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Using the VMRC client to access virtual machines

Using the VMRC client to access virtual machines

Virtual Server 2005 includes the Virtual Machine Remote Control (VMRC) client. VMRC connects to an instance of Virtual Server and provides access to its virtual machines. Through VMRC, you can use a virtual machine as if you were using it through the Administration Website. However, VMRC does not provide the administrative capabilities available in the Administration Website, such as creating a new virtual machine or changing a virtual machine configuration.

The VMRC client is a self-contained executable file that can be copied among different computers. However, if you do this, no Start menu shortcut for VMRC will be created. You can also install VMRC using the Virtual Server Setup Wizard. You can install the VMRC client on only either the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 operating systems or the Windows XP Professional operating system.

Using the VMRC client behind a firewall

If you are using the VMRC client behind a firewall, and the VMRC client and Virtual Server instance have an open connection to the domain controller, you must open several ports on the firewall:

  • Port 5900, which is the default port for the VMRC server
  • Port 1024, which is the default port for the Administration Website
  • Ports 137 and 138, the TCP and User Datagram Protocol (UDP) ports, for the Kerberos V5 ticket-granting authority

If you have changed the default port for either the VMRC server or the Administration Website, then you must open those ports rather than port 5900 and port 1024. Or, if your firewall gives you the option to not block certain programs, you can add the Virtual Server service (Vssrvc.exe) to the list of programs that are not blocked by the firewall.

Full-screen display

VMRC supports a full screen display mode for connecting to a virtual machine. This option is not available when connecting through the Administration Website. Once you connect to an instance of Virtual Server, you can activate full-screen display mode by either the HOST KEY+ENTER keyboard shortcut or selecting Switch to Full Screen on the Remote Control menu.

Do not use the VMRC client over a Terminal Services connection

You may experience poor mouse control if you attempt to use Terminal Services to access the host operating system and then use Virtual Machine Remote Control (VMRC) client to access a guest operating system. You can, however, use Terminal Services to access the guest operating system directly provided the guest operating system supports Terminal Services.

Multiple users can simultaneously connect to a virtual machine

Using VMRC, multiple users can connect to the same virtual machine. Each user can access the guest operating system without the knowledge of the other users. This is by design for training and lab scenarios where one user wants to demonstrate a task to other users and have them connect to and view the same remote session. If you want to guarantee exclusive access to a virtual machine, then you should use Terminal Services or Remote Desktop, provided the guest operating system supports these features. Or, you can remove Traverse Folder/Execute File permissions for all user accounts that you want to prevent from accessing a virtual machine. For more information, see Configure Virtual Machine Remote Control and Configuring virtual machine security.


By default, the VMRC port is 5900. The maximum number of VMRC connections is twice the number of virtual machines currently configured on Virtual Server. VMRC does not support special function keys. You can use VMRC as a virtual Keyboard Video Mouse (KVM) switch. If you have multiple virtual machines running, you can switch among them by using the Host key and either LEFT ARROW key or the RIGHT ARROW key. These options are also available in the VMRC Remote Control menu. This option is not available from the Administration Website. If you are using VMRC and shut down a virtual machine, you will return to the VMRC administration page. If you click the Back button in a Web browser before clicking anything else, it will restart the virtual machine.