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Tweak Chrome Web browser to fix vSphere Web Client

Google has slowly peeled away NPAPI support from its Chrome Web browser. Here's how to get it working with the vSphere Web Client.

As most VMware users are aware, the vSphere Web Client isn't the greatest of client management tools. It has performance...

issues. It is clunky to navigate.

Now, if you use the Chrome Web browser with the vSphere Web Client, you can't run the Client Integration Plug-in which stops you from using Windows session authentication and prevents the ability to transfer files from your desktop or deploy OVF templates. This change affects vSphere Web Client 5.x and 6.0.

OVF template deployment
When attempting to deploy an OVF template in the Chrome Web browser, it will fail because the browser no longer runs the Client Integration Plug-in.

The reason why the Client Integration Plug-in no longer functions is due to its dependence on the Netscape Plug-in API (NPAPI). Toward the end of 2013, Google announced it would eventually drop NPAPI from its Chrome Web browser and started to slowly phase out NPAPI support with each version. Google said the reason for this change was due to NPAPI being insecure and a source behind freezes and crashes. Then, with the release of Chrome version 42 in April, Google disabled NPAPI support by default. Google said it will remove NPAPI support permanently from Chrome in September.

Given all the advance warning, VMware really should have designed a new vSphere Web Client to use a different interaction method, such as like HTML5. This change is proving quite troublesome for a large number of users who are using the vSphere Web Client with Chrome to manage their systems. It seems many in IT who use Chrome were not aware Google was dropping NPAPI support until they upgraded the browser and found they had lost authentication capabilities along with OVF template deployment.

VMware attempted to address this change by releasing the VMware Remote Console (VMRC) application, which added remote console functionality to the vSphere Web Client. However, VMRC still doesn't allow you the ability to deploy OVF templates.

What can you do to deal with this issue?

  1. Enable NPAPI support by entering chrome://flags/#enable-npapi into the address bar in the Chrome browser and clicking the Enable link. Note that this solves the problem only temporarily. The flag will be removed in Chrome version 45 along with NPAPI support.
  2. Use a different browser. Internet Explorer and Firefox still support the vSphere Web Client Plug-in by a different way of implementing NPAPI support.

Next Steps

Learn to love the new vSphere Web Client

Embrace the new vSphere Web Client to improve performance

How to install vSphere Web Client for browser-based VMware management

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