Sharing a virtual machine between users in Mac OS
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Sharing a virtual machine between users in Mac OS


Article ID: 302483


Updated On:


VMware Desktop Hypervisor


This article provides steps for locating and accessing a virtual machine from multiple user accounts in Mac OS 10.5 (Leopard), 10.6 (Snow Leopard), 10.7 (Lion), 10.8 (Mountain Lion), 10.9 (Mavericks), 10.10 (Yosemite), OS 10.11 (El Capitan) and OS 10.12 (Sierra). These steps allow more than one user to use the same virtual machine.

Note: There are limitations to virtual machine sharing:
  • Only one user can be logged in to the Mac at any time; do not use Fast User Switching if you are sharing a virtual machine.
  • The shared virtual machine cannot be suspended or cannot have any snapshots taken (this includes AutoProtect). If the virtual machine is suspended or has a snapshot taken, only the user who suspended the virtual machine or took the snapshot can use the virtual machine until the virtual machine is resumed and shut down or the snapshot is removed.
  • Existing shared or mirrored folders do not work properly after sharing the virtual machine. The shared folders must be recreated.



VMware Fusion Pro 10.x
VMware Fusion Pro 11.x
VMware Fusion 2.x
VMware Fusion 6.x
VMware Fusion 3.x
VMware Fusion Pro 8.x
VMware Fusion 4.x
VMware Fusion 5.x
VMware Fusion 7.x
VMware Fusion 11.x
VMware Fusion 8.x
VMware Fusion 10.x


To share a virtual machine between several Mac user accounts, you need to make the virtual machine accessible to all users and then reset the assigned permissions so that everyone has permission to use the virtual machine.

  1. Log in to your Mac as the user who can use the virtual machine.
  2. Ensure that you your virtual machine is not powered on or suspended. If it is running or in a suspended state, ensure it is powered off before continuing.
  3. Locate your virtual machine bundle. For details, see Locating the virtual machine bundle in VMware Fusion (1007599).
  4. Move your virtual machine (drag the bundle ending in .vmwarevm) to the Shared folder (/Users/Shared).

    Note: This step only ensures that any files currently in the bundle are not locked by one user. Any new files created in the bundle (for example, by suspending the virtual machine or by taking a snapshot) makes the virtual machine unusable by other users.
  5. Right-click the virtual machine bundle and click Get Info.
  6. In the Name & Extension field, remove the .vmwarevm extension, then press Enter. When prompted, click Remove. The bundle now displays as a folder.
  7. Click the arrow next to Sharing & Permissions to expand the section.
  8. Click the lock (in the bottom-right corner) and enter your administrator password to allow changes to this section.
  9. Ensure everyone and staff have Read & Write under Privilege. If it is not set to Read & Write, click the arrows to change the selection.
  10. Click the + button (in the bottom-left corner) and add the other users who will be sharing this virtual machine. Ensure each user has Read & Write under Privilege.
  11. Click the arrow next to the More actions button (with an icon of a gear), and select Apply to enclosed items.
  12. Click OK to confirm the changes.
  13. In the Name & Extension field, re-add the .vmwarevm extension to make the folder into a bundle.

To confirm that the change was successful, log out of Mac OS and log in to another account, and start the virtual machine.

Note: Because the virtual machine's location has changed, all users must remove the old virtual machine entry from the virtual machine library and then re-open the virtual machine from its new location in the Shared folder (/Macintosh HD/Users/Shared).

Any shared folders that were set up before the virtual machine was shared will always point to the original user (if the shared folder was in a user's directory). To correct this, delete any existing shared folders after sharing the virtual machine and then recreate them. For more information, see Sharing a folder from your Mac to a virtual machine (1004055).
As a best practice, ensure to disable mirrored folders because they do not work as expected after the virtual machine is shared.
To disable mirrored folders:
  1. Shut down the virtual machine.
  2. In the menu bar, navigate to Virtual Machine > Settings and then select the Sharing section.
  3. Deselect all listed mirrored folders.
  4. Close the virtual machine settings.

Additional Information

Sharing a folder from your Mac to a virtual machine
Locating the virtual machine bundle in VMware Fusion
Compartir una máquina virtual entre usuarios en Mac OS
Mac OS のユーザー間での仮想マシンの共有
在 Mac OS 中的用户之间共享虚拟机