The amazing adventures of Doug Hughes

VMWare Fusion Tricks

I have two quick VMWare Fusion tricks I wanted to share with you today.

Powering Off Your Virtual Machine

So, like many Mac users, I have Windows running in VMWare. Problem is, twice now Windows has automatically applied updates and hung while rebooting. All I see in the VM is a message saying Windows is rebooting. But nothing ever happens. The problem is, it seems as if there’s nothing you can do. If you use the Shut Down Guest command VMWare simply tries to tell Windows, which is already stuck, to reboot and nothing happens.

Sending a Control-Alt-Delete does nothing as well. I even tried using the Activity Monitor to kill VMWare but when I restarted VMWare the Virtual Machine was still sitting there in the same state. It turns out that there’s an annoyingly hidden feature of VMWare which allows you to virtually power off your Virtual Machine. By default, this is what the Virtual Machine menu in VMWare looks like:


Note that the highlighted option reads “Shut Down Guest”. If you hold down the option key while looking at this menu you will instead see the following menu:


Note that we now have two options, Power off and Reset. Either of these will do the job and let you reboot the hung Virtual Machine.

Using VMWare with Spaces

The final trick I have is more of a tip. I’ve not been a big fan of Unity mode. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s fantastic, but it just doesn’t work well with how I work. That, and though it’s amazing engineering, it still has a ways to go. Historically I’d simply keep Windows in a window. But, a couple weeks ago I had an epiphany and realized I could enable spaces in OS X 10.5 and set Windows to run in full screen on that space! I tried it and found that it works really well. To move to Windows I simply hit Ctrl-right arrow and I slide to windows. To go back to OS X I simply hit Ctrl-left. Who knows, maybe you’ll like this too.

Comments on: "VMWare Fusion Tricks" (11)

  1. hey good last tip!

    good ol’ epiphanies…



  2. Peter Ross said:

    That power off tip is what I’v been hunting for now for 6 weeks. FANTASTIC, thanks !!


  3. You really shouldn’t have to google up a hidden trick just to shut off a VM. This is the first time I’ve been truly dissapointed in VMware fusion. Especially since it’s primary audience is going to install Windows…. you have to account for lockups! 🙂 Thank you for the tip. keyword vmware fusion shut down power off hung crash locked up windows xp


  4. Simply thank you!
    I needed that ‘Power Off’ option so badly and was getting more than frustrated. Never thought of spaces but I will definitely give it a try. And thanks to Ken for the keywords.


  5. Great tip. Thank you. I don’t understand why VMWare just didn’t make this a menu option.


  6. Thank you!


  7. Thanks!!


  8. Paul Rose said:

    Awesome tip – thanks a bunch!


  9. Thanks for taking the time to share the tips! I have just used the “Power Off” with success and will try the Spaces suggestion soon. Much appreciated!


  10. I love you man…I thought my system was trashed until this. 🙂


  11. Excellent tip about holding the Option Key while viewing the Virtual Machine menu, to expose the hidden “Power Off” selection. I was really stuck looking for the VM equivalent of holding the power button on the virtual Windows XP machine.

    Very cool!


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