Tag Archives: Fusion

Fusion and keyboard layouts for Windows/Linux/OSX guest VM

Anyone using VMs hosted by a Mac have struggled one day or another with the keyboard layout of the guest VMs. Any special character you have to deal with (enter our beloved : ‘@’, ‘#’, ‘\’, ‘|’) could be the challenge of the day, specially with a non En-US keyboard. Then if you dare to get access to a remote system by iLO/iDRAC/IPMI/etc … well, you have to be Rain Man to type your password 😀

I don’t know if it’s a new feature of Fusion 6 (nor I remember having seen it before), or if I was blind for so long time, but today I have a really simple combination of settings which make the keyboard working like a charm, even with a nasty use case like this one : installing an ESXi through UCSM KVM via an RDP session from your windows VM (uh! inception-like), and trying to send F2, F12, or special characters for the root password …

On the virtual machine settings, under “keyboard and mouse”, you just have to choose the profile “mac”… no tinkering needed with the keymap on the Windows Guest OS.

If your guest OS is Mavericks, there is a little trick : be sure to select on the OS X settings the keyboard “PC” for  your language …

This works on Linux too (tested with a CentOS 6.4 only), except characters that are not directly accessible on a mac keyboard : like backslash and pipe. To access them on the Linux VM, simply the standard PC keyboard combination, with the right option key (alt) playing the role of Alt-GR. Yes on this last one, you still have to know your PC keyboard layout.

Example : to type a pipe on your windows/linux guest OS, type “right alt” + “§” on your mac keyboard.

As a reminder, backslash and pipe on the OS X host OS are accessible with the following combination : option + shift + (slash for backslash, and l for pipe).