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Start Virtual Machines minimized in VMWare Player

Posted on 2011-02-18
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We have a server running ubuntu desktop 10.04 and VMWare Player 3.1.  We have 8 Windows XP Virtual machines that we use for a training class.  These machines are set up so that guests can come in with their laptops and rdp into their own virtual desktop which is preconfigured with our software and settings.

We keep all the "Master VM's" in ./home/user/VirtualMachines.  Our script copies all of the machines over to a folder on the desktop called Training VM then auto launches all the vm's.  Once the training is finished, the trainer runs a script that deletes the training folder then empties the trash so they can start with fresh vm's the next time.

We are having two separate though minor issues.  The larger of the two is that each machine is opening full screen and we cannot figure out to make the vm's start minimized.  The second issues is that when the machines are started, we get the "this machine was moved or copied" message and cannot see how to either avoid or auto answer this prompt.

I know this is not the best way to do this, and we plan on using a hypervisor with snapshots the future, but for now we are limited to the hardware we have on hand and the server is not esxi compatable and I do not have time to test other options at the moment.  Hoping someone out there might be able to help me figure these two problems out.

Thanks in advance!
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Question by:arstacey
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rdhoore108 earned 2000 total points
ID: 34932434
To prevent the question whether it was moved or copied, your script could update the config location inside the virtual machine's .vmx configuration file (which is plain xml) to match the current location.

Then you would get the same behavior as if it is moved, though, which is not what you want, as you seem to want to run multiple copies of the same VM at the same time, and they would all have the same MAC address, which would create a non-functional networking scenario.

I've just looked through this document:
http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1541

It's for ESX/ESXi, but probably also applies to the player in this regard. It says that you can add a line which tells to always copy or always keep. Look for "Sometimes the message quoted above does not appear." :-)

Your other issue, to start minimized, I am not aware how it could be done in Player. I know that Workstation (which used to be free, I don't know if it is still free) comes with the vmrun command, which offers a lot of scripting facilities, see:

http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vix160_vmrun_command.pdf

(but I don't see any option there to start a machine minimized though).
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by:arstacey
ID: 35149059
Thanks.  Tested updating the xml manually and that worked so I will work it into the script.   Found a utility for ubuntu that allows you to specify programs to minimize after they start.
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