Creating a UEFI-Enabled VM in VMware Fusion

Let’s say you want to build a new VMware Fusion virtual machine using the newer UEFI firmware instead of the traditional BIOS. How is that done in VMware Fusion? Unlike VMware Workstation and ESXi, there’s no GUI-based option to choose EFI over BIOS (at least as of this writing). So, I decided to put this post together to walk you through the process. I should also point out that this needs to be done before an operating system is installed to the VM.

If you’re not sure what the differences are between UEFI and BIOS, How-To-Geek has two great articles that explain how newer UEFI firmware differs from traditional BIOS; “What Is UEFI, and How Is It Different from BIOS?” and “What You Need to Know About Using UEFI Instead of the BIOS.”

It’s pretty simple to tell if your VM is running BIOS or UEFI simply by looking at the boot screen. When you power on your VM, the boot screen will look like one of the following screenshots:

Before We Begin, Install a Quality Text Editor

Before diving into the meat and potatoes of creating a UEFI-enabled VM, I highly recommend installing a more robust text editor, like TextWrangler. (That is, if you don’t already have one installed). Feel free to use the plain text editor of your choice, but I suggest you shy away from using TextEdit, Word, or Pages just to be safe, as they may tweak the formatting of the text.

Create a New Virtual Machine

Open VMware Fusion and create a new virtual machine. After the VM is created, but before installing an operating system, we’ll need to make a change to the virtual machine’s *.vmx file.

  1. If the VM is powered on, shut it down or power it off. From the menu bar, select Virtual Machine > Shut Down and click Shut Down in the confirmation dialog.
  2. From the Virtual Machine Library window, right-click on the VM and choose Show in Finder. Ignore the Finder window for now, as we’ll come back to that in the next section.
    VMware-Fusion-UEFI-03-Open-in-Finder
  3. I also recommend quitting the VMware Fusion app just to be safe. From the menu bar, select VMware Fusion > Quit VMware Fusion.
    VMware-Fusion-UEFI-04-Quit-Fusion

Edit the *.vmx File to Enable UEFI

  1. In the Finder window that appeared in the previous step, locate your VM, right-click, and choose Show package contents.
    VMware-Fusion-UEFI-05-Show-Package-Contents
  2. In the contents of this package are a number of VM-related files and folders. Look for the file that ends with .vmx (Such as Windows 8 x64.vmx).
    VMware-Fusion-UEFI-06-Package-Contents-in-Finder
  3. Right-click on the *.vmx file and open with your preferred text editor.
    VMware-Fusion-UEFI-07-Open-With-Text-Editor
  4. In the text editor, insert the following line of text: firmware = “efi”

    VMware-Fusion-UEFI-08-Modify-VMX
    I typically add firmware = “efi” on line 4 of the VMX file.
  5. Save the changes to the *.vmx file and proceed with the installation of the guest OS! You should now see the UEFI firmware screen whenever the VM is powered on.

    VMware-Fusion-UEFI-01b-UEFI-Boot-Screen
    UEFI Firmware

And there you have it! I hope this post helped you figure out how to create a new UEFI-enabled VM in VMware Fusion! As always, thanks for stopping by!

Mac Seems to Routinely Wake Up from Sleep

Now, I know I said this blog was going to focus mostly on virtualization and all, but every once in a while, you stumble across a tech-related issue and a fix or workaround that’s just worth sharing. This, in my opinion, is one of those times.

Occasionally, my Mac would wake itself up from sleep mode every now and again. At first, it didn’t seem like much of an issue, but I recently noticed that it seemed to be recurring at regular intervals, almost on a schedule of sorts. So, I took to the web to see if I could figure out the issue and here’s what I found:

Check the logs using Terminal

  • Open a new Terminal window (found in /Applications/Utilities) and run one of the following commands (based on your OS version):
  • For Mac OS 10.12 “Sierra”:
    log show | grep -i "wake reason"
  • For Mac OS 10.11 “El Capitan” or earlier:
    syslog | grep -i "wake reason"
  • I ran the terminal commands on my system, and in the screenshot below, the logs showed that a “Wake from sleep” instance was occurring almost every two hours!

What do these “Wake Reason” codes mean?

Ok, so my system is waking from sleep on a regular basis due to a RTC code, but what does that actually mean? Well, I found a blog post over at www.osxdaily.com that explains the codes in more detail:

  • OHC: Open Host Controller (usually a USB or Firewire device). If you see OHC1 or OHC2 it is probably an external USB keyboard or mouse that has woken up the machine.
  • EHC: Enhanced Host Controller is another USB interface, but can also be wireless devices and bluetooth since they are also on the USB bus of a Mac.
  • USB: a USB device woke the machine up
  • LID0: this is literally the lid of your MacBook portable, when you open the lid the machine wakes up from sleep
  • PWRB: Power Button, which is the physical power button on your Mac
  • RTC: Real Time Clock Alarm, is generally from wake-on-demand services like when you schedule sleep and wake on a Mac via the Energy Saver preference pane. It can also be from a launched setting, user applications, backups, and other scheduled events.

As you can see from my Terminal screenshot, I had a RTC code kicking off every two hours. Because of the RTC codes, I decided to check my settings in the Energy Saver system preferences. I also had a few UHC and EHC codes mixed in there, which was probably me (or someone in my family) clicking the mouse or keyboard to wake the system from sleep.

See if “Wake for network access” is set

  • Open System Preferences > Energy Saver
  • Uncheck: Wake for network access

See if a Schedule is set

  • While still in the System Preferences > Energy Saver window, click Schedule…
  • Ensure that Startup or wake is unchecked (unless, of course, you actually want your system to startup or sleep at a specific time).

As it turns out, my particular situation was indeed the result of “Wake for network access” being checked in the Energy Saver preference pane. After unchecking this setting, my system is no longer waking from sleep every two hours! Hopefully this post helps you to resolve your Mac’s “Wake from Sleep” woes. As always, thanks for stopping by!