I recently got a new machine for work, with lots of fancy memory and everything. First thing to do was install a friendly operating system with gnome-shell, and set up a VM for my windows/office requirements at work.

Normally I would favour Virt-Manager+kvm, but since we're now using vmware-server (and soon vsphere hypervisor) I thought it would be better to keep compatible. Luckilly, vmware has a free player that works pretty well for my basic needs.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a conflict between vmware-player and gnome-shell, that occasionally causes the enture UI to completely hang. Switching to a console and issuing pkill -9 gnome-shell was sufficient to get the system to kick itself back to functioning again. However, this was extremely annoying.

I finally found a workaround: Setting a hidden preference in vmware to allow a VM to continue running after the player program has quit, then using RDP to connect to my windows VM (I could probably also set up VNC console access via the vm config as well)

The preferences file is "~/.vmware/preferences". Add the following line:

pref.vmplayer.exit.vmAction = "disconnect"

Configuring RDP to your windows VM (or VNC through vmware) is documented elsewhere, and left as an exercise to the reader.