Technology Tales

Adventures & experiences in contemporary technology

VMware Workstation in full screen mode hobbles my keyboard

14th May 2008

I have recently encountered an odd situation following my recent upgrade to Ubuntu 8.04: when I use VMware Workstation to run Windows XP in full screen mode, the keyboard no longer acts as it should. For instance, Caps Lock and Num Lock keys stop working as does the Shift key. Logging out and back in again is the least that’s needed to set things right but there has to be a better way to fix the problem. I am not saying that it’s limited to the scenario where I saw it happen but it’s still very odd behaviour. If you have a solution, please let me know. Of course, I’ll keep you posted if I find one. In the meantime, I’ll be avoiding full screen mode with VMware as much as I can.

Update 1:

I have done a spot of digging on this one since and gained the impression that there might be a conflict between VMware and the version of Server that comes with Ubuntu. A restorative trick that I have seen suggested is to issue the following command in a terminal, replacing "gb" with your own locale, but I have yet to see if it works:

setxkbmap -rules xorg -layout "gb"

In any case, it looks as if it is not a permanent fix but just a way to keep working without resorting to system restarts, logging off and back on, etc.

Update 2:

I can now verify that the comand quoted above works for me. Of course, it would better to find a permanent fix and even better for the behaviour never to occur at all but any fix is better than none whatsoever.


  • Alex says:


    Thanks a lot for the tip. In my case, I have this problem without full screen mode, straight after starting my virtual machine.

  • John Hennessy says:

    Yes, I have seen on the web that the problem manifests itself in a number of ways and even seems afflict users of Ubuntu 7.10 too. I hope that this gets fixed soon…

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