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When working in full screen mode, I'd like a way to quickly switch between host and VM using a toggle key. How can I do this? Thanks.

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There is a default key of Right-Ctrl+Right-Alt to switch to the host. Is that sufficient? – Synetech Mar 10 '11 at 6:04

From VMware's Setting Configuration Options on the User's Computer :

Hot Keys for Switching Directly to Virtual Machines and the Host Computer

You can specify a hot key or hot key combination for switching directly to any available virtual machine on a host computer. Each time you press the specified hot key, the screen display switches to that of the specified virtual machine. You may also specify a hot key for switching directly to the host operating system.

If any particular virtual machine is not running, pressing the hot key for that virtual machine has no effect.

You define the hot key used to switch to a virtual machine by adding a line to the target virtual machine's configuration (.vmx) file. The value of this option defines the hot key. It is specified as key,modifier. There is no default.

For example, to use Ctrl-Shift-F1 to switch to a particular virtual machine, add the following line to that virtual machine's .vmx file, or modify its value if the option is already listed.

FullScreenSwitch.directKey = "0x70,0x6"

You define the hot key used to switch to the host operating system by adding a line to the global configuration file (config.ini). The value of this option defines the hot key. It is specified as key,modifier. There is no default.

For example, to use Ctrl-Shift-F9 to switch to the host operating system, add the following line to the config.ini file, or modify its value if the option is already listed.

FullScreenSwitch.hostDirectKey = "0x78,0x6"

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Note that those instructions were specific to the vmware-fullscreen.exe, which no longer exists. It's since been replaced with vmware-kvm.exe. – jamesdlin Aug 29 '15 at 8:21

I do not know a single keystroke way, however if you press Ctrl+Alt to release the capture of the Mouse and keyboard, followed by Alt+Tab, it should allow you to quickly switch to another window on the host machine.

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You can use VMware KVM (which ships with VMware Workstation and VMware Player) to switch among virtual machines and the host using a configurable hotkey. You can run vmware-kvm.exe --preferences to configure it and run virtual machines via vmware-kvm.exe FILE.vmx.

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I've researched that question myself and so far i have been able to come up with not so ideal solution, since it involves using a third part program.

What you can do is install a virtual desktop manager and have you VM running full-screen on the 2nd desktop. Then you can select a hotkey in a VD manager to switch between desktops.

Although this will still require 2 keystroke actions: one action to switch to the 2nd desktop and then another action (keystroke or mouse click) for the VM to grab input.

And of course, the same goes for the other way around, first you have to hit the hotkey to ungrab the input and then another hotkey to switch to your 1st desktop where you have your host system running.

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I'm pretty sure you can download VMWare tools which will enable you focus on the host and guest OS just by clicking. I.e. you are able to move out of the Guest screen to the Host and clicking anything in the Host screen will change the focus to Host OS.

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Yes, you can but the question is about keyboard shortcuts so that you don't have to use your mouse at all. – RusI Sep 28 '14 at 9:58
Ctrl-Alt-Left & Ctrl-Alt-Right works for me – munrobasher Jan 21 '15 at 17:08

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