vmware fusion

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macOS & Mac Apps

Hi folks,
Today I have been messing around a bit with VMware fusion, and have a few issues.
1. The usual, not being able to use caps lock as nvda key. There were guides that worked once upon a time, with Karabiner and Seil. However, the new Karabiner doesn't seem to have the same function, and seil doesn't seem to be compatible with Katalina. I have heard of some folks using the grave accent key for this instead, but in Windows, I run a particular app that would have a conflict. So, I really need to have it be caps lock. The only other one I can think would work is the function key, as I have mac os set to use standard function keys, and I rarely if ever use the special features assigned to these. But, from what I can tell, sharpkeys doesn't let you reassign the function key.
2. My function keys aren't working in Windows either. One of the main reasons I need them is for the nvda remote add-on, as it is toggled with f11 in Windows. Is there any way to get those working as they should, or will they always be intercepted by mac?
3. I discovered VMware unity mode, which I thought never worked before. This lets you open the apps on the windows side, and then merge them with your mac apps, so you can cmd + tab through all of them. Right now, in VMware, I still have to track down the button to do this. Is there a key combination to do it? I did find this mode pretty handy, though it would be nice to not have the two screen readers speaking over one another.
I have Windows really for just one or two apps, and while I can just use bootcamp, if I can get VMware working as I want and need it, that would be awesome.
Honestly, if the folks who make the NVDA remote add-on could create a mac app that would interface with it, and if crossover or wine apps were compatible with Windows, I would skip the whole windows installation altogether. But as of yet I don't think either of these are possible, or likely to be possible in the near future, so bootcamp and vm it is. lol
I know I could use TeamViewer to control my other desktop pc, but I find it slow and unreliable, and the NVDA remote add-on is just awesome, and works. Guessing it is so much faster since it only sends nvda audio, not entire system audio and video. So nvda remote add-on plus an app called Mumble, make for super easy remote broadcasting on my online radio station, and remote control of studio pc. Very stable and little to no lag.
Anyway, help with getting VMware and NVDA working will be much appreciated.

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Comments

Submitted by Jim Weiss on Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Justin,
I was wondering if you made any headway with the "Caps Lock" key being intercepted by Mac OS. I am running Windows 10 and JAWS and need for the Caps Lock key to work as well. My only work around at the moment is to use an external keyboard.
Thanks

Submitted by Justin Harris on Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Sorry,
No luck here. I would stick with bootcamp for now.
Slightly frustrating.

Submitted by Malthe on Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Hi!
Regarding CapsLock, You can use Karabiner Elements to do this. Get it here:
https://karabiner-elements.pqrs.org/
I wrote a rule to make it remap CapsLock only in fusion. I put it on Dropbox here:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/lsk6w51gfv16iix/remap%20capslock.json?dl=0

Regarding your function keys, they should work. Did you set the "Use F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys on external keyboards" option in keyboard preferences?

Regarding unity, I don't remember, but I think it's something like cmd+u or cmd+shif+u.

Best
Malthe

Submitted by Justin Harris on Wednesday, May 13, 2020

I took a look at this, but couldn't find a button to download the rule. Not sure how to add or import it. But I am glad to know it is possible.
As far as function keys, they are set to standard in mac os preferences. I don't ever recall anything about external keyboards. Where do I find this?

Submitted by Malthe on Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Hi
You should be able to find this option in system preferences>keyboard>keyboard tab.

Regarding Karabiner Elements, I think you have to import the rule from the preference window in the "complex modifications" tab. Unfortunately I'm not at my mac right now, so I can't verify how to do it.

