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Using copy and paste through the vSphere client

At lot of sites (us included) have long since replaced their racks full of (hot, noisy, expensive!) servers with one or two machines running the popular VMware ESX software. This is especially useful when you need a copy of your production systems in a lab for testing upgrades, patches, etc. Of course, you can’t really have your lab on the same network as your production system, which often means having to interact with it purely through the console on the vSphere client. Besides being considerably slower than other connections (RDP, SSH, etc), one major issue with this is that, by default, you cannot copy and paste through that console. Of course, that can be fixed.

You’ll have to turn off your guest for this, so make sure you’ve got some downtime scheduled; or just make a note to do this before you power up and start using it. Once it’s off, edit the settings for that machine. Switch to the “Options” tab then find the Advanced > General settings in the left-hand pane. Click the “Configuration Parameters…” button. This will open a window with a list of name:value pairs. You’ll need to add two rows to this list with the following settings:

Name: isolation.tools.copy.disable
Value: false
Name: isolation.tools.paste.disable
Value: false

Click Ok on both the “Configuration Parameters” window and the guest’s “Virtual Machine Properties” windows, then power on the guest. Once it’s back up, you should be able to transfer text back and forth using the normal clipboard without any issues. You’ll never have to retype a PowerShell script again.

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