Tips for installing Windows 7 x32 SP1 on Workstation 16.1.2

Posted on Updated on

This past weekend I needed to install Windows 7 x32 to support some older software. After installing Windows 7 x32 I noticed VMware tools is grayed out.  I then tried to install VMware tools manually but it failed. There are a few tricks when installing Windows 7 x32 on to Workstation 16.1.2 and in this blog I’ll cover the the steps I took.

So what changed and why all these extra steps?

You may recall that Workstation 16.0.0 could install Windows 7SP1 x32 without any additionally intervention. Starting September 2019, Microsoft added SHA-2 algorithm requirements for driver signing.  As Workstation 16 released updates it too included updated VMtools that were complaint with the Microsoft SHA-2 requirements.  So if you deploy the Windows 7 SP1 x32 ISO (which doesn’t have the SHA-2 patch) the vmtools install will fail because it cannot validate the drivers. For a bit more information See VMware KB 78655.

What are options to fix this?

By default Windows 7×32 SP1 doesn’t include the needed SHA-2 updates.  Users have 2 choices for new installs

  1. Create an updated Windows 7SP1 ISO by slip streaming in the Convenience Rollup Patch (More details here) and then use this ISO to do the install on Workstation
  2. After Windows 7 SP1 is installed, then manually install the SHA-2 update, and then install VMtools.  See steps below.

Steps for Option 2:

  • First I created a new Workstation VM. When creating it I made sure the ISO path pointed to the Windows 7 SP1 ISO and Workstation adjusted the VM hardware to be compatible with Windows 7 SP1.  I allowed the OS installation to complete.
  • After the OS was installed I applied the following MS Patch.
  • After the rebooted, I went into Workstation and did the following:
    • Right clicked on the VM > Settings > CD/DVD
    • Made sure ‘Devices status’ was check for connected and connect at power on
    • Clicked on ‘Use ISO Image’ > Browse
    • Browsed to this folder ‘C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Workstation’
    • Choose ‘windows.iso’
    • Choose OK to closed the VM Settings
    • Back in the Windows 7 VM I went into File Explorer opened up the CD and ran setup.exe
    • From there I followed the default steps to install VM Tools and rebooted
  • Screenshot of the final outcome

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.