We noticed with recent Microsoft updates,
VMware Workstation Pro and Player versions 15.0 and earlier can no longer be launched on Windows 10 1903, after these Windows 10 KBs are applied. After investigation we found following entries were added to Windows 10 Application Compatibility Database (shim database), which will block Workstation and Player with the versions less than or equal to 15.0.
We have reported this problem to Microsoft and working with them on a solution.
As a workaround for Workstation 15.0 customers, you can upgrade to the latest Workstation 15.5 which is a free update. For Workstation 15.0 and prior versions, you could uninstall above Microsoft KBs. If you have concerns about uninstalling above KBs, there are couple of workarounds as mentioned in following community threads:
We are sorry for any inconvenience caused by this.
Appreciate your understanding and we will work with Microsoft for a solution as soon as we can.
VMware Workstation Team
Any update on this?
Updating to v15.5 is a "solution" for most folks with this problem, but there are still some folks running x32 versions of Windows 10, and for those updating to v15.5 isn't an option, since it requires an x64 OS.
It's very frustrating that earlier versions were working just fine until v1903 … clearly that indicates that they CAN work okay, but Microsoft is simply blocking them with the most recent updates.