The VMware Tools Control Panel

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This chapter assumes that VMware Tools have been successfully installed and configured on one or more VMware Server 2.0 guest operating systems. If this is not yet the case, a review of the previous chapter is recommended before proceeding with this chapter.

Assuming VMware Tools are installed and running, this chapter will cover the subject of the VMware Tools control panel.

Contents


[edit] Accessing the VMware Tools Control Panel

The VMware Tools control panel provides a graphical environment in which a variety of VMware Tools settings may be configured and virtual disks reduced in size (although this feature is not available for pre-allocated virtual disks).

The default configuration for VMware Tools on Windows should have placed a VMware Tools icon in the Windows notification area in the bottom right hand corner of the Windows task bar (where the date and time are typically displayed) and also as an icon in the Windows Control Panel (accessed via Start->Control Panel).

The following figure illustrates a taskbar from a Windows Server 2008 desktop containing the VMware Tools icon (the second icon from the left in the notification area):


The Vmware Tools icon in the Windows notification area


Once the taskbar icon has been located, double click on it to invoke the VMware Tools control panel interface. In the event that the icon is not present in the notification area, it may be configured to appear by first launching the VMware Tools control panel from the Windows Control Panel, (choose Start->Control Panel and double click on the VMware Tools icon) and selecting the Show VMware Tools in the taskbar option. Once selected, click on Apply and the icon will subsequently appear in the taskbar notification area. Dismiss the VMware Tool control panel by clicking on the OK button.

To invoke the VMware Tools control panel on Linux and Solaris systems, simply execute the following at a command-line prompt (note that since the control panel will appear in its own window on the desktop the trailing '&' character is used to run the process in the background, thereby freeing up the command line shell for running other commands):

/usr/bin/vmware-toolbox&

Once loaded, the control panel will appear as follows:


The VMware Tools Control Panel

[edit] Configuring Host and Guest Time Synchronization

The VMware Tools control panel consists of a number of tabs which serve to display different groups of configuration options. The first tab, labeled Options, contains a number of miscellaneous configuration settings, perhaps the most significant of which relates to time synchronization between host and guest systems.

The Time synchronization between the virtual machine and the host operating system setting controls whether VMware Tools checks at one minute intervals to ensure the guest operating system's time has not fallen behind that of the host system. Deselecting this option prevents VMware Tools from performing this check while the guest system is up and running. Strangely, however, it does not prevent the synchronization check from being performed when the virtual machine is started, resumed, restored from a snapshot, or when the size of virtual disk is reduced using VMware Tools.

For finer grained control over time synchronization settings, it is necessary to edit the virtual machine's .vmx configuration file and set the respective options to either TRUE or FALSE based on the following table:

Configuration Setting

Description

time.synchronize.tools.startup

Specifies whether a time synchronization between guest and host is performed when the virtual machine is started or rebooted.

time.syncTime Specifies whether a check should be performed every minute to ensure the time of a running guest system does not lag that of the host.

time.synchronize.restore

Specifies whether a time synchronization between guest and host is performed when the virtual machine is restored from a snapshot.

time.synchronize.resume.disk

Specifies whether a time synchronization between guest and host is performed when a suspended virtual machine session is resumed.

time.synchronize.continue

Specifies whether a time synchronization between guest and host is performed when a snapshot of the virtual machine is taken.

time.synchronize.shrink

Specifies whether a time synchronization between guest and host is performed when VMware Tools are used to shrink a virtual disk assigned to the virtual machine.

[edit] Miscellaneous Configuration Options

In addition to the time synchronization setting, the Options tab of the VMware Tools control panel also includes two additional options which are specific to Windows guest operating systems.

When selected, the Show VMware Tools in the taskbar option displays the VMware Tools icon within the notification area of the Windows taskbar. Double clicking on this icon will invoke the VMware Tools control panel.

The Notify if update is available option causes the taskbar icon to be displayed with a yellow warning symbol when an update to VMware Tools is available for installation from the host system. In the event that an update is available, the Update Tools button will be enabled and may be pressed to initiate the upgrade process.

[edit] Device Configuration Options

The device tab of the VMware Tools control panel allows certain removable devices to be attached to and detached from the virtual machine from within the guest operating system. In the event that a device is not listed on this page of the control panel it can still be attached and detached using the Devices menu of the VMware Remote Console.

[edit] VMware Tools Script Configuration

The VMware Tools control panel Scripts tab displays a number of configuration options relating to scripts. Scripts perform tasks when the virtual machine in which the guest operating system is running is powered on, powered off, suspended or resumed. Default scripts are installed and configured to run when VMware Tools is installed on the guest. This page of the control panel, allows the default scripts to be enabled or disabled for each power state, or custom scripts to be specified. In addition, any existing script can be run by selecting the power state from the drop down menu and clicking on the Run Now button.

The VMware Tools scripts are covered in more detail in the Working with VMware Tools Scripts and Power States chapter.

[edit] Shrinking Virtual Disks using the VMware Tools Control Panel

The shrink tab of the VMware Tools control panel allows virtual disks associated with the virtual machine to be reduced in size by reclaiming unused areas on the disk. In the first instance, free space on the disk is reclaimed within the guest operating system. Subsequently, the virtual disk image on the host file system is then reduced in size by the VMware Server software.

In order to be able to perform a shrink operation the virtual disk must have been created as a growable disk and there must be no current snapshots of the virtual machine. If the virtual disk is an independent disk it must be in persistent mode. In the case of Linux guest operating systems, the operation must be performed as superuser. For further information on shrinking virtual disks in VMware Server 2.0 and converting pre-allocated virtual disks to growable disks, refer to the chapter entitled Managing VMware Server 2.0 Virtual Disks.


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