I have created a work-around and will share here, because this is an important (essential) capability to have.
Question: How do I set up VMWare Workstation 12.5 (running on a Windows host) to automatically suspend all guest VM’s when the host OS shuts down or restarts?
I have read several posts on this over the years: I know they exist, but none are helpful.
Fact: Windows 10 will automatically apply updates and restart the machine whenever it feels like it, with little ability for the user to control or disable this behavior.
I am a developer and business user, and use VMWare Workstation (NOT Server) so that I can have multiple VM’s open for various interactive purposes: different development environments, different applications, etc.
If Windows 10 chooses to apply an update in my absence (which it regularly does, without my ability to prevent this from happening), this essentially halts all the running VM’s, causing loss of work and potential data corruption. This is entirely unacceptable.
To be clear, this is not a matter of convenience (i.e. that I am lazy and don’t want to suspend the gust VM’s before I explicitly shutdown), but is rather that the host OS may spontaneously shutdown or restart without my control. Thus random loss of work and data is an inherent and regularly-encountered aspect of running VMWare Workstation 12.5 on a Windows 10 host. There must be a way to correct this problem.
Should be Automatic
According to: VMware Workstation 12 Pro Release Notes a new feature of VMWare Workstation Pro 12 was: “Automatically suspend virtual machines upon host shutdown”. But this does not seem to actually work / to be present, and I can find no menu options or documentation pertaining to this feature.
A Windows “shutdown” script won’t always work for Windows 10 because of the way fastboot works and because of other changes to the shutdown sequence in Windows 10 (not well-understood). This means that old answers that say “Create a shutdown script…configure in GPO”, etc. are not satisfactory.
Even disabling fastboot does not allow shutdown scripts to run reliably. There are a number of potential factors, including whether or not you are booting the host from a VHD or from a physical disk, edition of Windows, etc.
Furthermore, even if you could get the shutdown script to run reliably, it may run too late in the shutdown sequence–after the applications, including VMWare Workstation have been terminated…which means that the Windows shutdown script approach is not a useful option.
Solution: Create a Scheduled Task in Windows Task Scheduler
The heart of this work-around is to create a scheduled task using the Windows Task Scheduler. The scheduled task should be triggered by certain system events (not by a specific time-of-day schedule).
There are several different events that must trigger this task, as some events apply to only certain shutdown sequences (i.e. command line-initiated, Windows UI initiated, power button, system updates, etc.)
The actual script to execute is below.
The scheduled task should have the following:
Launch “Task Scheduler”
Click on “Task Scheduler Library” treeview (left side of screen)
Click on “Create Task” in the Actions window (right side of screen)
Under “General” tab, provide an appropriate name
Under “General” tab, check: “Run only when the user is logged on”
Under “General” tab, check: “Run with highest privileges”
Under “Triggers”, you will click “New” to add a new trigger, and will repeat this and the following settings 6 times (6 individual triggering events should be set). For each:
“Begin the task:” should be set to “On an event”
Select the Log, and the Source, and type in the Event ID for each of the 6 events. The rest of the settings on the screen can be left at their defaults.
Source:Microsoft Windows security auditing.
Source:Microsoft Windows security auditing.
Under “Actions” tab click “New”, the default Action of “Start a program”, and click Browse or type in the path to the batch file (see below for the batch file itself).
By using a scheduled task that is triggered by these events, it seems like Windows 10 does reliably launch the batch file at shutdown (or more technically correct, at user logoff).
Create a batch file and save it somewhere on you local hard drive. You can use Notepad to do this. Name it something that ends in .bat (not .txt)…so when in Notepad you click Save, make sure “Save as file type” is set to “All Files (*.*)” so that Notepad does not append a .txt to the filename.
The contents of the file should be something like this:
echo SuspendRunningVMs Command (x64)…
REM Specify where vmrun.exe can be located
SET WSPath=”C:Program Files (x86)VMwareVMware Workstation”
REM Get the list of currently running VMs
%WSPath%vmrun.exe list | FIND /V “Total running VMs:” > %temp%vmlist.txt
REM Suspend all running VMs
FOR /F “delims=*” %%v IN (%temp%vmlist.txt) DO CALL :SuspendVM “%%v”
echo Waiting for the VMs to suspend…
REM Pause until no more VMs are running
%WSPath%vmrun.exe list | FIND “Total running VMs: 0”
IF NOT ERRORLEVEL 1 GOTO End
timeout /t 10 /nobreak
echo End of script; all VMs suspended.
REM Suspend a VM
REM Suspend any running VM. Workaround a “vmrun list” quirk that outputs
REM a blank line, by not trying to suspend a blank VM
IF %1x==x GOTO :EOF
echo Suspending VM %1
%WSPath%vmrun.exe suspend %1
REM Allow some time after suspend call (allow disk to write vmem).
echo Wait a little bit for the VM to commit…
timeout /t 15 /nobreak
REM Resume a VM (not used now, but may have use in future)
REM Resume any suspended VM. Workaround a “vmrun list” quirk that outputs
REM a blank line, by not trying to start a blank VM
IF %1x==x GOTO :EOF
echo Starting VM %1
%WSPath%vmrun.exe start %1
I cannot understand how auto-suspend of all VM’s upon shutdown of the Windows host has not been and is still not a built-in feature of VMWare Workstation running on Windows. This seems to be critical to anyone who does not want to loose work and risk corrupting data in their VM’s. This need has intensified with Windows 10 as the host, because Windows will spontaneously reboot the computer when it applies updates, and Microsoft does not provide a way to prevent this spontaneous reboot from occurring.
Please, VMWare, make this capability a feature of future VMWare Workstation releases. This is not a “server-only” feature: even interactive users of VM’s don’t want to loose unsaved data and state of their virtual machines.
I did a lot of research on this, and was aided by a number of different posts from different people. I will provide the URL’s here:
https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/a9eaa5ac-b772-4647-a0b1-72257cdc091a/windows-10-shutdown-scripts-not-always-running?forum=win10itprosetupWindows CMD Script to Aid Backups (esp. post #3)
VMware Workstation 12 Pro Release Notes (see “Automatically suspend virtual machines upon host shutdown”)
Improvement Suggestion: Suspend VMs Automatically On Host Log-off/Shut-down