The VMRC (VM Remote Console) has gone through several transitions from initially being available as a standalone Windows application to an integrated browser based plugin with the release of the vSphere Web Client. In the latest vSphere 5.5 Update 2b release, a new standalone VMRC has been re-introduced to provide an alternative way to launch a VM console. The reason for this is due to the deprecated and eventual removal of NPAPI (Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface) based plugin support from all modern web browsers which the current VMRC implementation leverages. Here is a quick excerpt from the vSphere 5.5 Update 2b release notes:
Inability to open virtual machine console using Google Chrome browser when NPAPI support is deprecated
When the NPAPI support in Google Chrome is deprecated, the virtual machine console provided in the vSphere Client Integration Plugin might no longer function when the Chrome browser is updated. As a result, you might be unable to open the virtual machine console using the Google Chrome browser and you might not be able to connect to devices.
UPDATE (10/21/14) - Looks like the standalone VMRC has just been made available and you can now download it by either following the link in the vSphere Web Client if you are on vSphere 5.5 Update 2b OR simply by going to http://www.vmware.com/go/download-vmrc
UPDATE (10/12/14) - It looks like the standalone VMRC is currently not available for download just yet. You can continue using the existing methods to connect to your VM Console, the new Standalone VMRC is NOT required but the links have been put in place to proactively get ready for NPAPI deprecation (more details below). You can subscribe to VMware KB 2091284 which will be updated when the download is available.
UPDATE (05/31/15) - If you are connecting directly to an ESXi host you can either use the vSphere API to query for the VM MoRef ID or you can easily pull it by running the following command directly in the ESXi Shell:
The deprecation of NPAPI support is nothing new and has actually been communicated by all major web browsers for quite some time now. To ensure that VMware customers are not affected when this change goes into effect, a new standalone VMRC is being introduced to preempt the upcoming change and provides a new way of launching a VM console using the vSphere Web Client as seen in the screenshot below.
To be able to open a VM Console using the new standalone VMRC, you will of course need to have it installed first. You can find the link to the download on VMware.com but there is also a direct link provided on the VM Summary page in the vSphere Web Client. In addition to the new standalone VMRC, you will still be able to use the existing method as well as the HTML5 based VM console. The HTML5 console continues to work if you do not have CIP (Client Integration Package) installed on your Windows system or if you are running on a Mac OS X system. I am sure many of you are probably asking when will there be Mac OS X version of VMRC? I know I definitely am 🙂 The good news is that this is being worked on and hopefully we will see a Mac OS X version in the very near future.
Furthermore, the new standalone VMRC also includes some nice enhancements that I know some of you have been asking for, especially those that have used the previous standalone VMRC application. The new VMRC can now be directly launched using the following two URI methods:
Here is a screenshot of the standalone VMRC application:
The first method accepts basic authentication using username/password, the vCenter Server address and the VM MoRef Id. Here is an example of what that would look like:
C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Remote Console\vmrc.exe vmrc://*protected email*/?moid=vm-37
The second method accepts a vCenter Server session ticket which you can generate by using vSphere API acquireCloneTicket() method. A quick way to test this example is by using the vSphere MOB and making a call to acquireCloneTicket using the following URL https://[VCENTER-SERVER]/mob/?moid=SessionManager&method=acquireCloneTicket and then specifying the ticket as seen in the example below.
C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Remote Console\vmrc.exe vmrc://clone:*protected email*/?moid=vm-37
With the new URI handler, you can automatically associate it with the standalone VMRC application which means you can type this into a browser or into a Windows explorer and it will automatically launch VMRC. The other nice thing about the new standalone VMRC is if you would like to reduce the complexity of getting a regular use connected to their desktop, you can easily use the standalone VMRC and dynamically generating a link for your end users to access their VMs without ever exposing them to the underlying vSphere infrastructure. I suspect there will be some really interesting use cases for the new standalone VMRC and the VMRC team will continue to iterate to make it better based on customer feedback.
Andreas Paulsson says
Cool solution! It would be cool if this could be tunneled somehow..
Simon Handfield says
Great article, William, thanks. (BTW the link to the KB is broken.)
William Lam says
Jay Yeske says
It looks like the direct link to VMRC (http://www.vmware.com/go/download-vmrc) is dead again this morning. It worked last night, but this morning it redirected to the KB article.
William Lam says
Yea, I was told it was supposed to get published last night but I'm still having troubles reaching it as well. I would probably give it a few more days. I'll update the blog post when it's really working. Sorry for the delay
Totie Bash says
I was thinking Linux VDI on a small scale. Of course no sound.
Dave R. says
About the timeframe of the vmrc for Mac OSX, do you have any insight of how soon? This year, spring 2015, Q4 2015, this decade? Also do you know if there is a beta program for it? Its very frustrating to hear OSX console support will be in the next release for vSphere, only to have another product like vCAC released without console support.
Hi Dave, we're targeting a 2015 release for VMRC for Mac. It won't have a formal beta program, but we'll let you know as soon as it is released on http://www.vmware.com/go/download-vmrc.
vCAC will be released with console support, but in a slightly different way. It will be an HTML console that has more basic mouse-and-keyboard functionality.
