You can attach up to three bidirectional parallel (LPT) ports to a virtual machine. Virtual parallel ports can output to parallel ports or to files on the host system.

Parallel ports are used for a variety of devices, including printers, scanners, dongles, and disk drives. Although these devices can connect to the host system, only printers can reliably connect to virtual machines by using parallel ports.

Workstation provides only partial emulation of PS/2 hardware. Interrupts that a device connected to a physical port requests are not passed to the virtual machine. The guest operating system cannot use direct memory access (DMA) to move data to or from the port. For this reason, not all devices that attach to a parallel port work correctly. Do not use virtual parallel ports to connect parallel port storage devices or other types of parallel port devices to a virtual machine.

If you are using a Linux host system that has a 2.6.x kernel, verify that the parallel port PC-style hardware option (CONFIG_PARPORT_PC) is built and loaded as a kernel module. See Configure a Virtual Parallel Port on a Linux 2.6.x Kernel Host.

If you are using a Linux host system that does not grant virtual machines access to the lp and parport devices by default, add the VMware user to the group that has permission to access those devices. See Configure Permissions for a Parallel Port Device on a Linux Host.

Power off the virtual machine.


Select the virtual machine and select VM > Settings.


On the Hardware tab, click Add.


In the New Hardware wizard, select Parallel Port.


Select where the virtual parallel port sends output.



Use a physical parallel port

Select a parallel port on the host system.

Use output file

Send output from the virtual parallel port to a file on the host system. Either locate an existing output file or browse to a directory and type a filename to create a new output file.


To connect the virtual parallel port to the virtual machine when the virtual machine powers on, select Connect at power on.


Click Finish to add the virtual parallel port to the virtual machine.

When a parallel port is configured for a virtual machine, most guest operating systems detect the port at installation time and install the required drivers. Some operating systems, including Linux, Windows NT, and Windows 2000, detect the ports at boot time.

If the guest operating system is Windows 95 or Windows 98, run the Add New Hardware wizard to detect and add the parallel port.