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VMware Workstation 3.2

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Restricting the User Interface

Restricting the User Interface

The restricted user interface affects only the specific virtual machines for which the setting has been made. The following changes are made when you enable the restricted user interface:

  • Toolbars are always hidden.
  • The Power menu is disabled.
  • There is no access to the Configuration Editor from the VMware Workstation window.
  • The user cannot change bridged networking settings.
  • The user starts the virtual machine by double-clicking the configuration file (.vmx file) or a desktop shortcut to that file. The virtual machine powers on automatically. At the end of the working session, the user shuts down by closing the VMware Workstation window.

    It is also possible to launch VMware Workstation, then open a restricted-interface virtual machine from the virtual machine list or the File menu.

The changes needed to enable the restricted user interface must be made by a user with sufficient privileges to edit the virtual machine's configuration file and set file permissions as described below.

Take the following steps to enable the restricted user interface.

  1. Power off the virtual machine and close the VMware Workstation window, then open the virtual machine's configuration file (.vmx file) in Notepad or another text editor. Add the following line anywhere in the file.

    gui.restricted = "true"

  2. Set file permissions on the configuration file so normal users of the system have only read access to the file.

  3. For the convenience of users, create a shortcut to the configuration file on the desktop and give it an appropriate name.

Using Repeatable Resume with a Restricted User Interface

Using Repeatable Resume with a Restricted User Interface

You can combine a restricted user interface with the repeatable resume feature. Typically, users running a virtual machine with a restricted user interface can power it on and off only, and the virtual machine boots when powered on. When the virtual machine has a repeatable resume point set, the user can resume and power off the virtual machine only. The virtual machine always starts from point at which you set the repeatable resume. For more information on repeatable resume, see Resuming Virtual Machines Repeatedly from the Same Point.

When the virtual machine has the repeatable resume feature enabled, you can restrict the user interface, even though the virtual machine is suspended and not powered off. This can be desirable for product demonstrations or classrooms, where you do not want your users modifying your virtual machine.

Since you can restrict the user interface only on Windows hosts, this combination works only with virtual machines running on Windows hosts.

To set up a virtual machine with repeatable resume and restricted user interface, complete the following steps.

  1. Set the repeatable resume point. With the virtual machine powered off, do the following:

    1. Open the Configuration Editor. Choose Settings > Configuration Editor.
    2. Set all disks associated with the virtual machine to nonpersistent mode.
    3. Click the Options tab, then check the Enable repeatable resume check box.
    4. Power on the virtual machine and suspend it at the desired point. This becomes the virtual machine's repeatable resume point.
  2. With the virtual machine suspended, restrict the user interface. Close the VMware Workstation window, then open the virtual machine's configuration file (.vmx file) in Notepad or another text editor. Add the following line anywhere in the file.
    gui.restricted = "true"

  3. Set file permissions on the configuration file so normal users of the system have only read access to the file.

  4. For the convenience of users, create a shortcut to the configuration file on the desktop and give it an appropriate name.

The user runs this virtual machine by double-clicking the shortcut to the configuration file. The virtual machine resumes to its previously set repeatable resume point, with the user interface restricted - with no toolbar and no access to the Power menu or the Configuration Editor.

When the user is finished working with this virtual machine, he or she can click the X button in the upper right corner of the Workstation window to close it. The virtual machine powers off, and the next time it is resumed, it returns to the repeatable resume point.

To remove the restriction on the interface, complete the following steps.

  1. Power off the virtual machine to suspend it and close the VMware Workstation window.

  2. Open the configuration file (.vmx) file and do one of the following:

    • Set gui.restricted = "false".
    • Remove or comment out the gui.restricted = "true" line.

      Save the changes to the configuration file and close it.

  3. Resume the virtual machine by double-clicking the shortcut. The virtual machine resumes from its repeatable resume point, and the interface is not restricted.

  4. If you want to disable repeatable resume, with the virtual machine running, open the Configuration Editor, click the Options tab, clear the Enable repeatable resume check box, then power off the virtual machine.

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