Enabling Audio in VMware Server



In my previous post I showed you how to emulate an existing Windows install in Linux using VMware server. Now that you have your Windows OS running and you can run all your basic apps, it’s time to improve the functionality of your virtual OS by adding sound so that you can listen to music, watch videos, play games, etc. By default sound is disabled in the guest OS and I have read several websites that claim it is not possible to get sound working in VMware server. On the contrary, it is very easy to setup audio in the latest version of VMware Server. The following steps will show you how this can be done.

  1. Launch VMware as root: [gksudo vmware]
  2. Open the virtual machine you want to add sound to (the machine should not be powered on, if it is, shut down).
  3. Click “Edit virtual machine settings.
  4. Under the Hardware tab click “+ Add”.
  5. Choose “Sound Adapter” and click Next.
  6. Select Auto Detect from the drop down menu.
  7. Make sure “Connect at power on” is enabled.
  8. Click Finish.

Power on your machine and login. If you have VMware Tools installed, Windows should automatically detect your virtual audio drivers. You should now be able to hear audio and system beeps. You can also control the volume using both Windows’ volume control and any hardware volume control buttons you have. Keep in mind that the volume in your Guest OS is dependant on your Host OS. That means if your volume is muted in Linux, you will not hear anything in Windows even if you set Windows’ volume to max. Additionally, if your volume in Linux is only set to halfway, the loudest you can hear anything in Windows will also be halfway.

Additionally, if you want to enable the use of USB devices in your Guest OS, follow the same method as above and choose USB controller instead.

21 Responses to “Enabling Audio in VMware Server”

  1. 1 Arun

    Thanks a lot for this guide, quite useful.

  2. 2 shamkumar

    hi thanks for ur guide but i am sorry to say that i am not able to heare the audio still,as u said to change the settings i did but still i am not able to……….so can u please tell me other option to get the audio in vmwhare.ok give me the details of the os what i am using.
    host os is linux and gust os that is vmware is win 2000 server.
    so please give me the guide lines so that i can do my work.pls pls help me i hope u will help me……..thanks in abvance………

  3. Shamkumar, are you receiving any specific errors or it’s just not working? Are you trying to play sound at the same time in your host OS?

  4. 4 lisiuwah

    thx a lot.. I’m wondering why there’s sound at the machine that I created in VMWare but not Server..

  5. Thanks Mohammad for the easy and quick steps. I knew it could be done, just didn’t know how 🙂

  6. 6 ahmadi

    mohammad, u r lucky your sound worked without issue… what other people r looking 4 is a fix for a sound device working in ubuntu but not working in the guest OS (xp) for some reason, no error messages and config is same as u described…

  7. Ahmadi, I had the same issue to begin with. I could hear sound in Linux (Host OS) but not in Windows (Guest OS). VMware allows you to add a sound adapter as I have described above. It may not be as simple for you since it worked for me by just selecting “Auto detect”. In this case you will need to specify the exact sound device of the hardware for it to work.

  8. 8 Jam

    Thanks for the advice. This works fine as of VMWare server 1.0.5 on Kubuntu 8.04.

  9. 9 very Usefull

    Al Salamo 3lykom

    hayel hayel hayel , wonderful M.Azmi , i ‘ve tested it and it works well

  10. Great article! I’ll just add one thing: the VM must be powered off for the “Sound Adapter” option to be available when you try to add new hardware. I tried to add it while the VM was running and the option was not selectable. I went back to the add hardware screen after I powered off the VM and it worked perfectly.


  11. 11 John

    Thank you very much, this was very helpful.

  12. 12 Nick

    after hours of “try and error” your advise was so easy and … and successful.
    Best regrads from Germany, Nick

  13. 13 Umang

    I’m using Ubuntu Hardy as host & winxp @ guest & on top of what mohammad suggessted, I had to also enable “Line In As Output” in the volume control panel in Ubuntu. Sound worked fine on guest.

  14. 14 David Mays

    Thanks, but I still have problems. Running openSUSE 11.0 and VMWare Workstation 6.5. I get sound without any problems except that with mp3 or FLAC files it has a lot of drop-outs and CDs are terrible.


  15. 15 anon

    lol. and i was looking in the register. How stupid of me, and that for the fact that i used VMware workstation for educational purposes for over 2 years.

  16. 16 CH


  17. 17 Tommy

    Hi i have my audio device still disconnected i try both auto-detect and choose device. Where could be problem? Any advice?


  18. Hey ! This works for vmware server 1 perhaps , but for vmware server 2.0 there is no option to add hardware in edit settings and hence we are all doomed!

    Please let me know by email if you know how to do this for vmware server v2

  19. 19 BobK

    Worked fine for me in the other direction (ubunbtu running as guest on XP host) with vmware server 2.0. There is no ‘add hardware’ in edit setting but there is ‘add hardware’ in the list of commands in the ‘commands’ panel on the right hand side of the VMware Infrastructuree Web Access page once you have selected your vm.

  20. 20 Phil

    I now have working audio in my VM. Thanks so much for the great information.

  1. 1 Running Ubuntu on Windows XP with Parallels / Vmware « AJ’s Blog

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