Best
Malthe

Submitted by Jim Weiss on Wednesday, May 13, 2020

In reply to by Justin Harris

Justin,
After I wrote to you I scrolled down and found some related threads that offered some help.
One had an October 2019 date and it offered some help.
1. I disabled the Mac Host Keys option in the Fusion settings. It did not seem to work as advertised, but am still playing with it.
2. I created a new key mapping in Fusion and I am making progress.
***
Make sure your VM is shut down.
I am working in the Fusion settings (CMD ,) at the moment, not the VM settings (CMD E).
In the toolbar of preferences I selected the Keyboard and mouse tab.
I selected the Windows 10 profile and then VO right arrowed over to the Key Mapping tab and selected it. Keep VO right arrowing till you can add a new key mapping.
The interface is VERY clunky and frustrating!
Hit the Add button.
Use the VO left arrow key and make sure you are at the very beginning. My VO read "From".
As you move to the right you should see check boxes for "Shift" "Control", "Option" and "Command" and then a combo box.
I personally selected "Shift" It appears that you must select at least one modifier key.
On the combo box use VO and space bar. This is very clunky. Without using my VO modifiers I used just the up and down arrows and saw all of the options. I landed on Caps Lock and then did a VO Shift Up arrow to stop interacting with the combo box. It took several times and often it selected the wrong key. Also my system was moving focus to the "Clear" button several times. Once my "From" key was set, I moved to the right and you will see check boxes for the Windows modifier keys. I am assuming that the check box that VO doesn't read a description for is the Windows key. I left all of these unchecked. In the next combo box I did the same steps except this time I selected "Insert". When everything seemed to look correct I hit the "OK" button. I went back to the table and the last row was my new mapping.
I restarted my VM and once logged in gave it a test. I pressed and held Shift + Caps Lock and the ; and my cursor did change. VO did say "Caps Lock", but I modified the activity that I created in the VO utility and it squashed it from speaking.
I did find that I needed to create an "Activity" in VO utility to make sure the track pad and quick key navigation commanders get disabled when I am working in a VM.
Hope some of this helps and doesn't make it more confusing.
Jim

Submitted by Justin Harris on Wednesday, May 13, 2020

I went to complex rules, but there is only the option to import from their web site it seems. I was able to download your rule, but can't seem to import.

Submitted by Malthe on Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Hi
I did a bit of googling, because I forgot how I did it, but I think you have two options:
1. Put the rule in "~/.config/karabiner/karabiner.json". Source:
https://github.com/pqrs-org/Karabiner-Elements/issues/803
2. Make Karabiner download the rule from the dropbox by supplying it with the URL, but make dropbox init download at once, I think this link should make it download directly without showing the Dropbox lander page:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/lsk6w51gfv16iix/remap%20capslock.json?dl=1

Hope this helps

Malthe

Submitted by Jim Weiss on Wednesday, May 13, 2020

In reply to by Justin Harris

Justin,
I deleted my key mapping and recreated it and I was not required to select a modifier key on the Mac side.
I was able to just select "Caps Lock" on the Mac side and map it to "Insert" on the Windows side.
It seems to be working, but my problem now is I don't know all of the "laptop" key sequences to test everything fully. The few things I know did work.
I still have my Mac Host keys disabled and that is working as advertised, I may have been changing to many things at once and it may have actually been enabled the first time I tried it.

Submitted by Justin Harris on Saturday, May 16, 2020

I finally got caps lock workin with Karabiner. For the life of me I could not import that rule, so what I did is just remap caps lock to help all the time. I rarely ever need to use caps lock anyway, so no big deal.
Anyway, my one major annoyance in windows is the key mapping. And yes, I know I can change a lot of this in sharp keys. However, when I set them like I want them, it messes with alt tab on the mac side of things.
If I just bootcamp it, there's no prob. Let me explain.
As most probably know, windows on the mac defines cmd as the windows key, option as alt. To just bootcamp it, you can switch these with no problem. But when you switch them and run in VMware, it messes things up. Instead of alt tabbing in windows, you end up moving away from VMWare entirely.
Now, in that case, most people could just assign one command key to windows and one to mac. That option does exist in VMware. But, for me it's not that easy. See, I use a Spanish keyboard layout, and instead of using shift to type some symbols you use right alt. No idea why left alt doesn't work, but it has to be right alt. So, I have right command switched from a Windows key to right alt, and right option switched to right control, because some shortcuts, only having left control are quite unnatural to try and type.
At the end of the day though, rarely will I use VMWare. It does make my fan come on and get rather loud on this 2015 macbook pro. Bootcamping it might be better, though I like having the option.

Submitted by Garry Turkington on Sunday, May 17, 2020

I also use Karibiner Elements successfully with a Windows 10 VM. Here's what I do:

1. In my Mac set caps lock to 'no action' in system preferences -> keyboard
2. In Karibiner Elements set a mapping to map caps lock to something I rarely use, I use num pad 1.
3. I install Sharp Keys in Windows and map num pad 1 to caps lock
4. Not needed but for my sanity I use Fusion keyboard mappings to swap cmd and option to be alt and windows and not the reverse. And yes that dialogue is a bit of a pain.

The above does mean I can't use caps lock anywhere in the Mac world but that's never been an issue for my workflow.

Re alt-tab not working in Windows but instead doing a command-tab to move you away from Fusion, go into Fusion keyboard preferences and disable Mac host shortcuts. This setting is on by default and directs sequences such as cmd-tab to the Mac host and not the guest OS which is not what you want.