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VMware Fusion: Configuring Shared Folder Access 
Audience: All

Operating System: Mac OS X;Linux
Article Number: 750 .5.0

Updated: 1/4/2013 11:35 AM
This article provides the steps to necessary to make folders from your host OS available to a virtual machine using VMware Fusion.

VMware Tools

VMware Tools must be installed for shared folders to function. For more information about VMware Tools, see the vmware article Overview of VMware Tools for VMware Fusion. This article contains information about this utility and instructions for installation. 

Sharing a Folders with a Virtual Machine

The Shared Folders feature enables you to access your Mac's folders from your virtual machine. To access your virtual machine's folders from the Mac, you need to set up mirrored folders or create a network share.


To configure a shared folder in a Windows virtual machine:

  1. Launch VMware Fusion application.
  2. Power on the virtual machine.
  3. Click the Virtual Machine Menu, then select Settings.
  4. Select Sharing.
  5. Select Share folders on your Mac.
  6. Click the + button.
  7. Browse to the folder on the Mac that will be shared with the virtual machine and click Add.

Shared folders can be accessed via the VMware Shared Folders shortcut on the Windows desktop or the mapped network drive Z:.


To configure a shared folder in a Linux virtual machine:1

  1. Launch VMware Fusion.
  2. Power off the virtual machine.
  3. Click the Virtual Machine menu, then select Settings.
  4. Click Shared Folders.
  5. Click the + button.
  6. Enter the share name, browse to the folder on the Mac that will be shared with the virtual machine and click Add.
  7. Click Apply, then OK.
  8. Power on the virtual machine.
  9. Open the Terminal utility in the guest operating system.
  10. Browse to the Host Guest File System (HGFS) folder by running this command: cd /mnt/hgfs

Configuring Mirrored Folders2

Mirrored folders allow the Mac and the virtual machine to see the same content in the default personal data folders that are specified.

For example, mirrored folders allows for:

  • Content saved to the Mac desktop also appears on the Windows desktop, and vice-versa.
  • Content saved in the My Documents folder in Windows also appears in the Mac user's Documents folder, and vice-versa.

The mirrored content resides on the Mac, so that it's accessible even when the virtual machine is off. Mirrored folders work by redirecting where Windows looks for certain user folders (Desktop, Documents, Music, Pictures) from their default Windows locations to the corresponding locations on the Mac. It does this by means of registry redirects.

To configure a mirrored folder in a virtual machine:3

  1. Launch VMware Fusion.
  2. Run the virtual machine.
  3. From Fusion's menu bar, click the Virtual Machine menu, then select Settings.
  4. Click Sharing.
  5. Enable each folder you would like to mirror (Desktop, Documents, Music, or Pictures).
  6. Close the Settings window.
  7. Restart your virtual machine for these changes to take effect.


Contact the KIS FaStCATS if you have any questions or if you require assistance.

1 Note: Whenever the Linux kernel (Operating System) is updated, VMware Tools will need to be reinstalled.

2 Mirrored folders are not available in a Boot Camp virtual machine, since the Mac folders are not available when booted natively in Boot Camp.

3 It is recommended to move data from the Windows folder in the virtual machine prior to enabling it as a mirrored folder. Any data present prior when mirroring is enabled becomes unavailable after following these steps.

However, files in the Windows folders before mirroring is started are not overwritten by mirroring. They remain present in in their original location. That location is in the appropriate subfolder of C:\Documents and Settings\<your username> for Windows XP and C:\Users\<your username> for Windows Vista, 7, and 8.