Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Getting the pesky browser plug-in to work for VMware Lab Manager

You've probably googled your eyes out trying to find an update, patch, or workaround to get the Lab Manger plugin to work with the browser or OS of your choice.  In some cases it's a lost cause, VMware has dropped the product and moved toward vCloud Director.  However, on almost all platforms there is a little hope you can get it / keep it working but you may need to make some compromises.

Below are some of the procedures we have found to alleviate some of the plug-in issues.  We first review the issues on Windows then Linux.
A note about MAC based Issues
At this time, the plugin is not natively supported on any MAC platform. You should consider running the plugin in IE on a Windows VM installed on your MAC using VMware Fusion. 

A note about the Plugin Files

For a few of these fixes you should grab the plugin source files, these are sitting on the lab manager server. You will need them if you run through a manual installation.

In some cases the initial console browser plugin installation can be a bit troublesome. The problem can usually be overcome by correcting browser settings and performing a clean administrative installation. Outlined below is the easier process first (resetting the browser and installing as an admin) followed by a manual uninstall and clean installation.

Default IE Settings and Install as Admin
Even though the plugin seems to be installed you may experience a browser crash or simply get a blank box where you expect to see the console window. Here are some fixes to try.

Run IE administratively:
Right click on the IE shortcut in your start menu and select “run as administrator
Go to: Tools Internet Options Advanced Click on the “Reset” button.

Restart the browser as an administrator and try to access the console once again.

Add your lab manager website to the trusted sites list:
Go to Tools Internet Options Security Trusted Sites Add the site

Be sure to enable the QuickMksAxCtl Class:
With IE closed, go to Control Panel Internet Options Programs Hit the “Manage Add-ons” button use the drop down menu to show downloaded controls and double click on the QuickMksCtl Class add-on. Select the button to allow it to run on all websites. Close this window then enable to add-on.

Manually uninstall the VMware console browser plugin from Internet Explorer
Run the following command as an administrator:
regsvr32 /s /u "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\PLUGINS\quickMksAx.dll"
Delete the following files:
C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\PLUGINS\msvcr71.dll
C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\PLUGINS\quickmksax.inf
C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\PLUGINS\ssleay32.dll
C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\PLUGINS\vmware-remotemks.exe
Manual VMware console browser plugin installation for Internet ExplorerBefore you begin the manual installation remove the plugin using the manual uninstallation procedure.
Extract the contents of the .cab file to
C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\PLUGINS\ 
Depending on your configuration you might run into system permission issues if you expand the cabinet file and try to directly copy to this folder using the GUI. If you experience this issue you may try opening the command prompt as an administrator and using the ‘expand’ command.
expand -F:* C:\ClientSoftware\VMware-mks.cab “C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\PLUGINS”
To register the plugin, run the following command as an administrator:
regsvr32 /s "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\PLUGINS\quickMksAx.dll"

If none of this seem to help:
Check the settings outlined in http://kb.vmware.com/kb/10233/
These VMware KB articles outline some of the above procedures:
- Running as admin
- Adding security exceptions
- Failed installation, manual intervention

Manual Installation for Firefox
Note: At this time the console plugin is not compatible with FireFox 4.
You may find 3.6 still available here: ftp://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/releases/3.6.28
Windows Linux
Use the plugin zip file, unzip the file's contents into:
%ProgramFiles%\Mozilla Firefox\plugins
Also, copy ssleay32.dll and libeay32.dll to
%ProgramFiles%\Mozilla Firefox

Manual Installation for Firefox 3
Note: At this time the console plugin is not compatible with FireFox 4.
You may find 3.6 still available here: http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/all-older.html
Download the zip file using the links above
Unzip the file's contents into
Other Linux Issues
Using Mozilla Firefox on Linux to access the Lab Manager Web console can cause problems with the console plugin.
There are a number of possible issues and solutions:

In Firefox on Linux, if error messages appear when you try to use a virtual machine's console, you might not have all required libraries installed.
For RHEL 64bit, you need to install compat-libstdc+-33-3.2.3 on the setup (ideally using yum, which also installs libstdc+.so.5), and for Ubuntu, go to http://packages.debian.org/stable/base/libstdc++5 and install the missing library.
If Firefox reports that it could not install the plugin (Cancelled -227), create a directory named "plugins" in $HOME/.mozilla on the client computer. Log in to Lab Manager and install the plugin. Restart Firefox.
If Firefox reports LoadPlugin: failed to initialize shared library /root/.mozilla/plugins/libmks.so, create a soft link to libexpat.so.
Lab Manager Web console page shows an empty box in Mozilla Firefox 3.6 on Linux
Some versions in Firefox 3.6 series strip executable permissions on files that are extracted from the XPI plugin binary (see http://blog.mozilla.com/addons/2010/01/22/broken-executables-in-extensions-in-firefox-3-6).

The console plugin does not load correctly and the console page appears blank. To resolve the issue, browse to the console plugin installation folder at
"/<Firefox_profile_folder>/extensions/VMwareMKSNPRTPlugin@vmware.com/plugins/" and run the command "chmod 755 *" to manually enable permissions on the files of that folder.
You may have luck on Ubuntu using an older version of firefox. (Links to older versions)
You may find that the solution is to use Firefox 3.5 or below as 3.6 or higher doesn't work with the VMware remote console plugin - since this is already not getting security updates, it's best to install it separately to the main Firefox, and use a new profile. To avoid messing up any Ubuntu version of firefox, just untar the Firefox 3.5 tar.gz under something like /opt/firefox-3.5
Here's a shell script that invokes this Firefox with the right profile, even if you have a more recent Firefox running (via the -no-remote):
# Run Firefox 3.5, for VMware 2.0 only
exec $prog -no-remote -P vmware-FF3.5
After you are done with the console, it's best to close the Firefox 3.5 instance, otherwise links clicked in other applications may open in the 3.5 instance.

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