Thursday, May 14, 2009

VMWare keyboard issues

I've been fighting with keyboard issues in VMWare since I started using Ubuntu. I'm not sure if the problems are specific to Ubuntu or if they were just introduced around the time I moved away from Gentoo, but either way, it's really annoying. First, VMWare would occasionally not recognize keys correctly in guests. The down arrow would become the windows key, shift would become ctrl, and alt, home, end, pgup, pgdn and the rest of the arrow keys would appear to quit functioning altogether. Outside of the guest, everything was fine. The fix for that was to tell VMWare to use the keymap provided by X instead of trying to figure it out. Open up ~/.vmware/config with your favorite editor (creating it if it doesn't exist) and add the following line:
xkeymap.noKeycodeMap = "TRUE"
Thanks to for this one.

Next, VMWare would occasionally cause all of the same keys from the previous bug either to stop working or to act as though they are permanently pressed in the host. After playing with this bug for awhile I found that it happens most reliably when coming out of full-screen mode. There's no real solution for this one, but running "setxkbmap" from a terminal fixes it. The vmware forums have a thread about this issue. Since I sometimes can't type when this bug strikes (e.g. when ctrl is stuck), I added a launcher to my gnome panel so that a single mouse click can give me my keyboard back.

Lastly, when using ctrl-g to have vmware grab input, it never releases the g key. I haven't found a fix for this (except to avoid using ctrl-g) and the only way I've found to get a working desktop back is to ssh in from another machine and killall vmware.