VMware Workstation, Windows 7, and the Registry

Like everyone and their brother, I installed Windows 7 the first chance I got, except I installed it on the bare metal on a machine that my kids use. It works great!

Except… I couldn’t get VMware Workstation networking going in my VM’s. Attempts to connect would result in the error "VMnet0:Overlapped I/O operation is in progress. Failed to connect virtual device Ethernet0." No big deal, it’s just the kids machine. Of course, this week (for reasons of no interest to anyone but me) I needed the networking. I figured a quick uninstall/reinstall would do the trick because I know other people are running VMware Workstation just fine on Windows 7.

Since I rarely need the machine for actual work I figured the issues might be because the installation was out of date. I checked and, sure enough, that machine had an old version. Unfortunately, I could not uninstall VMware or upgrade or reinstall – the installer would fail every time with an unknown error. A quick trip to the VMware forums suggested that I try a manual uninstall using the vmware installer’s /c switch. This did not help and I had to use System Restore to get the Windows 7 machine running again.

So, I asked twitter, and John Agan asked if I’d tried ccleaner. A quick install and pass on the registry later and all my uninstall/install troubles went away and my VM’s can now connect to the network. The morals of the story are, Windows System Restore is an awesome feature (not new in Windows 7, but still awesoms) and if you upgraded to Windows 7 from an existing Vista install and you are having problems no one else is having, try running one of the many registry cleaners out there. CCleaner did a fine job for me.

Author: Doug Ware