Current version: 15.5.2
OK, I’m skipping all the troubleshooting it took to discover this issue, but the short version is that when you install VMware Workstation Pro, it (apparently) “picks” something as the default network, for the “Bridged” setting that is used within the Virtual Network Editor setup. But, it apparently does not “tag” that selection as being a persistent setting (i.e. as though it were manually selected by the user… and I’m assuming that if it is manually selected, that it is persistent, because if it isn’t, then that would be even more inappropriate than the problem described below).
In my case, I have one physical NIC on my system, and no other network connections, so when I installed Workstation Pro, and left the Bridged selection on Automatic, the installer “magically” configured the Bridged network to point at my physical NIC (as it was the sole choice).
Months later, I happened to upgrade my BOINC application (look it up, if you are curious), to a more robust version that has VirtualBox (another virtual machine environment) bundled into it. I use Workstation Pro sporadically, and again, months after installing the aforementioned BOINC+VirtualBox, I fired up one of my (Linux) virtual machines in Workstation Pro (… a guest, whose sole network interface is bridged), and found that although the network status “looked fine” from within that guest system, it couldn’t “see/touch” anything on my network.
(Again, long trouble-shooting exercise inserted here.)
So, based upon a troubleshooting article (after my own failed efforts to discover the problem), I finally got to a step that suggested looking at the configuration in the Virtual Network Editor. It was there that I discovered that after adding that VirtualBox environment to my system, there was now a new (virtual) NIC instance available in the “Bridged” section of the VNE dialog. (In hindsight, the new virtual interface was no surprise.) AND, it was obvious that after that (BOINC+VB) installation activity, the next time that Workstation Pro started (i.e. it starts at each boot, so presumably that happened the next time I rebooted), it simply decided to pick the interface (now present in my system), which was associated with VirtualBox. Of course, that “under the covers, reconfiguration within VNE”, is what left my guest non-functional.
So, my “suggestion” (Request for Enhancement) is that when you install Workstation Pro, and at whatever point that its “Automatic” association of the default Bridged network is made, THAT SELECTION SHOULD BE PERSIST. I.E. from that point on, “Automatic” should be tied only to that initially selected interface, until either: 1) That interface no longer exists at reboot time; or 2) A user makes a specific selection within VNE, to choose something different.
Put simply, it should never simply “jump” to some completely different interface, that just happens to appear as the result of some subsequent, system configuration activity. To say that this is “not a user-friendly behavior” is an understatement. (And now, with some major Windows 10 OS upgrades now happening on a regular basis, when something like this “breaks”, it is very easy to head down some false trails, wondering if some of those updates have been the root cause of the problem.)
Hopefully my suggested enhancement is clear. Thanks for listening…