About integration features

Applies To: Windows 7

Integration features improve the experience of using a virtual machine by providing features that improve the interactions between the virtual machine and the physical computer, as well as between the operating systems of both.

The operating system that runs in a virtual machine is called a guest operating system, and the operating system that runs directly on the physical computer (Windows 7) is the host operating system. Integration features are available for all supported guest operating systems. See the system requirements for information about the operating systems that are supported by Microsoft for use in virtual machines as guest operating systems (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=155832).

Integration features are provided in the Integration Components package, which is included with Windows Virtual PC. If you use Windows XP Mode, the Integration Components package is already installed and ready to use. For all other supported guest operating systems, you must install the Integration Components package in the guest operating system to make the integration features available. From time to time, an updated version of the package may be released for a specific guest operating system. In that case, upgrade the Integration Components package in the guest operating system. For instructions, see Install or upgrade the Integration Components package.

After the integration features are available, you can turn most of them on or off by modifying the Integration Features settings of the virtual machine. The two exceptions are mouse integration and time synchronization, which are always turned on when the package is installed. Mouse integration makes it possible for you to move the mouse seamlessly between the desktops of the host operating system and the guest operating system. Time synchronization keeps the time in the guest operating system synchronized with the host operating system.

The integration features that you can turn on or off are as follows:

  • Audio. This setting controls whether audio input and output for the virtual machine is redirected to audio devices in the host, or is managed by an emulated audio device. To improve audio performance, clear the check box for a virtual machine running Windows XP, and select the check box for a virtual machine running Windows Vista or Windows 7.

  • Clipboard. You can copy and paste data between the host operating system and the guest operating system. For example, you can copy a URL from the browser in a guest operating system, and paste it to a browser in the host operating system.

  • Hard drives. This feature shares the drives you select on the host with the virtual machine so that you can easily access host data from within the virtual machine. This feature also makes it possible to access the host desktop and Documents folder from virtual applications when you select those resources to share. For more information, see Share host drives with a virtual machine.


Host hard drives are listed in the guest operating system by using the computer name of the host operating system. For example, on a host computer named WindowTest, the C drive would be listed in the guest operating system as ‘C on WindowsTest’.

  • Printers. This feature makes it possible to share printers between the host operating system and guest operating system. To share printers when Windows XP is the guest operating system, you must also install the printer drivers. For more information, see the Windows Virtual PC Evaluation Guide (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=140338).

  • USB devices. Printers, storage devices, and smart card readers are automatically shared with virtual machines. Other types of supported USB devices are supported by redirecting them to the virtual machine. For more information, see Use a USB device in a virtual machine.


If you want to use a smart card to log in to a virtual machine, the smart card must be shared with the virtual machine.

For instructions about modifying virtual machine settings, see Configuring a virtual machine.

See Also


Configuring a virtual machine
Using a virtual machine