Headless VMware Fusion

You can run VMware Fusion 2 in what is commonly referred to as headless mode. This option is not yet available in Fusion 3, but is handy when you do not want to authenticate at the loginwindow of Mac OS X in order to run virtual machines using the vmware-vmx process. To enable headless mode, first run the following command:

defaults write com.vmware.fusion fluxCapacitor -bool YES

You will then see a Headless option in the View menu. You can toggle it on and off there. If you wish to to then disable headless mode:
defaults write com.vmware.fusion fluxCapacitor -bool NO
While you are in headless mode, you will find it useful to have a way to see the guest OS. You can so so by editing the .vmx files and inserting the following lines in there, which then enable VNC for the virtual machine:
RemoteDisplay.vnc.enabled = “TRUE”
RemoteDisplay.vnc.port = “5901″

4 Comments

  • August 24, 2010 - 5:36 am | Permalink

    Hi Charles,
    in VWware Fusion 3.1 I handle this with vmrun.
    Check my Post: http://www.sf809.de/?p=118
    Regards from Berlin
    Seb.

    • August 24, 2010 - 5:50 am | Permalink

      Nice. So this was fixed in 3.1. Then to quote Seb, the command to do it per instance:

      /Library/Application Support/VMware Fusion/vmrun start /Users/ladmin/Documents/Virtual Machines.localized/Srv2.vmwarevm nogui

      You would then fire that up with a LaunchDaemon or somesuch at boot time so that you would not need to auth at the login window for it to work. Nice Seb, thanks a ton!

  • Vic
    September 2, 2010 - 3:25 am | Permalink

    Yes thanks, but, unless I miss a big point here, isn’t it true that, as soon as you try to open some Mac document with a Windows app (try opening a .doc with Office 2003), then the Fusion gui will launch itslef, and you are back to beginning?
    What’s the point to use this CLI headless command if the Mac gui just starts up once you use the virtual machine?
    I’m sure there’s something I didn’t get yet, because you guys seem so excited about this!…

    • September 2, 2010 - 7:31 am | Permalink

      The point is for servers, not workstations. Hopefully you’re not opening documents with servers.

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