VMware Fusion & ESXi - quirks and tricks

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VMware Fusion is VMware Workstation for Mac OS X

This is a quirks and tricks article for reference. Sometimes… but only sometimes… this might be helpful.

##Quirks - issues that exist

Quirks - issues that exist

The following sections exemplify quirks in VMware Fusion and VMware ESXi. The solutions section uses large letters so that it’s easier to scroll towards the application of a fix.

No DHCP for guests on VMware Fusion

This may affect Mac OS X with VMware Fusion.


A guest system does not have network connectivity, using NATing and internal (shared) networking with the host. The interfaces do not get an IP. The DHCP client times out, and does not get a lease.

Version (tested with): VMware Fusion 10.1.1


The DHCP client / the setup of the guest is sane. The network config of the interfaces is sane.
All issues indicate, that the DHCP server is not working.

Solution: restart the VMware Fusion DHCP server with the vmnet-cli

It’s dead, Jim.

➜  VMware Fusion sudo /Applications/VMware\ Fusion.app/Contents/Library/vmnet-cli --stop
Stopped DHCP service on vmnet1
Disabled hostonly virtual adapter on vmnet1
Stopped DHCP service on vmnet8
Stopped NAT service on vmnet8
Disabled hostonly virtual adapter on vmnet8
Stopped all configured services on all networks
➜  VMware Fusion sudo /Applications/VMware\ Fusion.app/Contents/Library/vmnet-cli --start
Enabled hostonly virtual adapter on vmnet1
Started DHCP service on vmnet1
Started NAT service on vmnet8
Enabled hostonly virtual adapter on vmnet8
Started DHCP service on vmnet8
Started all configured services on all networks

On the respective guest (example is an Ubuntu Linux):

➜  ~ sudo /etc/init.d/networking restart
[ ok ] Restarting networking (via systemctl): networking.service.

➜  ~ cat /etc/network/interfaces
# interfaces(5) file used by ifup(8) and ifdown(8)
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

auto ens33
iface ens33 inet dhcp

After the restart, the guest should have gotten an IP:

➜  ~ ifconfig ens33
ens33     Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:0c:29:c7:76:a0  
          inet addr:  Bcast:  Mask:

Keyboard layout won't switch on Vmware Embedded Host Client for ESXi (Web)

This may affect web sessions within the browser (IE, Chrome, Firefox…).


The keyboard layout appears to be wrong. Usually US, regardless of the settings in the guest OS or on the client OS.

Version (tested with): ESXi 6.5 with the Host Client.


Setting the guest OS keyboard layout correctly, in correspondence with the host:

setxkbmap de

You can either switch the keyboard layout with setxkbmap de (in this particular case), or with the desktop environment tools. It still won’t affect the session.


Check the flag in the window title bar:


The region and language settings of the host only seem to matter to the client applications (VMRC, VMware Workstation as the client). They don’t matter to the VNC window within the Vmware Host Client.

All three layers should be set correctly to be sure:

  1. Client OS (with the browser)
  2. VMware Embedded Host Client (the VMware Web server)
  3. Guest OS

It may not be necessary to touch the Client OS at all. For the VMRC / VMware Workstation or Fusion clients the Client OS settings are relevant.

These tools also allow copy-paste actions between the Client and the Guest OS.

Application windows won't resize even though open-vm-tools-desktop or VMware Tools are installed and working

This may affect Windows and Linux guests.


Guests with a graphical UI can dynamically scale the resolution based on the client’s window size. Typically this feature becomes available after the VMware Tools or open-vm-desktop-tools get installed.

After an upgrade to Ubuntu 17.10 I realized that even though the installation of the guest utilities was sane, the feature remained inactive.


dpkg -l | grep open-vm
/etc/init.d/open-vm-tools status

All seemed sane. Restarts did not yield any results, in regards to making the feature available.

Solution: ESXi provisioning of video memory

I needed to provision additional memory to the virtual video card to get the resizing feature back.


By default ESXi 6.5 provisions about 4 MB to the video adapter, which is not enough for high resolutions any more.

Version (tested with): On VMware ESXi 6.5 - Kali Linux, RemNux, SANS SIFT, Ubuntu 17.10, Windows 8.1, Windows 10. For the VMware Remote Console (VMRC) 10.0.2 build-7096020 was used. And the official release of the ESXi Embedded Host Client.


3.4.2018 - published: VMware Fusion DHCP server restart
4.4.2018 - added version
7.5.2018 - added ESXi fixes, edited the format