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We have a bunch of users that have vSphere and have access the vms on ESX 5.0 server. I'd like to be able to give them access to the vSphere console so they can view what's happening but not interact in any way.

I tried this using permissions, only enabling console interaction but I could still interact with the guest OS.

Any ideas on how to do this?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

There's no granular way to separate out these permissions - if a user has the rights to open the console of a running VM, they also have the rights to send keystrokes and mouse movements to it.

View-only to the console's screen might not be that useful anyway, as most OSes will go to a black screen after a while, requiring a keystroke to put anything on the screen.

Would letting them capture screenshots into the datastore be sufficient for your needs?

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Thanks for the reply Shane. Since there seems to be no way of offering a view-only solution, screenshots sound reasonable. Is there a way of delete them after a specified time, like a week? That way, they wouldn't fill up the datastore. – bearaman Jun 19 '14 at 9:06
Shane, do you know if it's possible to present a message to users after they login to vSphere? Something they can click OK to and continue as normal? – bearaman Jun 19 '14 at 10:02
@bearaman Unfortunately, there's no automatic way to clear the snapshots - you could write a script to do it, though. For the message on login, yup, that's here: – Shane Madden Jun 19 '14 at 16:06
thanks for that. Is there any way to present the message only to users of in a particular usergroup? I want to show certain users a warning but others won't see any message. Thanks for all your help Shane. – bearaman Jun 23 '14 at 10:44
@bearaman Unfortunately, not that I know of - I think it's everyone or nothing. – Shane Madden Jun 23 '14 at 15:59

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