Accessing the VMware BIOS Screen at startup

It can be tough to get to the VMware BIOS screen at startup, especially for modern systems with fast processors. Before the VMware worksation/player window can grab your keyboard or mouse for you to press the F2 key, the OS is already booting up!

Fortunately, there is a configuration setting that will give you more time to enter the BIOS screen at startup. If you add the line below to your vmx file:

bios.bootDelay = "10000"

the POST screen will delay for the specified number of milliseconds. The maximum value is 10000 (i.e. 10 seconds)

If you’re still having challenges with pressing the F2 key (like i sometime do when connecting to a virtual machine running on a windows host over remote desktop), you can configure the virtual machine to boot directly into BIOS. Simply add the line below to your vmx file:

bios.forceSetupOnce = "TRUE"

Note that as this setting will be reverted to “FALSE” as soon as the virtual machine boots up and enters the BIOS screen.

I found this information on the vmware knowledge base. I also saw this article on which gives more detailed steps, and I saw an entry in the illustrated vmx file which looks like

bios.bootOrder = "CDROM"

I should try that out sometime, it might even save me the effort of trying to enter the BIOS to change boot orders.

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