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Stupid question but this doesn't work, seems like it should. Is there a trick to access a booting Guest VM's bootmenu using KVM? I'm running the VM using virt-manager 0.8.7. KVM server is a CentOS 6.3 box running qemu-kvm-0.12.1.2-2.295.el6_3.8.x86_64. Guest is Windows 2008R2.

I added this to the Guest VM's XML:

% virsh edit DR-01
...
  <os>
    <type arch='x86_64' machine='rhel5.4.0'>hvm</type>
    <boot dev='hd'/>
    <bootmenu enable='yes'/>
  </os>

Doesn't give me the ability to hit the F8 key. Any ideas how to accomplish this?

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I just press F8. –  Michael Hampton Jan 4 '13 at 15:50
    
If F8 doesn't work try holding Ctrl while the VM is still in it's "BIOS" until the boot menu comes up. –  Chris S Jan 4 '13 at 15:52
    
@Michael Hamton: Yeah I tried that and it's not working. –  slm Jan 4 '13 at 15:52
    
I just tried fullscreen and hitting F8 and that worked, if it's windowed it doesn't. –  slm Jan 4 '13 at 15:53
    
@slm you should write this as an answer to your question and accept it to help future visitors. –  the-wabbit Jan 4 '13 at 16:42
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2 Answers

if you enable the boot menu in VM boot options, it will provide an extra delay, so you can refocus.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

The trick seems to be that you have to put the guest's virt-manager session in fullscreen mode. Here are the steps that I took to get this working:

1. Put guest in fullscreen mode

           Guest VM in fullscreen

2. Start the Guest VM

                                    start guest VM

3. Focus the VM immediately once it starts up by clicking inside its window w/ mouse

4. Start hitting the F8 key

5. Now you'll see the Guest VM's bootmenu

Guest VM's bootmenu

EDIT #1

If you're still having issue as I said in the question originally and as @dyasny mentioned in his answer, try giving yourself more time during boot up of the guest VM by adding the following to the guest's domain XML via the virsh command:

% virsh edit DR-01
...
<os>
  <type arch='x86_64' machine='rhel5.4.0'>hvm</type>
  <boot dev='hd'/>
  <bootmenu enable='yes'/>
</os>
share|improve this answer
    
actually, the more complex virt management solutions (RHEV/oVirt) have an option to start a VM in paused mode. This way, you have the console open and ready for F8 (or whatever else) you hit play, and easily switch to the console without a hurry –  dyasny Jan 6 '13 at 6:51
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