forgot to mention that with an IE browser i get the initial blue screen (but no vmware logo) and that's it, hung with no progress no matter how long i leave it.
thanks for the suggestion
had to reboot the appliance as it had not been used for a while and was not responding
after the reboot the html5 via the appliance is working properly, quick response and no getting stuck. Kind of expected as it communicates with vcenter which is working properly
continuing with the troubleshooting but no luck, nothing seems to affect the problem, quite odd.