VMWare Fusion 7 Pro for Mac is actually able to open the VMRC links, you can even connect directly to VCenter or an ESXi instance from Fusion Pro nowadays! I had no idea, and only accidentally ran into this feature when reconsidering which VM solution to use for Windows Phone development.
Sebastian S says
Hey, thanks for the Informations....
This URL works:
"C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Remote Console\vmrc.exe" vmrc://[email protected]/?moid=5
But i have to type in the VM password, is there any posibillty to do this step atomatically?
I know the way by using the vmware-vmrc.exe ....
"C:\Program Files\Common Files\VMware\VMware VMRC Plug-in\Firefox\vmware-vmrc.exe" -X -h Host -u User -p Password "[datastore1] VM/VM.vmx"
But we have to use the remote console.
William Lam says
I'm not sure what you mean by "automatically"? You have to authenticate either via traditional username/password or you have a script/service that uses the vSphere API to acquire a token that's then passed in. The latter method as mentioned in the article is a way on how you could "automate" this so you can provide it to your end users. Please take a look at the article for more details
I'm running in the same situation too. I stored the credential in the xml file. In my powershell script, I load my credential object but when running the vmrc.exe command, how can I pass the password in the commandline?
passing a password as a command line parameter is a dangerous technique, any user checking the task manager would see the parameters and thus the password provided in clear text. never ever do it like this!!
aaron tomosky (@aarontomosky) says
This is working great! if they added the ability to pass through domain creds of the current user (like the web interface of vsphere) it would be perfect for my use case of VMs for some of my users.
i have now installed the ESXI Version 5.5, how i can use the new vmrc Version to connect
bevor 5.5 i use the old VMRC
vmware-vmrc.exe” -h Host -u User -p Password “[datastore1] VM/VM.vmx”
I've been looking all over for the URI methods you posted in their very messy documentation centre to no avail. Could you kindly post a link to where you got that information.
William Lam says
I believe I got this by just running --help on the vmrc.exe which provides the help menu.
Ingo Dengler says
thanks for the great article.
Did you get multi monitor support working? We have setup a VM that has enough video memory and set the amount of avialable displays to two. If we use the cycle monitor action in the vmrc client, we get following error:
"This virtual machine cannot use multiple monitors for the following reasons:
- The host's monitor layout has changed since the virtual machine was powered on. You must power the virtual machine off and back on to use multiple monitors in Full Screen mode.
Please see VMware Player Help for more information"
Any ideas, on how to solve this. Of cource we rebooted the machine several times...
Christian Koehler says
Have You solved the mulit-monitor problem?
We also tried to get it work, but no success.
Kraig Whiting says
I am having the same problem.
I have the same problem!
Anyone have solved this "error"
Good morning, I am a newbees in VM. I have installed ESXi in my HP54L micro server for running VM Linux and W. The version that I have installed is version 5.5.0 Build 1746018 for ESXi. So could you tell me if with this one I can connect to VM in HTML5 ? If yes, which tuto shall I follow ? Thanks for your help.
Jason Kyzer says
function start-vmrc ($vm)
& 'C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Remote Console\vmrc.exe' "vmrc://clone:$($ticket)@$($vc)/?moid=$($vmid)"
can u provide the current download link for the vmrc ? i couldnt access the link specified..
Hi i posted a question on the 3rd of May could you help me ?
I want to open vcloud director console..is it possible to use the stand alone vmrc for vcloud director console ?
William Lam says
No, it is currently not possible but I believe this something VMRC team is considering
Nice blog; lots of help as always 🙂 One question though is since the VMID (VM MoRef Id) is dynamic (changes with vMotion, reset VM etc, how are we assuring the URL remains constant? My customer needs console access and I am still hesitant to use standalone VMRC with VM MoRef Id method because I fear the VMID will change and break my URL. Before I try and script something as a workaround, can someone please share what are you currently doing to avoid this issue from happening? Or has anyone faced this yet? Thanks a bunch in advance 🙂
William, you answered my question long before I posted it! Like many time-travel movies 🙂 I see that the ESXi host MoRef of a VM may change however, VCenter MoRef for VMs do not. I found your post here (http://www.virtuallyghetto.com/2011/11/when-do-vsphere-morefs-change.html) which answered my question 🙂 Present thanks for a past deed! Cheers....
how to limit permissions on vmrc ?
V S says
Is it possible to use VMRC without VC?
F.e., in free VMware edition.
After spectating, at esxi in connections table I saw VMRC's clients addresses, and maked conclusion that vcenter didn't need after connection established. (mybe I should shutdown vcenter in full test to confirm my thoughts)
Jesse Hu says
I used vmrc://clone:[VC-CLONE-SESSION-TICKET]@[VC]/?moid=[VM-MOREF-ID] to launch VMRC app. But VMRC still prompt me to enter the username/password for vCenter. Is it expected? I thought CLONE-SESSION-TICKET is for login, then no username/password is needed.
