If you’re looking for solutions on how to fix the ‘VMware Workstation Pro can’t run on Windows’ issue, you’ve come to the right page.

VMware Workstation Pro is a hosted hypervisor that enables users to set up virtual machines (VMs) on their x64 versions of Windows and Linux operating systems. In essence, the software allows you to run multiple operating systems on a single PC. Workstation is especially useful for IT developers, businesses, and professionals who build, test, or demo software for any device, cloud, or platform.

However, it has not been a smooth ride for enterprises using VMware Workstation Pro since the introduction of Windows 10 version 1903. According to users, updating or upgrading from earlier versions of Windows to Windows 10 version 1903 triggered compatibility issues with this software. The problems started to crop up, accompanied by a pop-up message from Compatibility Assistant that says:

VMware Workstation Pro can’t run on Windows 10. Check for an updated version of this app that runs on Windows.

Judging from the posts on VMware forums, several cumulative updates lead to this problem. These are:

  • October 8, 2019—KB4517389 (OS Build 18362.418)
  • October 3, 2019—KB4524147 (OS Build 18362.388)
  • September 26, 2019—KB4517211 (OS Build 18362.387)

According to a statement by the VMware developers, once you installed one of these updates, the VMware Workstation Pro software stopped working. The updates affected all versions of VMware Workstation Pro before version 15.1, leading to many frustrations in the Windows community.

Fortunately, there are various workarounds you could try to implement to resolve this issue.

How to Remove the “VMware Workstation Pro can’t run on Windows” Pop-Up Message

Fix 1: Rename the VMware.exe Executable

One of the easiest solutions to bypass the block is to rename the VMware executable file. Several users on the linked VMware forums reported that this workaround worked, and you could try it to check if it works on your end.

Here are the steps:

  1. Browse to the location of the VMware Workstation Pro installation. By default, this should be in C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Workstation\.
  2. Find the vmware.exe executable file, and rename it to something like vmwarea.exe.
  3. Reboot the device for the changes to take effect.

This workaround should get rid of the ‘VMware Workstation Pro can’t run on Windows’ error. If this fix doesn’t help, try the next one below.

Fix 2: Uninstall Windows Updates

We mentioned earlier that various cumulative updates blocked the VMware Workstation Pro program from working. Some users reported that uninstalling these updates resolved the problem, and VMware Workstation Pro worked again.

To uninstall these updates, follow the steps below:

  1. Press the Windows Key + S, type in “updates” (without quotes), and select Windows Update Settings from the list of results.
  2. Navigate to the View Update History link in the right-hand pane, and open it.
  3. There, you’ll see a list of recent updates, including the cumulative updates and others. Since our focus is to uninstall a few updates, you’ll want to click on the Uninstall Updates link at the top of the page.
  4. On the Installed Updates screen in Control Panel, you’ll see a list of the cumulative updates that were installed since the feature update.
  5. Look for the following cumulative updates. Click on each one of the updates and select Uninstall. You can also right-click the updates, one after the other, and select Uninstall:
  • October 8, 2019—KB4517389 (OS Build 18362.418)
  • October 3, 2019—KB4524147 (OS Build 18362.388)
  • September 26, 2019—KB4517211 (OS Build 18362.387)
  1. Once you finish uninstalling the updates, you’ll be prompted to restart your Windows machine. Click the Restart Now button to proceed.

Note that the updates will still auto-install after a while. To avoid this, you will want to defer future updates. To do so:

  1. Go to your Windows 10 Settings app by pressing the Win + I keyboard shortcuts at the same time.
  2. Head to Update & Security > Windows Update, and open the Advanced Options link.
  3. Scroll down to the Pause Updates section and click on the Pause Until drop-down list, where you’ll need to specify a date. Note that updates can temporarily be paused for up to 35 days. After that, the latest updates will have to be installed before they can be paused again.

However, here’s the thing. To be able to use your Windows 10 computer flawlessly, you need to keep your updates on track. Therefore, this solution only offers a temporary fix.

