Mar 07 2017

Send F Key to VMware Fusion Via MacBook Keyboard


So I figure I’ll finally write this down. Since i start using a MacBook back in 2010 i also switched from VMware Workstation to VMware Fusion. What I’m constantly forgetting since I’m not using it that much is how to press F keys in Fusion based VMs. I can say that 90% of the cases when I need to send the F keys to a Fusion based VM is when it is running a ESXi hosts as a VM. I do this from time to time even though I got a home lab with a minimum of 1 ESXi based management server.

So the other day I decided to install ESXi 6.5.0a in Fusion and it took a few minutes again to figure out the F key combinations that’s why I decided to write it down

Note: The key called either alt or option or both alt option will be referenced as the alt key.

When installing ESXi you need a way to send just a regular F key strike to the VM and you use the following keyboard combination to do that.

  • fn+command+<your F key option>

This means you need to press “fn+command+F11” to first accept the End User License Agreement and then, as seen in the below print screen to start the actual installation.

The same keyboard sequence must be used when you want to login to the ESXi Direct Console User Interface (DCUI), F2 key or Reboot the ESXi host, F12 key, from DCUI.

The next thing you want to do is toggle between the different ESXi screens which are:

  • Default one meaning Direct Console User Interface (DCUI) which normally is accessible by striking “alt+F2”
  • The ESXi shell which is normally is accessible by striking “alt+F1”
  • Log screen which normally is accessible by striking “alt+F12”

To access the above mentioned screens you need to use the following keyboard combination:

  • fn+command+<your F key option>

This means “fn+alt+F1” for ESXi shell, “fn+alt+F2” for ESXi DCUI and “fn+alt+F12” for the ESXi log screen.

Last thing is to release focus from your Fusion VM and that is something I do almost every day but I figure I’ll include it anyway and it is:

  • control+command

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