Home > ESXi, vSphere > HOWTO: Re-enable VMware Console copy/paste functionality

HOWTO: Re-enable VMware Console copy/paste functionality

So, if you’re like me, you copy and paste a lot fro your VM consoles – or *want* to.  It kind of drove me nuts for a while, as I was certain I’d done this in the past, hit or miss.  Turns out it’s a feature that got disabled by default after vSphere 4.1 as a “security concern”. 

Now, I can understand why or how it could be a concern, but let’s be realistic:

  • A user who has access to the console, is likely a Domain Admin – or at least a vSphere Admin, unless roles have been delegated
  • We likely have DEV/TEST environments, and/or DMZ’s that have VM’s that can’t easily see, browse, RDP, etc, to your workstation or other networks.
  • Copy and paste is *good*, darn it!

VMware has a KB 1026437 that talks about how to re-enable this: http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1026437

By far the best option for me is the second option, which enables it for all VM’s on a host:

  1. Log in to the ESX/ESXi host as a root user.
  2. Take a backup of the /etc/vmware/settings file.
  3. Open the /etc/vmware/settings file using a text editor.
  4. Add these entries to the file:
    isolation.tools.copy.disable="FALSE"
    isolation.tools.paste.disable="FALSE"
  5. Save and close the file.
    The Copy and Paste options are only enabled when the virtual machines restart or resume the next time or shutdown and power-on the virtual machine for changes to take effect

It should be noted that these changes will not remain after a host upgrade.  So you may need these to be part of your scripting, use the vMA, or my preference, embed it in your kickstart.cfg files you use for installation customization. 

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Categories: ESXi, vSphere
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