When accessing a virtual machine running (VM) on VMware vSphere through “Remote Console” you cannot use Copy&Paste from your desktop into the VM. This article will describe how you can enable this through the advanced settings of a VM.

Enableing Copy&Paste for a single VM with vSphere Client

  1. Chose the VM for which you want to enable copy and/or paste.

  2. Power off that VM.
    In vSphere Client the advanced settings are only viewable and editable while the virtual machine is powered off.
    If you like to set them while the VM is still running, use PowerCLI. But restart the VM for the change to take effect.

  3. Enter “Edit Settings”

    Edit Settings

  4. and chose the tab “VM Options”.

  5. Expand the tree of “Advanced”

    VM-Options -> Advanced

  6. and scroll down to the “Edit Configuration” button.

    Edit Configuration

  7. Now add one or both of these parameter:

    Name Value Purpose
    isolation.tools.copy.disable FALSE enables copying VM’s clipboard to the controlling desktop
    isolation.tools.paste.disable FALSE enables pasting of desktop’s clipboard into VM
    enable cut and paste
  8. Press “OK” to save changes


  9. and start VM.

Enabling Copy&Paste for a single VM with PowerCLI

You can add/change the “isolation.tools.copy.disable” and “isolation.tools.paste.disable” with PowerCLI while the VM is running.
But you have to restart the virtual machine for the change to take effect.

Below example uses only the parameter “isolation.tools.paste.disable” parameter to allow pasting into the virtual machine.
To allow copying from the VM repeat them mit “isolation.tools.copy.disable” instead.

  1. Make a PowerCLI connection to the vCenter or ESXi host.
  2. Query the current status of those parameters with:
    Get-VM "VM-Name" | Get-AdvancedSetting -Name isolation.tools.paste.disable
  3. Enable Pasting, … a. if the value does not exist with something like:
    Get-VM "VM-Name" | New-AdvancedSetting -Name isolation.tools.paste.disable -Value false
    b if it exist and needs to be changed use something like:
    Get-VM "VM-Name" | Get-AdvancedSetting -Name isolation.tools.paste.disable | Set-AdvancedSetting -Value fals

Additional Information

  • Copy&Paste only works on VMs with VMware Tools installed.
  • This instructions are for VMs running on VMware ESXi, either vCenter controlled or standalone.
  • This feature is disabled by default on VMware ESXi.
  • On VMware Fusion and Workstation Copy&Paste between VM and host is enabled by default.

Security Considerations

  • Enabling Copy&Paste can expose security risks, especially to the host / controlling machine.
  • If remote console is in focus processes on the virtual machine have access to the clipboard of the host / controlling machine.
    They can read and write to it.