Starting VMware from the Ubuntu login

If you don’t have a computer with many resources and you want to use VMware or VMplayer with a Windows XP image (or any other operating system) for a longer period of time (e.g. you must use Word, Excel, Access, etc.), a good solution is to start VMware directly, without downloading GNOME.

To achieve this, you need to create a new account that you can log into from the login screen (GDM). For it, you create the file “/usr/share/xsessions/windows-xp.desktop”:

[Desktop Entry]
Encoding = UTF-8
Name = Windows-XP
Exec = /usr/local/bin/
Icon =
Type = Application

This will execute the file “/usr/local/bin/”, which you will also have to create with the following content:

cd /mnt/extra/Windows_XP_Professional/
vmplayer –fullscreen /mnt/extra/Windows_XP_Professional/ Windows_XP_Professional.vmx

In this file, you must change the path where you have saved your Windows image. Then, execute:

sudo chmod 755 /usr/local/bin/
sudo chmod 755 /usr/share/xsessions/windows-xp.desktop

Now, you can log out of the user account and log in to the “Windows-XP” account from GDM. If you are asked if you want to make it your default account, reply no, since you will only be using it occasionally. Once the machine has started, you can bring it into full-screen mode by clicking on the VMware menu and pressing F11.

Since that did not start GNOME or any window manager, you will only have access to the VMware virtual machine (when it closes, you will be logged out and brought back to the login screen). You will now have more RAM available for the virtual machine and be able to work more comfortably.

Thanks to Marco Antonio de Hoyos for inspiring this article.

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