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I’m working from home today, connected by VPN. I’m in the process of testing a bunch of Puppet stuff, and needed to re-image a bunch of VirtualBox VMs on my desktop at work, using PXE boot to Cobbler. I’m only connected to the desktop by SSH, and running the VMs with VBoxHeadless and connecting to them via RDP (well, VRDP). The problem with this is that if I start a VM on my console window, then switch to my RDP client and connect, by the time the VM gets keyboard focus, it’s already past the VBox “Press F12 to select boot device” prompt and booting from disk. I could modify the boot order on the VM, but then that becomes a pain when it reboots after the install.

Thanks to some of the guys on the VirtualBox IRC channel, I found out about the --bioslogodisplaytime option for VMs, which controls the length of time (in milliseconds) that the boot splash screen is shown (the default value seems to be 0). It’s included in the reference guide to VBoxManage in the modifyvm section. Setting this to a value of 10 seconds or so, as shown below, is more than enough for me to start the VM, Alt-Tab to my RDP client, connect to the VM, and hit ‘F12’ to select a one-time network boot:

VBoxManage modifyvm VMNAME --bioslogodisplaytime 10000

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