Using the VMWare Workstation Command Line – vmrun.exe

As the last blog post for this year (we all do need a break once in a while), I would like to focus on the use of a command-line utility for administering VMWare. The reason for this is that I need to start/stop VMWare images using the command-line whenever I do Microsoft presentations (I don’t want them to know that I am no longer using Virtual PC unless they read this blog entry). Since I started using multimedia in my presentations, running multiple virtual machines simultaneously uses a lot of resources on my machine, causing my videos to stall. That’s not a pleasant scene if you happen to be the audience. My solution is to use the command-line utility to start/stop the virtual images from within PowerPoint. VMware has a command-line utility called vmrun.exe (VMWare Server uses vmware-run.exe) which you can use to start/stop VMWare images. You’ll find this in the VMWare Workstation folder, typically inside the C:Program Files folder. There are a lot of parameters for this command but I will only focus on what I need. To see a list of virtual images running, you can use the list parameter as follows: vmrun list. This will show you the number of images running and the corresponding filenames for those images. This typically includes the path and the filename of the file hosting the image. Take note of this as you will use this as a value to the parameters you need to pass to the vmrun.exe command. To understand this a bit better, let’s say you want to start an image named test.vmx in a folder named D:test to start that image, you need to run this command
vmrun start D:testtest.vmx
Just make sure that you are in the directory where vmrun.exe is located. If the location happens to include spaces between names, just enclose the path with double-quotes.To stop the image, just replace the start parameter with stop. Now, what I did with my VMWare console is that I have configured my images to run in the background when I close the console so that I no longer have to switch back and forth just to manage the image. Besides, Windows has the Remote Desktop feature that allows me to log in to the server. This keeps my machine from showing any hints of running VMWare except for the icon in the System Tray.

And if I accidentally open anything VMWare during any of my presentations, I have a very good excuse – “Technology doesn’t revolve around Microsoft.” This is bass_player signing off for 2007

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