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VMware Workstation 5.0

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Starting and Stopping Virtual Machines on the User's Computer

Use the vmware-fullscreen command to run VMware Workstation in full screen switch mode and to start and stop virtual machines on a user's computer. The command can pass certain information to the virtual machine when it starts.

As administrator, you must decide how to issue the command. For example, you may use a custom application or script running on the host operating system to issue one or more vmware-fullscreen commands. Or you can include the command to start a virtual machine in a shortcut in the host operating system's startup group, so the virtual machine starts automatically when the user logs on to the host computer.

The vmware-fullscreen command must be issued once for each virtual machine you want to start or stop.

vmware-fullscreen -poweron [-s variable=value]
[-name=<alias>] [-directkey=<keyspec>] [-fullscreen] "<config-file>"
When you use the optional switches shown here, the -poweron switch is required and must be the first switch after the vmware-fullscreen command. Provide the full path to the virtual machine's configuration (.vmx) file at the end of the command line. The complete command must be entered on one line.

Use the -s switch to pass a variable name and value to be used in configuring the virtual machine. You may include multiple variable=value pairs in the command. Each variable=value pair must be preceded by -s.

Use -name=<alias> to give a name to the virtual machine. You can the use that alias in -switchto and -poweroff commands.

Use -directkey=<keyspec> to specify the virtual machine's direct-switch key. If a direct-switch key is specified in the virtual machine's configuration file, the one specified on the command line overrides the one in the configuration file.

For example, to start a virtual machine and specify that its direct-switch key combination is Ctrl-Shift-F1, use the following command:

vmware-fullscreen -poweron -directkey=0x70,0x6 "<config-file>"

The complete command must be entered on one line.

Use -fullscreen to start a virtual machine and go straight to full screen switch mode. The virtual machine takes over the display immediately, instead of running invisibly until the user switches to it later.

Starting a Virtual Machine

vmware-fullscreen -poweron "<config-file>"
Use this command to power on the virtual machine without passing any additional information to the virtual machine. Provide the full path to the virtual machine's configuration (.vmx) file.

The user sees no immediate indication that the virtual machine has started, but the user can switch to the virtual machine with its direct-switch key or with the cycle key.

Stopping a Virtual Machine

vmware-fullscreen -poweroff "<config-file>"
vmware-fullscreen -poweroff <alias>
Use this command to shut down the specified virtual machine. You can specify the path to the configuration (.vmx) file, or you can specify the alias if you used -name= when you started the virtual machine.

Stopping All Virtual Machines

vmware-fullscreen -exit
Use this command to power off all virtual machines cleanly. VMware Workstation exits as soon as all the virtual machines have powered off.

Switching Among Virtual Machines and the Host

vmware-fullscreen -switchto "<config-file>"
vmware-fullscreen -switchto <alias>
vmware-fullscreen -switchto host
vmware-fullscreen -switchto next
Use this command to switch to the specified virtual machine, to the host operating system, or to the next machine (virtual machine or host) in the cycling order. A virtual machine must already be powered on before you can switch to it. When specifying a virtual machine, you can specify the path to the configuration (.vmx) file, or you can specify the alias if you used -name= when you started the virtual machine.

Checking the Status of VMware Workstation

vmware-fullscreen -query
This command tells you if VMware Workstation is already running in full screen switch mode. If it is, the response to this command also reports its process ID and window handle.

The vmware-fullscreen Log File

The vmware-fullscreen program writes to a log file. This log file records errors reported by vmware-fullscreen itself as it starts, stops and passes other commands to VMware Workstation. It is separate from the vmware.log file, which stores information on the running virtual machines.

The name of the vmware-fullscreen log file is vmware-<username>-<pid>.log. By default, the vmware-fullscreen log file is in the temp directory for the user logged on to the host computer. This location may be specified in the TEMP environment variable; by default, the location is C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Local Settings\Temp.

The administrator can specify a different location for this log file by adding the following line to the VMware Workstation global configuration file (config.ini):

fullScreenSwitch.log.filename="<path>"

It is best to use a full path. If you use a relative path, the location is relative to the directory that is active when the vmware-fullscreen command is issued for the first time after the host computer reboots.

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