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Accessing the VMWare Fusion BIOS

As noted in the Known Issues section of the VMWare Fusion Release Notes, the VMWare Fusion BIOS goes by way too fast to give you a chance to access it. The only way you can access it is by modifying the .vmx configuration file for the VM:

The VMware Fusion BIOS posts too quickly to access.

Most users will not need to access the BIOS, but advanced users might want to do so, to change the boot order, set a boot password, or enable a second floppy drive. To work around this problem, use a text editor to add the following line to the configuration (.vmx) file of the virtual machine:

bios.forceSetupOnce = "TRUE"

The next time you boot up the virtual machine, it will automatically boot into the BIOS. This configuration option then reverts to FALSE. You must set the option to TRUE each time you want to boot the virtual machine into the BIOS.

Having trouble finding the .vmx file?

You cannot edit the .vmx file by opening it with Finder. You need to use the Terminal to edit the file. Here's how you do that:

Launch Terminal (Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal.app) and navigate to the folder (or directory) where your Virtual Machines are stored. To do this, you use the "cd" command. For example, my Virtual Machines are stored in Documents -> Virtual Machines, so I type the following to change into that directory: cd Documents/Virtual Machines/ and then press Enter.

Now you need to change into the directory that matches the name of your Virtual Machine. For example, let's say it's called "Windows XP" -- you would type cd Windows XP/. (Note that you have to "escape" spaces in the folder name by preceding them with a backslash.)

Once you're there, you can use the "ls" command (that's a lowercase L) to list the contents of that folder. You should see the .vmx file you're looking for. Now to edit that file in TextEdit, simply run the following command: open -e *.vmx.

That's it! Now you can edit the file as described above to enable the BIOS.

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15 Comments

  1. Hey man, I could totally use this tip, only problem is im such a newbie i cant find the .vmx file on my mac (OSx 10.6). Can you help me out with a walk through on how to find the .vmx file and what i do once i find it to implement your tip so i can get into BIOS

    Thanks a bunch

  2. Instead of using the terminal, you can just rename the vm file by removing the .vmwarevm and it becomes a folder which you can browse inside finder, then locate the .vmx file. Obviously once you’ve finished, you’ll need to add the .vmwarevm extension back to the folder to make it a vmwarevm file.

    Great tip on the bios! Thanks heaps.

  3. Use the context menu (right-click for those with mice that have a right-hand button) and “Show Contents” of the .vmwarevm file in question. Then right-click again and “open with…” a word processor other than Textedit.app. It doesn’t seem to like it much.

    -Tom

  4. I found this useful, as an extension of your post:

    That happens if a Supervisor password has been set within the BIOS. I just tested this and can reproduce the behavior you’re describing. If you can’t remember the password that was set, and you have write access to the VM’s nvram file, you can wipe that file out (make a backup first!) and the BIOS will be reset to factory defaults.

    EDIT: So it looks like this can happen if your VM’s .vmx file already has a bootOrder defined. I tried deleting that line from the .vmx, saving the change, and starting the VM. Then the Boot menu was available.

    Cited from: https://communities.vmware.com/message/2297444

Webmentions

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