Virtualization, Cloud, Infrastructure and all that stuff in-between

My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together

Category Archives: Fusion

How to set a Virtual Machine to a date in the past and make it stay there

From time to time you may have a requirement to set the time and date of a virtual machine to a date in the past, to replicate a time-sensitive production issue or to work around expiry of a temporary license key.

WARNING: DO NOT DO THIS WITH A MACHINE WITH ANY SORT OF CONNECTIVITY TO THE OUTSIDE NETWORK – you could get into a world of pain, and some applications don’t work well if you move the time around if they do some sort of internal comparison – so use at your own risk!!

In my case – I had some configuration information stored in an eval build of a product that had since expired installed inside a VM and I wanted to be able to extract it, I was unable to do this without running the application as it was in a proprietary format so I needed temporary access to that application.

The steps that worked for me are:

  • Disconnect the VM network from the outside world – in my case I was using Fusion and put it on a host-only network.
  • Disable any application services (SQL, etc.) to avoid confusing them too much
  • Disable the Windows time service (start/run/services.msc and disable the “Windows Time Service”)
  • Disable Windows updating its time over the Internet (otherwise it uses NTP to update itself periodically)
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    • Disable VMtool time sync
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    • Disable the VMtools Service – I found if you don’t do this it still updates the time, even with all the other settings in this post!
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      • Shutdown the virtual machine
      • Remove the virtual machine from the Fusion inventory
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          • Choose to keep the file
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        • Open the .VMX file (On Fusion you’ll need to show package for the .vmwarevm file)
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        • Locate the .vmx file and open it in a text editor
        • Add the following .VMX entries (calculate YourValue using this calculator this will set the VM BIOS to start at this date when you reboot the VM)
          • rtc.startTime = "YourValue"
            tools.syncTime = "FALSE"
            time.synchronize.continue ="FALSE"
            time.synchronize.restore = "FALSE"
            time.synchronize.resume.disk = "FALSE"
            time.synchronize.resume.memory = "FALSE"
            time.synchronize.shrink = "FALSE"

            (note: if you have more than one tools.syncTime=”FALSE” entry in your .VMX file remove one of them)

        • Save the .vmx file and re-open it with Fusion (if you don’t remove it from the inventory 1st it doesn’t seem to work correctly)
        • Start-up the VM and the system time should be set to a date in the past (that you specified in epoch seconds in YourValue above)
        • If the time does not stick, set the Windows time to a point shortly after your intended time and power off he VM, it should then stick.
        • Re-enable the application services (SQL etc.) that you require.
        • Use with caution to extract files/data.


Credit to this post for the original .vmx entries

Shortcut key for CTRL-ALT-DEL on a Mac for a Fusion VM

Apologies if this is old-hat or obvious but I didn’t realize you could do this until recently – if you have a Windows VM and want to press CTRL-ALT-DEL to logon or bring up the lock screen etc. there isn’t an obvious shortcut key as the Mac doesn’t have a physical DEL key like a normal PC keyboard, so if you’re a Fusion user you can hit the Fusion bar and choose to send CTRL-ALT-DEL to the guest OS.

However if you hit Fn-CTRL-ALT and Backspace on the Mac keyboard it has the same effect and sends CTRL-ALT-DEL to the guest (a 4-finger salute, rather than the traditonal 3-finger salute Smile).


Using an Apple Remote Control to drive PowerPoint in a Windows VM using Fusion

I recently purchased a remote control for my MacBook Pro so that I could use it to control presentations without having to be at the keyboard, rather than opt for anything flashy I just assumed I could use the normal Apple Infra-red Remote Control, install the Bootcamp drivers to my Win7 VM and use it with PowerPoint, ah how wrong I was!

Even with the Bootcamp drivers installed Powerpoint does not recognize the IR remote as a “clicker” so after some head-scratching and a bit of Google-Fu I came up with the following solution;

Insert your OS X installation CD into your Windows VM (not the Mac, the DVD seems to be dual-format and has some partitions that only show up in a Windows host) you can do this via the virtual machine CD/DVD menu in Fusion as shown below


Install the BootCamp Drivers from the DVD (will require a reboot)

When it’s finished, run Apple Update to get the latest version (you’ll probably have an older version unless you have a brand-new Mac, reboot required)

Map the Apple IR receiver to your VM (screenshot shows it already connected here)


You will get some driver being installed mumbo-jumbo in Windows

Download and install the latest build of EventGhost

Download and extract the configuration file I have created here

Run EventGhost

Choose File/Open and locate the configuration file you downloaded.

I would also suggest setting it to run at logon via the file/Options menu


If you get an error about loading the HID plugin, then you may need to add it manually, right-click on HID: Apple Computers Inc IR Receiver and choose configure (you may have to remove/add it again as the file I exported may have device-specific IDs that don’t match yours exactly)

Now when you are in presenter mode in PowerPoint the left button will back-up one slide, the right and centre buttons will advance to the next slide.

the up/down buttons still map to the Mac volume control.

This is a pretty basic configuration, but it works reliably – it doesn’t seem to recognize the Menu button on my remote so I assume this is a limitation of the generic HID driver.

Cannot Access Shared Folder vmware-host Shared Folders My Desktop


I encountered this error when a Windows 7 VM running under Fusion logs on, VM tools is mapping a drive to your OS X home directory and results in the following Windows error message

Cannot Access Shared Folder \\vmware-host\Shared Folders\My Desktop

I hit this error after I used Carbon Copy Cloner to clone my OS X installation from a SATA disk a new SSD drive and then decided to move my home directory back onto the SATA disk (I’m using one of these to mount 2 disks) to save space on the SSD (info on how to do that here), so the underlying file-system path had changed.

To fix this open the shared folders settings for your VM in Fusion (Virtual Machine/Settings/Sharing.


  1. Un-check each item in the “Mirrored Folders” section.
  2. Log off the Windows 7 VM (you will get a prompt for this inside the VM)
  3. Log back on to the VM
  4. go back into Virtual Machine/Settings/Sharing and re-check each item
  5. Log off the Windows 7 VM (you will get a prompt for this inside the VM)
  6. Log back on to the VM and it should now be resolved and the mirrored folders show up as actual folders in Windows Explorer


Hopefully that helps someone else out there who is scratching their head

High CPU utilization with Windows XP SP3 guest under VMware Fusion


I have had a curious problem recently, I am currently running Windows XP under Fusion on a MacBook Pro; since I did some software updates recently the fan was going crazy and running at up to 6000 RPM even when apparently idling not only was the noise annoying it seemed to eat battery power.

Handy utility here for monitoring Mac temperature and fan speed.

With a bit of investigation I found that the Windows Search service was installed whilst I did some updates to the XP VM – it was doing it’s initial indexing the C: drive of the VM in the background – as soon as I disabled the “Windows Search” service it used much less CPU, and as a result quieter, cooler and the battery now lasts longer 🙂

Luckily I had no real use for Windows Search in this VM, but if you are experiencing the same problem worth looking into what background services are running in your guest OS and remembering that higher CPU usage = more heat = faster fan.