Vmware Workstation is easily one of the most advanced and popular software tools for creating and working with virtual machines. Despite been a favourite amongst system administrators or I.T teams one annoying issue can prevent you from working with your virtual machines.
One such error which I have personally encountered is the “vmci.sys driver error”, this message generally appears on Windows computers and can be caused by a number of different factors. This particular error deals with a key driver which is responsible for running several features of the software.
This error often occurs in older versions of Vmware workstation particularly the version 8 series when trying to launch an existing Virtual machine or create a new one.
This particular error can also occur if you have upgraded Vmware Workstation or your Windows operating system, most likely coming from Windows 7 to Windows 8 or 10. If you are faced with this error don’t worry because in this tutorial we will explore some different solutions to bypass this and get your virtual machines back to a working state.
The first and foremost step to troubleshoot this problem is to update or reinstall the vmci driver in Windows. This can easily be done by navigating to the start menu and searching for “device manager” or going into Control Panel –> Hardware and sound and then choosing device manager.
With that dialog open you will see a list of your PC’s drivers that are installed on the system, once here you should notice a yellow exclamation mark next to a driver labelled “vmci”. Simply right click it and select update driver and then choose “let Windows find the best driver”, wait until the process finishes and then close the dialog.
In most cases this will correct the issue if you had an outdated driver left behind if you upgraded Vmware Workstation or player. There are however cases where this simply doesn’t work and requires a little more effort to work.
If the above method fails then you can try uninstalling all copies of Vmware workstation/player and then reboot before reinstalling the software. This may not be practical however if you can’t find your product key or you no longer have the installation media then this may not be an option. If you are able to do this and upgrade it is the best solution to fix things and get back up and running and will save you time in future.
Another method that may fix the problem is to repair your installation when prompted in the uninstall interface.
If updating the drivers fails then there is a little trick to help get your VM’s working once more, first ensure all virtual machines are shutdown and all open Vmware related processes and windows are fully closed.
Next launch My Computer and locate where your Virtual machines are stored, if you haven’t changed the installation path your virtual machines will be stored in the default path:
Upon finding your files open the relevant folder and locate a .vmx file inside, you may need to enable hidden file extensions in Windows to see this. Once done you need to right click on the file and select “open with”, from here choose Notepad from the list.
Now that you have that selected press OK and you should see a bunch of text inside of Notepad, this is the main configuration file for the virtual machine you located before. At this point scroll down and look for the following line of code:
vmci0.present = “true”
Simply change the “true” to “false” and keep everything else the same, then just close Notepad and choose save when prompted to save the changes you made. Now that you have edited that file repeat the process for all affected Virtual machines and apply the same change to those .vmx files.
Lastly launch Vmware workstation or Vmware player and your Virtual machine should work fine and boot without any error messages related to the vmci driver.
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