Automatically Power Up VMware Server Guest Operating Systems

Recently, there was a Petri Virtualization Forums member asking about how he could automatically power up a VMware Guest OS. To help that member and others member who may have the same question, I have created this article on how to automatically power up VMware Server Guest Operating systems on server boot up.

Why do I need VMware Server Automatic Power up Options?

Most commonly on a production server, you will want to power up VMware Server virtual machines when the server boots up. You don’t want to have to remember to login to the server, start the VMware Server Console, then turn on the guest operating systems one by one. Plus, what if the server reboots in the middle of the night for some reason or another? All of those production virtual machines would be unavailable available until someone was alerted to power them on.

For this reason, you should consider configuring VMware Server automatic power up options. Let’s find out how to do it…

Configure VMware Server Automatic Power up Options

To configure VMware Server automatic power up motions for Virtual Guest OS systems, go to your VMware Server Console. Select the tab of the virtual machine that you want to configure the automatic power up options for. Click on Edit Virtual Machine Settings, either on the Summary View for that Virtual Machine (VM) or by going to the VM Menu, then Settings.

Once inside the VM Settings, click on the Options tab, then select Startup/Shutdown. From there, you will need to change the account that the VM will start under. I recommend selecting Local System Account. Finally, select the Startup & Shutdown options for this VM when the Virtual Host boots. Most likely, you want to choose to Power on virtual machine on host startup and Power Off Virtual machine on host shutdown. When you are done, click OK to save your changes. You can choose to do this to however many production virtual systems you want to boot when this host system starts.

Here is a graphic of what the configuration looks like:

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More Power Options for a VMware Virtual Machine

I also want to mention that the startup/shutdown power options aren’t the only power options available for VMware Guest VMs. In the same VM Settings windows, if you click on Power, you will see the following options:

auto power on vmware server guest os 02 small

There are a number of very useful power options on this screen. Here is a list of some of them that caught my eye:

  • Power on after opening this virtual machine – whenever you open this VM, the VM will automatically power on
  • Modify Power controls – allow you to modify the power buttons to do a software power off instead of a hardware power off
  • Run VMware Tools scripts – options to run scripts on the virtual guest when performing certain power options (only available if VMware Tools are installed)

In summary, being able to control VMware server virtual machine power is a crucial for production servers. Fortunately, configuring virtual servers to automatically boot when the server boots and automatically shutdown when the server shutdown is easy to do. Even better, you can choose to tweak other VM power settings and run scripts when certain power choices are made.

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