks for the original, this solved my issue of not beign able to use any resolution above 1024×768 (annoyingly small).

  • 8. Rod  |  Tuesday, 2008-October-14 at 06:26

    I am running VMWare Player2.5.0 build-118166 on a Thinkpad with 2GB RAM. I have allocated 1GB to VMWare, and used the tip above to set set VMWare resolution! Thanks! However, a new question: Can you add applications to a Linux appliance with VMWare Player? It crashes when I try to do it. THanks. Sorry for posting in here…

  • 9. lnxwalt  |  Tuesday, 2008-October-14 at 08:39

    Sorry, Rod, I’m no longer using the Player, because I can create machines from scratch using the Server (also zero-price from the VMWare site).

    However, it seems to me that–as long as there is room on your virtual disk and you have enough RAM in the VM–you should be able to add things. You should check to see that you have tools like make and gcc available inside the VM, use df / at the command line to see how much free space is available on each partition.

    If the distribution uses rpm, try to install that version of your application. Similarly, use the deb version if that is what your distribution supports.

    Hope this helps.

  • 10. KAD  |  Tuesday, 2008-November-18 at 00:54

    thanks so much for this help.it really helped.

  • 11. Hit the reset button on the Sandbox | stoneberg design  |  Tuesday, 2008-November-18 at 14:30

    […] (see comments on that page) I got the player running and changed the screen resolution (see this link).  The whole point of me installing a virtual XP machine is to get IE6 so I can do cross browser […]

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