Connect to a Virtual Machine

Applies To: Windows Server 2008, Windows Virtualization

Virtual Machine Connection is a tool that you use to connect to a virtual machine so that you can install or interact with the guest operating system in a virtual machine. Some of the tasks you can perform by using Virtual Machine Connection include the following:

  • Connect to the video output of a virtual machine

  • Control the state of a virtual machine

  • Take snapshots of a virtual machine

  • Modify the settings of a virtual machine

Before you begin

Virtual Machine Connection is installed automatically when you install the Hyper-V™ role on a full installation of Windows Server 2008. You also can install it separately on certain versions of Windows. For more information about installing Virtual Machine Connection, see the deployment content for Hyper-V at the Windows Server 2008 TechCenter (

By default, Virtual Machine Connection uses the same credentials you used to log on to your current Windows session as the credentials to establish a session to a running virtual machine. However, Virtual Machine Connection cannot use smart card credentials automatically to log on to a running virtual machine. You can avoid this problem by configuring Hyper-V to prompt you for credentials. For instructions, see Configure Hyper-V.

Connect to a virtual machine

To connect to a virtual machine from Hyper-V Manager

  1. Open Hyper-V™ Manager. Click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Hyper-V Manager.

  2. In the results pane, under Virtual Machines, right-click the name of the virtual machine and click Connect.

  3. The Virtual Machine Connection tool opens.

Tips for using Virtual Machine Connection

You may find the following tips to be helpful for using Virtual Machine Connection:

  • You can move the mouse pointer seamlessly between the operating system running on the physical computer and the guest operating system when virtual machine drivers are installed on the guest operating system. These drivers are included with Windows Server® 2008 after you install the update package. For all other supported operating systems, install integration services in the guest operating system to install the virtual machine driver. For instructions about installing integration services, see Install a Guest Operating System.

  • The mouse pointer may appear as a small dot when you connect to a running virtual machine. To send mouse clicks or keyboard input to the virtual machine, click anywhere in the virtual machine window. To return the input to the physical computer, press the mouse release key combination and then move the mouse pointer outside of the virtual machine window. The default release key combination is Ctrl+Alt+Left arrow, but the key combination can be changed by modifying Hyper-V settings.

  • You cannot use the keyboard to send Ctrl+Alt+Delete to a virtual machine. You must use the menu command. From the Action menu, click Ctrl-Alt-Delete.

  • You can switch from a window mode to a full-screen mode. From the View menu, click Full Screen Mode. To switch back to window mode, press Ctrl+Alt+Break.

Additional considerations

  • By default, membership in the local Administrators group, or equivalent, is the minimum required to complete this procedure. However, an administrator can use Authorization Manager to modify the authorization policy so that a user or group of users can complete this procedure.

  • If an authorized user is connected to a virtual machine via Virtual Machine Connection and another authorized user decides to use the console of the same virtual machine, the session will be taken over by the second user and the first user will lose the session. This can pose a privacy and security risk, because the second user will be able to view the first user's desktop, documents, and applications. A virtual machine session is available to all users who have been granted the Console Read or Console Read/Write operations privilege in the authorization policy. By default, this is granted to any Administrator. To avoid or fix this issue, adjust the privileges to restrict access as appropriate.

Additional references