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Share host drives with a virtual machine

Applies To: Windows 7

You can share drives that are available on the host operating system with virtual machines to make it easier to exchange data between the two environments. For example, after you publish virtual applications, you can save files to locations on the host (such as the Documents folder) when those locations are on drives that are shared with the virtual machine. However, sharing host resources poses a potential security risk because the guest operating system may not be as secure as the Windows 7 host operating system. You should assess both the need for access to host drives and the potential security risk so that you can determine which drives to share, and when to share them.

Some scenarios rely on drive sharing. For example, the ability to copy files and folders between the host and guest when the guest is Windows XP requires the following at a minimum:

  • To copy the files from the host to the guest, the system drive of the host and the drive that stores the particular file or folder on the host must be shared with the guest.

  • To copy files and folder from the guest to the host, the host system drive must be shared with the guest.

For any guest operating system, when you publish a virtual application to Windows 7 host operating system, files on the host will be associated with the virtual application if those files are not already associated with an application on the host operating system. For this association to work, the drive that the file is stored on must be shared with the virtual machine. When these conditions are met, you can double-click the file and the virtual application will open the file.

For more information about managing shared drives, see the Windows Virtual PC content in the Windows 7 Technical Library (

To share host drives

  1. Open the Virtual Machines folder. From the Start menu, click Windows Virtual PC. If the menu item is not visible, click All Programs, click the Windows Virtual PC folder, and then click Windows Virtual PC.

  2. From the Virtual Machines folder, right-click the name of the virtual machine and then click Settings. The Windows Virtual PC Settings page opens.

  3. In the left pane, click Integration Features. In the right pane, click Drives.

  4. Review the list of drives, clear the check box of any drive that you do not want to share, and click OK.

See Also


Windows Virtual PC Help
About integration features
Publish and use virtual applications