Fix 3: Download Windows ADK

Several users reported that they resolved the “VMware Workstation Pro can’t run on Windows” issue using Windows ADK (Assessment and Deployment Kit). Here’s the complete guide:

  1. Go to the Download and install the Windows ADK page on Microsoft’s official website.
  2. Find the correct version for your Windows 10 version and download it.
  3. Once the download is complete, locate the adksetup.exe file in your downloads folder, and launch.
  4. Select the option that says, “Install the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit- Windows 10 to this computer.”
  5. Click on Next and select Accept to accept the license agreement.
  6. Be sure to select the Application Compatibility Tools option, which includes the Compatibility Administrator and Standard User Analyzer (SUA) options.
  7. Click on Install to proceed.
  8. Wait patiently for the installation process to complete successfully, and then click Close.
  9. Next, press the Windows Key + S combination and type “Compatibility” (without quotes) in the search box.
  10. Select Compatibility Administrator.
  11. On the next window, you’ll be able to access the system database that includes applications, compatibility fixes, and compatibility modes.
  12. Open the Applications setting under System Database, locate and select VMware Workstation Pro.
  13. In the right pane, you’ll see the vmware.exe entry. Right-click on it and select Disable Entry.
  14. Exit the window.

The VMware Workstation Pro program should now work without any issues on your Windows 10 version 1903.

Fix 4: Uninstall VMware Workstation Pro

According to VMware Workstation Pro developers, customers running Workstation 15.0 can resolve the issue by upgrading to the latest Workstation 15.5 free upgrade. For users running older versions of Workstation, they first need to uninstall the software and retry the upgrade process.

But there’s a catch. Uninstalling Workstation Pro using the standard method in Control Panel doesn’t seem to work as expected. Some users reported that the “Uninstall” button was grayed out. Others complained that even after uninstalling the software, the pop-up message reappeared.

This happens because some residual files are left behind after uninstalling the software. However, there’s no reason to panic. Below we explore a few workarounds to completely uninstall the VMware Workstation Pro application.

Method 1: Using VMware Workstation Pro Software Installer

Most programs come with their own uninstaller that helps you to remove them from your PC if you no longer find them useful. If you do not have a copy of the Workstation installer, head on to the official VMware website and download it. Once you have the file, follow the guide below:

  1. Log into the Windows host system with elevated rights or as a member of the local Administrators group. If you log into the domain, the domain account must be a local administrator.
  2. Double-click on the VMware-workstation-(1234).exe file, where 1234 is the version and model number, and click Next.
  3. Select the Remove option. If you’d like to save your product license and configuration details, check the appropriate boxes.
  4. Click the Next button to commence the uninstallation of the Workstation Pro software.

Method 2: Using Command Prompt

This workaround applies to users running Workstation 5.x and later versions.

  1. Run an elevated command prompt. To do so, press the Win + S shortcut keys, type in “CMD” (no quotes) in the search box, and choose the Run as Administrator option in the right pane.
  2. Once the Command Prompt window opens, execute the following command: VMware-workstation-5.0.0-13124.exe /c. This will automatically remove the MSI registration information for the Workstation application from your Windows 10 machine.

Method 3: Using a Third-Party App

If you find the above methods cumbersome, we suggest utilizing a reliable third-party app like Auslogics BoostSpeed. The program comes with an array of features designed to boost your PC’s performance. One of these features enables you to force-uninstall applications that cannot be removed using the regular way.

All you have to do is install Auslogics BoostSpeed and go to the Clean Up tab. Click on the “Force-uninstall applications” link to open the Uninstall Manager tab, which will list all of the installed programs on your computer. Look for the problematic program from the list, select it, and click on the Uninstall option.

BoostSpeed also comes with the Optimize function, which enables you to monitor and enhance your computer’s speed and performance in real-time. There are various other tools that you can enable to boost the overall performance of your PC. It optimizes Windows tasks, your processor, and memory. Moreover, it has a desktop protection feature and a defragger that will make your drives work faster. All these functions prevent system freezes and slowdowns.

We hope you find these solutions to fix the ‘VMware Workstation pro can’t run on Windows 10’ problem helpful.

Keep Your Drivers Up to Date

Another way to ensure that your PC runs without glitches is to keep the device drivers always updated. Device drivers enable hardware components in your computer to communicate with the software. If any of the drivers is missing, outdated, or corrupted, your hardware like the printer, camera, and software like games might start acting up.

To fix driver-related issues, you can opt to manually update the device drivers by visiting the manufacturers’ websites of individual drivers. You need to find the correct driver versions and install them one by one. However, this process is easier said than done since you first need to find out the driver model and version compatible with your operating system. Installing the wrong drivers will lead to more PC issues.

The easiest and most reliablem method is to use a driver updating software like Auslogics Driver Updater. This program automatically scans your system to determine the operating system that you’re using. It then checks for outdated, missing, or corrupted drivers and installs the latest official versions directly from the manufacturers’ websites.

Driver Updater is fast, safe, and secure. It even comes with a backup option that enables you to restore the drivers if you run into glitches with the newer versions. Plus, you can enable automatic maintenance to ensure your PC always runs on the latest driver versions.