Thursday, January 28, 2010

VMware Fusion NAT Static IP Addressing

I am building a test Windows Server 2003 system in VMware Fusion. I need to assign the server a static IP address so the server won't complain about being configured for DHCP and also because a real DHCP server would have a static IP address. When I began researching this on the web I found references to editing the file: /Library/Application Support/VMware Fusion/vmnet8/dhcpd.conf

If you add a few lines such as those below to this file your host can remain configured for NAT and the OS can remain configured for DHCP and it will receive the statically assigned DHCP address configured in the dhcpd.conf file

host Windows_Server_2003 {
  hardware ethernet 00:AA:11:BB:22:CC;

If you supply the host with static DHCP via the VMware dhcpd.conf file the OS residing in the host, Windows Server 2003, will still complain that it's configured for DHCP because it doesn't realize it received a static DHCP address. I want to do this the easiest way possible and hopefully as close to reality as possible. Fortunately after googling some more I discovered VMware Fusion reserves the lower half of the subnet for static IP addressing and the upper half for DHCP. It is easier and works better for me to forget about configuring the dhcpd.conf file, leave the host configured for NAT, and manually configure the OS residing in the host for a static IP address within the range VMware reserves for static IP addressing.

The following VMware article was my reference for the addressing even though the addresses it lists are in a different subnet than the one VMware Fusion uses:

On my VMware Fusion installation I believe the addressing is as follows:

Address Use on a NAT Network


Address use



Host machine


NAT device


Static addresses




DHCP server



I was able to successfully leave my host set to NAT, and manually configure Windows Server 2003 with the following:

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