VMware mouse grab/ungrab problem

If you upgrade GTK library to the newest 2.18 version (comes with the new Gnome 2.28) your VMware Workstation 6.5.3 won't work well. Even if you have "Grab when cursor enters window" option set, VMware won't grab your pointer when you move mouse into the VMware window. Also, if you use ctrl-G to capture the pointer, VMware window will release it as soon as you move mouse around a little bit. Quite annoying behavior...

Fortunately, there's a simple workaround that can fix things until VMware resolves incompatibilities with the new GTK library. VMware Workstation ships with many standard libraries including libgtk, so the only thing you need to do is to force it to use it's own versions. The simplest way to do that is to add the following line to the end of the /etc/vmware/bootstrap configuration file and restart the Workstation.


The interface will look slightly odd, because older version of GTK is being used, but at least it will work properly.



thank you

Thank you very much, author. It works beautifully. And i can really survive with the looking of old gtk look. it isn't that bad.

Sure it isn't. :) Although strangest thing happened to me today, somehow my whole desktop took the colors of the VMware default gtk theme (after fresh login, with VMware running in background). I don't have the faintest idea how that could even be possible, but it really happened. I logged out, logged back in and everything was back to normal. Strange...

Thanks for stopping by, and I'm glad the solution works for you.

Hello ,

Are you using the paid workstation or VMware server?

I'm using workstation.

Now everything works but not consistenly clickable. The respond is slow when i switch VMware and Debian Linux (xfce).

Do you have this problem?


I've noticed that when you enable 2 CPU-s for the guest, things are much slower now, on new kernels, than they were before. I don't know why. I also notice UI slowdown because of that, especially when switching among windows.

Try enabling only 1 CPU for the guest and see if it helps.

I had the same problem with slow UI with enabled 2 CPU on guest. After change back to 1 CPU it is fast again. Thanks for a tip. I am using kernel on openSUSE 11.2 RC...

I using Fedora 11, mouse is working fine with Gnome with/without this change. But with XFCE, mouse grab is normal but ungrab is slow (up to 5 secs) again with / without this change. Any idea why?

New version of GTK became available in Debian sid, and I decided to test it without forcing VMware to use the shipped gtk libraries. Funny thing is, it's almost fixed. :)

"Almost" meaning, it still doesn't work properly, but now the behavior is different, you can move mouse around, but as soon as you leave the "safe box" in the upper left corner, mouse gets jerky because VMware obviously grabs/ungrabs the pointer at a fast rate. Some things can be done in this mode, but it's still far from being normal.

This also means that maybe the new major version of libgtk (2.18) introduced this bug, it might not be VMware's deficiency, after all? Part of the bad behavior has been fixed, remains to be seen will it be resolved completely in some new minor version of libgtk...

I have the same problem: I can move mouse around, but as soon as I leave the "safe box" in the upper left corner (I would say a quadrant), mouse gets jerky because VMware obviously grabs/ungrabs the pointer at a fast rate (the pointer changes from an arrow==grabbed to a hand==released). I have libgtk 2.18.3-1. However, I am running vmware server 2.0 and the bootstrap file does not exist. I created it and placed the export statement (see above suggestion) but the problem remains.

I tried placing the export statement directly into the lib/vmware/lib/wrapper-gtk24.sh script... no change either.

I would appreciate the help,


Found the answer: start the console with the script:


homedir/.mozilla/firefox/91ll6omu.default/extensions/VMwareVMRC@vmware.com/plugins/vmware-vmrc -h ""


Definitely you can use vmware console own script in


and add in the second line:


I don't know if there is a real property somewhere to set

anyway thanks a lot for the solution.

works for me except that i didnt had a .default-folder under firefox, but rather a 6xk63wv2.default one. Thanks!

Thank you, this is finally the solution I was looking for. Much more elegant than any of the other suggested methods I've read.

Many thanks for resolving this.


Just wanted to say thanks for this solution. Worked perfectly for me on Arch w/ vmware-player.

I've made the change said by Payne and it works now.
Thanks a lot guys!

and add in the second line:

For info. Ubuntu Karmic host and WinXP guest.

You are the One, thanks a lot!

I just followed these instructions for VMware Server 2.0.2 running on Ubuntu 10.04 and it worked great! Thanks!!

The problem persists on Ubuntu 9.10 (x64) XFCE 4.6.1 and VMWare Workstation 7.0.0 build-203739 x64;

I solved it by using the openbox window manager instead of the default xfwm4 of XFCE; my openbox was already installed because I installed the LXDE desktop using Synaptic Manager.

I hope there will be a fix for vmware/xfwm

good luck


The text is the following:


Using Openbox in XFCE 4

NOTE: You must have Openbox (and possibly ObConf) already installed to use this guide.

To use Openbox with XFCE, log into your normal XFCE session. Then, run these commands in a terminal:

killall xfwm4 ; openbox & exit

This command kills the XFCE window manager, runs Openbox, and closes the terminal. Now you must log out and log back in. When you go to log out, make sure you check the box that says "Save session for future login" or something like that. When you log back in, XFCE will use Openbox.

To be able to exit the session using xfce4-session, open your file ~/.config/openbox/menu.xml (if it isn't there, copy it from /etc/xdg/openbox/menu.xml). Look for the entry

and change it for the following


Otherwise, using the "Exit" entry of the root-menu will cause Openbox to terminate its execution.

Also, if you notice scrolling the wheel to change between virtual desktops skips one or another virtual desktop (and this bothers you and would like to fix it just for mental sake), open your ~/.config/openbox/rc.xml file and move the mouse binds with actions "DesktopPrevious" and "DesktopNext" from the context "Desktop" to the context "Root" (you may need to define the Root context).
If you want to use the Openbox root-menu instead of Xfce's, (right click over the desktop) you could terminate Xfdesktop by running the following command in a terminal:

xfdesktop --quit

The bad news is that Xfdesktop manages the wallpaper and desktop icons, so you should use other tools for that purpose (check the FAQ for some ideas). By terminating Xfdesktop, the former issue with the virtual desktops is no longer a problem.



I am a bit of a noob and this has been driving me nuts!

Thank-you so much for explaining why it is happening and for fixing the problem.

Works like a charm.


Don't think you're a noob only because you didn't know how to solve that yourself. That is a very subtle software incompatibility and we're lucky that it can be solved at all. :)

Thank you - this solved the problem on Ubuntu 9.10 / VMware 6.5. / Gnome desktop

Also, I can now switch from the Guest to another process without minimizing the Guest window first (previously, the Guest window would always stay on top of all other windows).