Make your own integration services

Starting in Windows 10 Anniversary Update, anyone can make applications that communicate between the Hyper-V host and its virtual machines using Hyper-V sockets -- a Windows Socket with a new address family and specialized endpoint for targeting virtual machines. All communication over Hyper-V sockets runs without using networking and all data stays on the same physical memory. Applications using Hyper-V sockets are similar to Hyper-V's integration services.

This document walks through creating a simple program built on Hyper-V sockets.

Supported Host OS

  • Windows 10 and later
  • Windows Server 2016 and later

Supported Guest OS

Capabilities and Limitations

  • Supports kernel mode or user mode actions
  • Data stream only
  • No block memory (not the best for backup/video)

Getting started


  • C/C++ compiler. If you don't have one, checkout Visual Studio Community
  • Windows 10 SDK -- pre-installed in Visual Studio 2015 with Update 3 and later.
  • A computer running one of the host operating systems above with at least one vitual machine. -- this is for testing your application.

Note: The API for Hyper-V sockets became publically available in Windows 10 slightly after . Applications that use HVSocket will run on any Widnows 10 host and guest but can only be developed with a Windows SDK later than build 14290.

Register a new application

In order to use Hyper-V sockets, the application must be registered with the Hyper-V Host's registry.

By registering the service in the registry, you get:

  • WMI management for enable, disable, and listing available services
  • Permission to communicate with virtual machines directly

The following PowerShell will register a new application named "HV Socket Demo". This must be run as administrator. Manual instructions below.

$friendlyName = "HV Socket Demo"

# Create a new random GUID.  Add it to the services list
$service = New-Item -Path "HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Virtualization\GuestCommunicationServices" -Name ((New-Guid).Guid)

# Set a friendly name 
$service.SetValue("ElementName", $friendlyName)

# Copy GUID to clipboard for later use
$service.PSChildName | clip.exe

Registry location and information:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Virtualization\GuestCommunicationServices\

In this registry location, you'll see several GUIDs. Those are our in-box services.

Information in the registry per service:

  • Service GUID
    • ElementName (REG_SZ) -- this is the service's friendly name

To register your own service, create a new registry key using your own GUID and friendly name.

The friendly name will be associated with your new application. It will appear in performance counters and other places where a GUID isn't appropriate.

The registry entry will look like this:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Virtualization\GuestCommunicationServices\
        ElementName REG_SZ  VM Session Service
        ElementName REG_SZ  Your Service Friendly Name

Tip: To generate a GUID in PowerShell and copy it to the clipboard, run:

(New-Guid).Guid | clip.exe

Create a Hyper-V socket

In the most basic case, defining a socket requires an address family, connection type, and protocol.

Here is a simple socket definition

  _In_ int af,
  _In_ int type,
  _In_ int protocol

For a Hyper-V socket:

  • Address family - AF_HYPERV
  • type - SOCK_STREAM
  • protocol - HV_PROTOCOL_RAW

Here is an example declaration/instantiation:


Bind to a Hyper-V socket

Bind associates a socket with connection information.

The function definition is copied below for convinience, read more about bind here.

int bind(
  _In_ SOCKET                s,
  _In_ const struct sockaddr *name,
  _In_ int                   namelen

In contrast to the socket address (sockaddr) for a standard Internet Protocol address family (AF_INET) which consists of the host machine's IP address and a port number on that host, the socket address for AF_HYPERV uses the virtual machine's ID and the application ID defined above to establish a connection.

Since Hyper-V sockets do not depend on a networking stack, TCP/IP, DNS, etc. the socket endpoint needed a non-IP, not hostname, format that still unambiguously describes the connection.

Here is the definition for a Hyper-V socket's socket address:

     USHORT Reserved;
     GUID VmId;
     GUID ServiceId;

In lieu of an IP or hostname, AF_HYPERV endpoints rely heavily on two GUIDs:

  • VM ID – this is the unique ID assigned per VM. A VM’s ID can be found using the following PowerShell snippet.
    PowerShell (Get-VM -Name $VMName).Id
  • Service ID – GUID, described above, with which the application is registered in the Hyper-V host registry.

There is also a set of VMID wildcards available when a connection isn't to a specific virtual machine.

VMID Wildcards

Name GUID Description
HV_GUID_ZERO 00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000 Listeners should bind to this VmId to accept connection from all partitions.
HV_GUID_WILDCARD 00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000 Listeners should bind to this VmId to accept connection from all partitions.
HV_GUID_CHILDREN 90db8b89-0d35-4f79-8ce9-49ea0ac8b7cd Wildcard address for children. Listeners should bind to this VmId to accept connection from its children.
HV_GUID_LOOPBACK e0e16197-dd56-4a10-9195-5ee7a155a838 Loopback address. Using this VmId connects to the same partition as the connector.
HV_GUID_PARENT a42e7cda-d03f-480c-9cc2-a4de20abb878 Parent address. Using this VmId connects to the parent partition of the connector.*

The parent of a virtual machine is its host. The parent of a container is the container's host.
Connecting from a container running in a virtual machine will connect to the VM hosting the container.
Listening on this VmId accepts connection from:
(Inside containers): Container host.
(Inside VM: Container host/ no container): VM host.
(Not inside VM: Container host/ no container): Not supported.

Supported socket commands


Complete WinSock API

Hyper-V Integration Services reference