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I am using VMware Fusion 2.0.6. I want to boot virtual machine from iso file. How do I get into bios and change boot options?

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To force the machine to enter the BIOS setup once (but continue booting normally on subsequent start-ups), add bios.forceSetupOnce = "TRUE" to VM's .vmx file.

Alternatively, quickly press F2 while booting. To make this easier, set bios.bootDelay = "xxxx" in the .vmx file, where xxxx is the number of milliseconds during which the VM will wait for the F2 signal.

See http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1004129

  • What about with EFI virtual machines, is there an equivalent option to force entering setup? I can't seem to find which keyboard shortcut works. – sstur Oct 2 '15 at 6:19
  • Actually, this trick also seems to work with EFI machines. Thanks for the tip! – sstur Oct 2 '15 at 6:39
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The process varies when using vSphere for VMWare vCenter, which is a far more common scenario in Enterprise environments.

  1. Right-click the VM in the Navigator pane (or use the Actions menu at the top of the primary pane) and choose Edit Settings....
  2. Click the VM Options tab at the top.
  3. Expand the Boot Options twirl-down menu on the left.
  4. Locate the Force BIOS setup option (alternatively, it may be called Force EFI setup).

Entering BIOS or EFI setup in VMWare vCenter

NOTE: If your boot device and virtual hardware configuration support it, changing the Firmware setting from BIOS to EFI (requires powering-off the VM first) is advantageous in that it allows for one-time boot device selection, whereas BIOS does not; with the BIOS firmware, it's necessary to re-order the boot devices and save the changes, which is in no way ideal because if you forget to disconnect the drive or unmount the media, the VM could boot into the BIOS the next time it restarts unexpectedly, leaving a production machine unreachable until someone intervenes.

(Even though the Asker is using Fusion, this Question's visibility is such that solutions for other VMWare implementations seem appropriate.)

See: Delay the Boot Sequence in the vSphere Documentation for more information.

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