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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Built-in VNC on your VMWare virtual machines.

Here's a cool feature you might find handy for remotely controlling/managing virtual machines via VNC.

VNC display support is actually pre-installed in many of the VMWare products. The tip I found said this was for VMWare server, however in my own testing I found that it worked with VMWare Player hosted virtual sessions as well.

To enable this feature, all you need to do to is to locate and open up the .vmx file for the virtual machine in a text editor, and add the following line:

RemoteDisplay.vnc.enabled = TRUE

Adding this line enables standard VNC display support for the virtual machine. After doing so, just launch your virtual machine and then your VNC Viewer and enter the host's IP address (not the virutal machine's IP) into the VNC server field.

You can also add a "RemoteDisplay.vnc.port = " (i.e. "RemoteDisplay.vnc.port = 5902") line to specify a unique port otherwise by default it will use 5900. One key thing to note, each different simultaneous virtual machine on the same host will require a different port number, especially if you already have VNC server installed and enabled on your host system at port 5900.

See the kb article from VMware below for more information.

Here's an excerpt from one of my virtual machine .vmx files that I'm successfully using this on...

RemoteDisplay.vnc.enabled = TRUE
RemoteDisplay.vnc.port = 5902

Have any other cool tricks or tips for VMware / VNC or let me know if you find this useful?