Shared folders overview

Using shared folders, you can share files among virtual machines and between virtual machines and the host system. The shared directories can be on the host system, or they can be network directories that are accessible from the host computer. They can save you a lot of time, especially when you are installing software that would otherwise take a long time to download.

To use shared folders, you must install VMware Tools in the guest operating system, specify which directories are to be shared, and use one of the following supported guest operating systems:

  • Windows Server 2003
  • Windows XP
  • Windows 2000
  • Windows NT 4.0
  • Windows Vista
  • Windows 7
  • Linux with a kernel version of 2.6 or later
  • Solaris x86 10
  • Solaris x86 10 Update 1 and later


You cannot open a file in a shared folder from more than one application at a time. For example, you cannot open the same file in an application on the host operating system and in another application in the guest operating system. If either of the applications writes to the file, data might become corrupted.


In the next lesseon we will describe how to enable shared folders for a virtual machine and how to access the shared folders from Windows and Linux guest operating systems.

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