VMware Fusion virtualization engines

As I was playing around with VMware Fusion tonight in an attempt to migrate some information off my Fusion installation to my new VirtualBox Windows 7 virtual machine, I took a look at the advanced settings page for my Fusion virtual machine and came across the Preferred virtualization engine option that I hadn’t seen before. Available in this selection were a number of options related to how VMware Fusion chooses the virtualization engine that it will use to run the virtual machine.

From the VMware Fusion help file, here is what each option means.


Help file description

Additional information


The VMware Fusion default. 

Allows VMware Fusion to determine which virtualization option makes the most sense for the virtual machine.

Auto Replay 

Option unsupported in VMware Fusion. A virtual machine created in Workstation might have this set as a value. 


Binary Translation 

A virtualization technique for the x86 architecture in which the instruction stream is inspected and machine instructions that are not virtualizable are replaced with safe code. 

Binary translation—an all software virtualization tool – actively translates commands and negates the need for hardware-based virtualization tools. For more information, visit this Wikipedia page.

Intel VT-x 

The Intel implementation of hardware-assisted virtualization, a technique in which the CPU allows software to specify instructions that are not virtualizable to cause traps, making them virtualizable. All Intel Macs have this feature.

In the early days of VT-x and AMD’s counterpart, hardware virtualization didn’t quite match the performance of BT but as newer generations of processors are released, this technology continues to be optimized and can beat Binary Translation. All new Intel Macs support VT. For more information about this option, visit this Wikipedia page.

Intel VTx with EPT 

EPT (Extended Page Tables) is an improvement to hardware-assisted virtualization technology that provides virtual MMU (Memory Management Unit) support.

This is similar to VT-x, but adds support for Extended Page Tables and is available in Nehalem-based CPUs. For more information, visit this Wikipedia page


Indicates an option unsupported in VMware Fusion 


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