VM Boot screen too quick in VMware Workstation ? – change bios.bootDelay

If you’ve used any of VMware’s products you’ve probably been frustrated by trying to boot a VM from CD. Not when you install the OS, but after the VM has been operating.

For example when you need to grow the size of the virtual disk and you try to boot the VM from the GParted LiveCD. The VM’s BIOS is set to boot from disk first, so you need to change the boot device order. The problem is that the boot process is so fast it seems you have less than a second to hit F2 and enter Setup, and you have to be really quick with your mouse getting the cursor inside the VM.

Even if you just want to get in and take a look at the bios settings and do not want to change the CDROM boot order as I did then here you go

Here’s the two methods I know of to catch the VM during boot so you can enter Setup.

1) keep your mouse inside the VM’s console window and start pressing F2 upon rebooting. Start from the running VM and reboot it or use CRTL + ALT + INS if you can. Watch for the black screen with the white VMware logo. That’s when you need to hit F2. Hitting F2 repeatedly is your best bet if it’s too quick. Simple, but effective.

2) edit the .vmx file related to the VM in question (when its shut down) and add the line

bios.bootDelay = “boot delay in milliseconds”

For example, a setting of “15000” gives you 15 seconds to hit F2.

I add the setting at the top of the .vmx file, but I do not think the position of the setting matters.