VMWare Fusion, Lion, and Spaces

If like me you like to use VMWare Fusion in fullscreen mode and you have upgraded to v4, you might have noticed that things don’t work the way they used to. Fusion 3 did its own fullscreen thing, without using Lion’s “fullscreen = space” mechanism. That meant you could easily switch between Mac apps and the fullscreen Fusion using the app switcher or the dock.

Fusion 4 uses Lion’s fullscreen mechanisms, which means it gets its own Space. Clicking on the VMWare Fusion icon in the Dock does not (by default) switch to the fullscreen view, and neither does using the application switcher (Cmd-Tab).

I got sick of using Mission Control to select the Space for Fusion, so I did some googling and found 2 tips that give me two easy ways of switching to Fusion in fullscreen again:

1. In Mission Control settings, select “When switching to an application, switch to a space with open windows for the application”

This means that when you switch to Fusion (using the Dock or app switcher) it will automatically take you to the fullscreen Space, instead of just dumbly displaying the Fusion menu bar with no windows.

2. In Keyboard, make sure the shortcuts for switching between spaces are active

Unfortunately, it looks like you can’t assign a key to directly “switch to Fusion”, but you can use Ctrl-> and Ctrl <- to switch between spaces.

So now clicking on the Fusion icon in the dock takes me to the fullscreen view, even if the app is hidden (Cmd H which is a quick way of getting back from the fullscreen Space), and I can use the keys to switch between Spaces.

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2 thoughts on “VMWare Fusion, Lion, and Spaces

  1. Alex

    I find Spaces infuriating. Yes, I want my Win7 VM in fullscreen mode, I use it for development. No, I don’t want it to have its own space. Why is this not my decision to make? When Googling for things, I like to use my web browser in OSX, not in the VM. That’s constant cmd-tabbing back & forth, which worked fine before Spaces.

    Sorry to vent, I’m searching high & wide for other people who find it as frustrating as I do and you’re the closest to it.

    I just want to disable Fullscreen apps using Spaces. Seems I’m the only one it bothers.

    1. You’re not the only one 🙂 But if you set things up as described above, you can still use Cmd-Tab to switch – you just have to learn to put up with the animation as you move between Spaces. I’m looking for a way to disable that animation…

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