Change VM startup options to control behavior

When you’re booting up a VMware-based virtual machine, you might find yourself in need of entering that VM’s BIOS in order to make an adjustment to that machine’s configuration. With the default boot settings, the BIOS screen goes by pretty quickly, but there are a couple of different ways by which you can modify this behavior and make your way into the BIOS screen.

To get started, open vCenter, right-click your virtual machine and choose Eldit Settings. Once the Properties page opens, select the Options tab and, from the Advanced section, choose the Boot Options selection. You will get a number of Boot Options selections.

On the Boot Options page, you’ll notice these options:

  • Power On Boot Delay. If you’d like the virtual machine to pause a bit on power on so that you have time to decide whether or not you’d like to go into the BIOS, provide an entry i this area. Bear in mind that this value is in milliseconds, so if you’d like to pause for 3 seconds, enter 3000 here.
  • Force BIOS Setup. If you know that you’d like to boot into the BIOS, select this checkbox to force the virtual machine to boot into the BIOS the next time you restart it.
  • Failed Boot Recovery. I’ll admit that I’m a bit stumped about how this option can help. If there is no boot device, what good does it to try again, especially when VMware misspelled the work “automatically” in the description? 🙂 (this is vSphere 4.0/4.1). I suppose it can be useful in a situation in which a complete recovery is taking place and storage boots slower than the vSphere host. vSphere would simply retry the boot.

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