Full Screen Mode in VMWare

I just setup a new VM using a Windows 2008 R2 server to do some SharePoint 2010 development. To really get started I switched my VM to fill-screen-mode, in order to get more desk-space.

But that just gave me a blank, black screen. Resizing the window works perfectly fine, but not full-screen. Even manually triggering the “fit client” event didn’t do anything good.

The solution was trivial (as usual with this kind of errors): you have to enable 3D acceleration in the VM settings. What a bummer.

Enabling SSO for the VMware Infrastructure Client

Even though you can authenticate to the ESX server using your Active Directory structure, when starting up the client you are prompted to enter username and password. This is just … disturbing.

OK – so just create a copy of the link to the client and change the commandline parameters. Add -passthroughAuth and -s <your servername> to vpxclient.exe and off you go …

Watch them keys!

So I tried to use this neat feature of VMWare to export a running virtual-machine via VNC to a remote desktop. Works great, especially if your virtual-machine (for whatever reason) is not connected to the network, and thus you cannot use remote-desktop or something similar.

But since I’m a german-keyboard-layout user, I wanted to take advantage of my keyboard-layout (hell, I just wanted to use ;!!). But I had to figure out, that this doesn’t seem to work. So first I blamed UltraVNC and so I switch to some ancient version of the good old AT&T VNC 🙂 but nothing changed.

But after some time I got to it … you need to tweak the *.vmx file of your virtual-machine. This is some setting, that is not available through the GUI … just add:

RemoteDisplay.vnc.keyMap = "<xx>"

where can be any language-code whose keyboard-layout it available in C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\VMware\vnckeymap.

Mounting VMWare's shared folders in a Linux-Guest

I do like the feature of shared folders in VMWare a lot, since this takes away the hassel of setting up networking and an FTP-Server or Samba or stuff, just because you want to copy a couple of files.

Well, you could also use the Drag’n’Drop feature of VWMare, which is also very nice, but it’s quite slow on big files, and might not always work right away. Also you’ll be left with a whole bunch of temp files, which made recenlty the 2GB mark on my temp-dir 🙂

Well, so since I’ve been using shared folders for quite some time on Windows-Guests, it was just yesterday that I wanted to use them on a Linux-Guest. On Windows you’ll find in the network neighborhood a machine called .Host, which has a couple of shares (one for each shared folder). But how about Linux? After searching for a little while, I found them … in /mnt/hgfs/ you’ll find the shared folders mounted!

Patching virtual, cloned SQL-Servers

Well, since the existence of the cloned sheep Dolly we all knew, that cloning isn’t just a piece of cake! Well, here is another one:

Today I tried to update one of my development-servers to SP2 of SQL-Server 2005. Everything went just fine … really everything? Nope, the database-engine, the olap-engine and the reporting-services-engine just would not update. All I got was a snappy error Error 29528. The setup has encountered an unexpected error while Setting Internal Properties. The error is: Fatal error during installation..

OK, some time later I figured: it had something to do with me cloning my vmware-machines to save some time. Well, now I came kicking back at me!! But surprisingly Microsoft holds the answer in Knowledge Base article 925976.

Uninstalling VMWare-Tools

After fiddling around with my latest VM running on my ESX server I experienced, that I could not remove the installed and by now outdated VMWare-Tools.

This is most likely because I just imported a VMWare from VMWare Workstation into the ESX 🙁

OK, but there is hope!

Removing the info from the registry worked the best for me. Search for vmware tools.msi in the registry. Delete the subkey similar to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Classes\Installer\Products\8E24D35BB278E034284D0860A513CF1E] that appears in the search with the vmware tools.msi info inside. If you’re paranoid export the subkey to a reg file first, just in case.

After this procedure you should be able to remove the existing installation of VMWare-Tools and install the tools supplied by the ESX.