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At work, I develop on a PC running Windows Server 2008 R2. Due to some application constraints, I also run a Non-Commercial version of VMWare Player using Windows 7 on top of my Windows Server.

When the VM is booted up and running in full-screen mode, you get the VM toolbar at the top of the screen, which is set to toggle on hover by default. The bar handles cycling multiple monitors, minimizing the VM, attaching to external devices, etc. I work with 2 monitors, so I will usually have the VM span my monitors.

Whenever I need to walk away from my computer I minimize the VM and lock the workstation with ctrl+alt+delete in the host. Very regularly (maybe 60% of the time), when I come back to the computer and unlock it, the VM taskbar will be missing from the top of the VM window completely. The VM will also now be set to only work on a single monitor.

With the loss of the VM taskbar, I will have to press ctrl+alt to get my mouse cursor out of the VM window, and click off of the VM in my second monitor on the host OS. This will give me access to the Host Windows taskbar at the bottom, where I have been right-clicking on the VMWare icon, in order to shut it down (after saving any work). I then restart the VM to get back to work.

I feel like there has to be a better way to go about solving this problem. Is there a hot-key in VMWare that I can hit to launch the taskbar again, minimize the VM, or at least change it to windowed-mode?

I have been browsing the VMWare hotkey directory, and the keys it specifies that will bring me back to windowed mode IS ctrl+alt, however that is not actually reverting the VM back to windowed mode. Instead it is giving my mouse access back to the host machine. Pressing ctrl+shift+M will not work either.

EDIT:

For what it's worth, I run Visual Studio 2012 and Chrome in my VM. Sometimes a command prompt window and maybe an instance of VS2010 too, but my general workload in the VM is relatively light.

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