Jesse Hu says
The vmrc url works today. No idea why it didn't work yesterday... Thanks.
Chris Q. says
The clone session ticket is for a single use and expires within two minutes. Is it possible the ticket was stale? If the clone ticket fails VMRC will fall back and prompt you for a username/password.
Jeff Gover says
Is there any way to get this to work in vSphere 5.1?
I've tried but I get the error.
"The remote virtual machine [###] cannot on host:443 cannot be opened
[tried both ESXi host direct and vCenter using proper credentials]
jeff mcdermott says
I'm using vmrc on v6u2 but my function keys do not pass (F2, F11 ) both required to install / manage esxi on a vm so what is the trick to get f2/f11 to pass from my windows desktop to vmrc? I've tried i.e.11, chrome, Mozilla but none using vmrc 8.01 & I tried repairing vmrc via reinstall but I cannot get f2 / f11 to pass from my desktop to the vm.
thanks to this post and other googles, i've discovered
**where desirable** we can avoid vCenter entirely and launch VMware Workstation UI directly to an ESXi VM console via:
"C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Workstation\vmware.exe" -H ESXi_host_ip -U userid -P password -m 5
where fortunately we can provide a simple VMID in place of the vCenter moid...
get a list of your VMID's from ESXi admin shell via:
see a few other handy vmware.exe CLI args by launching "path\vmware.exe -?"... notably, -m is not listed:
Usage: vmware [OPTION ...] [--] [configuration file(s)]
where OPTIONS are:
-v Show program version
-x Power on when a virtual machine is opened
-X Same as -x but also go into full screen mode
-p Start the virtual machine paused
-q Close virtual machine at power off
-s NAME=VALUE Set variable NAME to VALUE
-n Open a new window
-f Start in full screen mode
-H hostname Host
-U username User name
-P password Password for remote connections
correction: that must be a capital -M
also just confirmed that [VMRC.exe available free](https://www.vmware.com/go/download-vmrc) also works with same arguments... they both appear to launch vmware-remotemks.exe, presumably the core workhorse... brief observations shows vmrc.exe has a slightly smaller memory footprint than vmware.exe (Workstation) but nothing significant.
Fred Nielsen says
thanks for this!
apparently the VMRC install is not side-by-side friendly with other clients (e.g. vSphere Client and VMware Workstation) failing with a "Failed to install hcmon driver" error... KB 2130850 confirms as much... yet i found once it's installed somewhere else, i could copy the resulting "Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Remote Console" folder to desired machine and it ran happily alongside those other tools... so it is just the install which is incompatible, not the vmrc runtime itself.
Chris Q. says
Re HCMON conflict: This VMware Communities thread discusses the issue: https://communities.vmware.com/thread/517717 . One solution is to run the installer with admin privileges. There are also several HCMON KBs for VMRC and other products. This is an issue with Workstation 11 and earlier--it installs cleanly alongside Workstation 12.
awesome, run installer as admin avoided the hcmon issue - thanks!
Is there a way to launch the VMRC standalone without enabling the manage settings menu. We just need to expose ISO mount menu . Is it possible to do it
Chris Q. says
There is no launch-time option. Any permissions would need to be configured on the server.
Great post -- very helpful -- thanks!
I'm trying to get this working in a non-vCenter environment -- just a few ESXi hosts running 6.0.0. I've got the MOIDs directly via SSH, and the app is successfully installed, but I keep getting a "connection timed out" message.
Does this option REQUIRE the use of vCenter as an aggregator to work? Or am I perhaps missing something else?
Chris Q. says
You don't need vCenter. What's the full "timed out" message? Is it a pop-up dialog? What kind of failures show up in the log file?
Given MOIDs you can connect to ESXi 5 if you like. ESXi 6.1 (not sure how far back it goes) has its own web UI that generates vmrc:// links-- go to https://your_server/ui/.
Some other things to look at on your local machine:
o Check that you can resolve the host name to an IP address
o Check access to ESXi on ports 443 and 902 (you can use telnet, netstat, nc, or the like)
Jeff Gover says
Is this solution dead as it's no longer available for download.
"Home VMware Remote Console 10.0.1
This download is no longer available."
William Lam says
No, its not dead at all. This was already reported, hopefully we'll get the URL fixed. I suspect it may have been due to some of the web property updates :/
It looks like you can still access the download here https://my.vmware.com/group/vmware/get-download?downloadGroup=VMRC1001 but just not through the navigation. The respective folks have been notified to take a look
Yiting Jin says
Hey guys, the http://www.vmware.com/go/download-vmrc link has been fixed and now points to VMRC 10.0.1 again. Let us know if you run into any more issues!
Jeff Gover says
Hi, Thanks for the quick reply, I just downloaded this morning with no issues.
I prolong this debate even into 2018 by finding that VM-ID can be read out straight from URL of ESXI host (v6.5) when you access it standalone (I don't have vCenter Server). Just select some VM, and see e.g. :
Anyway, great start of week to come across your great article on how to solve this, when I just got that thought of it 3 days ago and did not loose much time finding for solution!
You and all have a peaceful year 2018!