Increase type delay for slow connections to virtual machine consoles

If you access a virtual machine console over a slow connection, you'll encounter keyboard sync issues. Virtualization expert Rick Vanover shows how to configure a value to reduce this frustration.

A recent Tweet by blogger Mike Laverick piqued my interest because he was asking how to set a value for a problem that I deal with on a frequent basis. Here's the issue: If you open a remote console to a virtual machine from a slow network connection (such as a VPN) while tethered to a mobile phone providing Internet access, the experience is not optimal, as keyboard and mouse gestures aren't timed exactly the same. This is especially problematic if you try to enter a password where the characters are masked.

In Mike's Tweet, he brought up the keyboard.typematicMinDelay setting, which is entered as an advanced configuration value into the virtual machine configuration. If you set a value of 2000000, it will make the virtual console wait two seconds before duplicate characters are sent on a key being pressed. Figure A shows a configuration of this value in an ESX(i) virtual machine. Figure A
Click the image to enlarge.

This configuration is written into the virtual machine's .VMX file, which details what the virtual machine has configured. The .VMX file is what vCenter Server uses to inventory virtual machines on an ESX(i) host. The line shows up as:

keyboard.typematicMinDelay = "2000000"

You can edit the .VMX files directly, but a better practice is to configure this value within the vSphere Client for a virtual machine template. When you consider that most of the access to a virtual machine is provided by tools such as remote desktop, there is no harm in configuring this value globally for all virtual machines that originate from a template. VMware KB article 196 has additional information on the keyboard.typematicMinDelay value.

Have you configured the keyboard.typematicMinDelay value? If so, share your comments below.