I am having issues with input in VMware Workstation Player 12 in windowed mode or on multiple screens. When typing something in the VM and moving mouse cursor out of the VM without clicking on anything (for example on the second screen with host OS), the typing in that VM stops until I move the cursor back into VM.

Can this feature be disabled somehow so I am able to type in the virtual machine even when cursor is outside of it?

Both guest and host are Win10 x64 OS.

2 Answers 2


Technically you can, but practically not really.

When you move the mouse cursor out of the guest screen, you're ungrabbing (releasing input) from the VM. The whole point of moving the mouse cursor out of the VM is to tell it that you no longer wish to direct input to the VM. Imagine if you could move the mouse cursor out but that the VM still took keyboard input: you'd move the mouse cursor out, click on some other window, start typing, and then keys would go to the VM, not to the window you had just clicked on. That sounds incredibly confusing. (And if you don't intend to click on another window, then why do you want to move the mouse cursor out of the VM?)

That said, you could attach a second USB keyboard to your host and then connect that as a USB device to the VM, and then your VM would have its own dedicated keyboard. (Note that doing this requires setting:

usb.generic.allowHID = "TRUE"
usb.generic.allowLastHID = "TRUE"

in the VM's .vmx file first so that USB keyboards and mice are treated like generic USB devices. See https://kb.vmware.com/kb/1033435 for more details.)

Now, maybe you don't actually want to move the mouse cursor out of the VM. Maybe you just want it to be out of the way and are trying to move it to the corner of the screen, but you're accidentally moving it out of the VM. If that's the case, then in Workstation you can avoid that by going to Edit > Preferences > Input > Cursor and unchecking "Automatically grab and ungrab the mouse". Player doesn't provide UI to change this preference, but Player uses the same preferences file, so you can manually edit the preferences file (%APPDATA%\VMware\preferences.ini on a Windows host, ~/.vmware/preferences on Linux) by closing all Player instances and adding the line:

pref.motionUngrab = "FALSE"

Or, if you just want keyboard input to automatically go into the guest as long as the VMware Workstation or Player window has focus, regardless of where the mouse is, you can enable grab-on-keypress. Note, however, that this will automatically move the mouse cursor back into the guest since, from the guest's perspective, it needs to be somewhere onscreen.

  • 3
    I'd love it if there was the option to be able to move the mouse out of the VMWare window and still have keyboard input directed to the VM, until I clicked on something in the host. This is just how everything else works in Windows, I can type in a window even if I move the mouse away, until I clicked on some other window. Aug 24, 2016 at 9:54
  • 1
    @gazialankus Can you explain why you want to move the mouse cursor out of the guest window? Note you could have keyboard input automatically go to the VM with the mouse cursor out of the window if you enable grab-on-keypress.
    – jamesdlin
    Aug 24, 2016 at 10:14
  • 1
    works fine with multiple monitors! for others in the same situation, I have everything in the Preferences/Input on. Namely "Grab keyboard and mouse input on mouse click", "Grab keyboard and mouse input on key press", "Automatically grab and ungrab the mouse" and "Hide cursor on grab". thanks again! Aug 25, 2016 at 6:50
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    When I move the mouse on another monitor, then press a key, the key press goes to the guest as expected, but the mouse come back right in the middle of the screen on the guest. I would like multi-monitor VM to be as intuitive as any modern OS would be
    – Bilow
    Jul 30, 2018 at 12:40
  • 1
    Personally I would be happier if focus didn't leave the VM until mouse is clicked. I never want my mouse to interact outside the VM until I've clicked. I want to --->WITHOUT HOTKEYS<--- mouse out of the VM and click on something to leave the VM. But I absolutely do not want my keyboard to stop working in the VM just because my mouse drifted out when I let go of it. I swear it WAS working this way for the last two years but it recently started to ungrab the keyboard when the mouse drifts out...
    – Grallen
    Jun 13, 2022 at 16:44

I know you're using VMWare Workstation, but, unfortunately, it seems like that software is limited in its ability to behave like any other window. You're not insane for thinking this is the more intuitive behavior.

An alternative solution is to use another VM host, if you can. Oracle VirtualBox, which I was using until recently, works the way you and I would expect. OnMouseLeave does not divert input away from the VM until you click outside.

You also don't have to click an extra time to mouse into the VM again.

  • 1
    This does not provide an answer to the question. Once you have sufficient reputation you will be able to comment on any post; instead, provide answers that don't require clarification from the asker. - From Review Mar 31 at 3:29
  • The original post was looking for a behavior that is standard for other VM host software as well as VNC software. I don't feel that it's sufficient to just tell them to accept the limitations of this particular software as what SHOULD just be expected as if the constraints were anywhere other than in the design of VMWare.
    – 2Tall
    Apr 1 at 20:48

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