2013
06.11

Microsoft has continued to “round the corners” of Hyper-V administration, making it easier to use and operate your services on their enterprise hypervisor.  This has come with the addition of Remote Desktop over VMBus.

The problem that is being solved is the pain of managing VMs via “KVM”, that is, using the Connect window in Hyper-V Manager.  A typical example of the annoyance is:

  • You are building a new VM by hand in a lab.
  • It comes to the time to enter the product key.  You browse on MSDN/TechNet to get your key.
  • You copy the key into the buffer of your PC
  • Now open the Connect window, hit CTRL + V and nothing happens.
  • Instead you have to use the paste text option via a menu in the Connect window

Not only that, but the UI is a little sluggish.  The best solution was to RDP into the VM.  But what if you don’t have Remote Desktop access to the VM, e.g. a multitenant cloud with Hyper-V Network Virtualization.  What if you are just using Windows 8.1 Client Hyper-V and don’t want to bother with Remote Desktop at all?

Remote Desktop access to VMs has been embedded into Hyper-V.  This means that the Connect tool can use Remote Desktop connection through the VMBus (via the integration components) and into Remote Desktop Services running in the Windows VM.  This is accomplished regardless of network connections or network access – it’s through the features of the Hypervisor so all the admin requires is network connectivity to the host.  Yes, you can even do this with a VM that has no vNIC connection.

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This means a bunch of things:

  • Performance is better – it’s Remote Desktop so it should even be great over a WAN or the Internet from a remote client PC to a remote Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 host.
  • You can copy paste … text and files … in both directions (host <-> VM)
  • You get an enhanced login with the features that RDP offer, e.g. 2-factor
  • Audio is redirected
  • The RemoteFX protocol offers great graphics, even with simulated GPUs
  • Audio redirection
  • Folder redirection
  • And you get session based (while you are connected) USB redirection to your client machine (plug in a device in your PC and have it appear in the VM).  This is not permanent USB redirection, such as that is required for license dongles (use USB over IP appliances instead).

Enhanced virtual machine control is enabled/disabled in in Hyper-V settings at the host level.  It is enabled by default in Windows 8.1 Client Hyper-V and disabled by default in Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V.

6 comments so far

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  1. Is this on Gen1 vms too?

    • Nothing to do with VM generation.

  2. Does this work if downlevel OSs are used in VMs?

    • No.

  3. Does this work with Linux VMs?

    • No, the only supported guest OSs are Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2.

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