Feb 22 2016

Mac/VMware Keyboard

Published by at 9:50 pm under How To,Shit I Forget

I have enjoyed for some time now using a Mac as my primary computer, I have a MacBook pro 13 inch with a Retina display. I actually have two, I purchased one for myself a while back and work issued me one. I of course I need Windows so I use VMware to run Windows (currently VMware Fusion 8 and Windows 10) and this setup is bulletproof. Well ok there was one huge pain theā€¦ in Windows the Mac keystrokes would really be problematic a good example is Ctrl + Arrow, as in Ctrl + arrow left and Ctrl + arrow right, in most editors will move your curser one word to the direction of the arrow but instead it switches the full screen application.

This one example alone was a huge issue for me, I found a workaround that was less than ideal, if you do Ctrl + SHIFT + arrow left or Ctrl + SHIFT + arrow right it would move the curser correctly but it would select the word you just moved over. This is how I have used my setups up to now but finally it was driving me crazy so I dug and dug and finally worked out how to configure my Mac and my virtual machine to get all the keystrokes as if there was no underlying OS.

There are three setting you need to set.

  1. In the Mac OS go to System Preferences > Keyboard select the “Use all F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys (see below)

Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 10.57.01 AM


  1. On the VM go to VMware Fusion > Preferences in General select Enable per-virtual machine keyboard shortcuts (see below)

Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 10.58.17 AM

  1. And on your VM Virtual Machine > Settings > Keyboard & Mouse > Edit Profile, select Mac Host Shortcuts and uncheck the Enable Mac OS Host Keyboard Shortcuts

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 3.54.46 PM


Microsoft-Natural-Elite-KeyboardAnd at long last (no really it’s been years) I can now plug in my Microsoft Natural Keyboard Elite (Yes the Old School version) and I am working away in my VM as if I were running on a PC or boot camp.

Ok there is one problem if you run the VM on all your screens it is hard to switch back to the Mac OS. You can close the VM but that will suspend it and that takes too much time. You can try to get the Mac Dock to come up at the bottom of the VM but that is flaky. The best way I have found to do it is in the VM press Ctrl + Command (or Windows) and the mouse will be unlocked from the VM, all Mac commands will then work. So now if I want to get back to the Mac OS I press Ctrl + Windows then Ctrl + Arrow to move the VM out of the way. Yes that is an extra key but for all the rest it is totally worth it!

If I have missed something or you have a better way of solving this problem please let me know.

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