John Howard - Senior Program Manager in the Hyper-V team at Microsoft

Senior Program Manager, Hyper-V team, Windows Core Operating System Division.

Controlling Hyper-V VMs in Virtual Machine Connection over TS/Remote Desktop without a mouse

Controlling Hyper-V VMs in Virtual Machine Connection over TS/Remote Desktop without a mouse

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With Hyper-V RC0 now available, [Update: 26th June 2008. Hyper-V RTM is now available. RC0 is pre-release software] the ideal solution for controlling VMs remotely is to use the Hyper-V management tools from another Windows Server 2008 machine, or from Vista SP1 - the Vista tools being available shortly. However, many people like to use a Remote Desktop (mstsc) session to the Hyper-V parent partition, and use Virtual Machine Connection in that session. In Hyper-V beta, mouse control in this scenario is erratic and effectively unusable (Ben has more information here). For that reason, we now explicitly block mouse capturing in Hyper-V RC0 when using Virtual Machine Connection over a TS session and display a message that the Mouse is not captured in the Remote Desktop session.


Maybe I've been using computers for way too long, but clearly from email's I been receiving, many people struggle to use Windows without a mouse. Once you get the hang of it, I promise, it really isn't that hard. The secret sauce is knowing a few key presses or how to get to a command prompt. Many times, a command prompt is sufficient, so let's start with one way. (Obviously this also assumes you are not using a Server Core installation). Take a look at the toolbar and menu in Virtual Machine Connection. You can either click the icon on the far left, or select Ctrl-Alt-Delete from the Action menu.


From here, you can hit Tab 4 times to select "Start Task Manager" and hit Enter.


By default, Windows Task Manager is always on top of other windows. While that sometimes isn't a bad thing, once you start a command prompt, it can get in the way. So, you can use Options/Always On Top to change that behaviour. You do that by Alt+O to select Options, then just hit Enter as Always On Top is the first action on the menu.


Getting to a command prompt AND being able to see it's contents is now pretty simple. From Task Manager, select File (Alt+F) and New Task (Enter), type cmd and hit Enter.


But what if you aren't logged on as local administrator, and want a command prompt run as administrator? Now you need a few more of those "secret sauce" keys. The first step is being able to get to the start menu. For that, Alt-Home is your friend. The command prompt is by default pinned to the start menu.


So you can press the arrow up key a few times. But that still doesn't get round the case where you want to run it as an administrator. This is where the next key sequence, Shift-F10, comes in. Move up to the Command Prompt item using up-arrow and press Shift-F10. This displays the context menu, the equivalent of right-clicking on something. You then have the option of "Run as administrator"


What if I wanted to get to the drop-down menu in a command prompt (the one at the top-left) to maximize it or use Edit/Mark and Edit/Paste? Well for that, you need Alt-Delete.

What if I had a few applications running, and I want to switch between them. The answer is the keys Alt+PageUp and Alt+PageDown. These are the equivalent to Alt-Tab and Alt-ShiftTab in a regular machine.


With that set of keyboard knowledge, plus remembering Tab and Shift-Tab to change focus from one control to another in a window, you can pretty much navigate Windows in a VM in it's entirety.Of course, Hyper-V has another trick up it's sleeve which also helps. Under Hyper-V settings on Hyper-V Manager, you can choose where to redirect Windows key combinations. The default setting though is for they keys to be used on the physical computer.


Usually with the above knowledge, you can get far enough to install service packs where needed, and the integration services for Hyper-V so that you get mouse control back again. Happy keyboarding. Time to throw that mouse away? I challenge you ;)


  • 這一篇部落格要各位進行導讀介紹的是 Controlling Hyper-V VMs in Virtual Machine Connection over TS/Remote Desktop without

  • The management tools for Vista SP1 don't support using a FQDN for accessing the hyperv box.  They assume a flat NetBios naming convention so now I am stuck...

  • Chris - can you explain a little more about your environment and what you're trying to do. Workgroup or domain joined (client and server), routers/firewalls in between, the IP settings of the machine you are trying to connect to etc.



  • Chris - I got your email, but am getting a delivery timeout on my response. Can you email me again please - not sure if you put a typo in your email address.



  • I was using Dell DRAC (separate hardware / network card inside the server) to control my server (with W2K8).

    Before I installed RC1 I was able to use this tool to remote control VM's on my server, -without any mouse problems at all !

    Now, since installing RC1, I cannot take control of my mouse anymore inside a VM.

    You mention that "we now explicitly block mouse capturing in Hyper-V RC0 when using Virtual Machine Connection over a TS session ". However this is not a TS session (as far as I define it ....)

    How can it be, that I am not able to take control now ?

  • You write: "For that reason, we now explicitly block mouse capturing in Hyper-V RC0 when using Virtual Machine Connection over a TS session and display a message that the Mouse is not captured in the Remote Desktop session."

    I am not using any TS session (in fact the TS service is disabled on my server), -but Dell DRAC (hardware, that works even if the computer is shut down) to remote comtrol my server. This worked perfectly with the Beta version of Hyper-V, but after installing RC1, I am not able to take control of the mouse in any VM sessions (using DRAC). I dont get the message you mention, and in the status line i get the usual message, that i can press CTRL+ALT+LeftArrow to release control of the mouse. Howver the mouse doesnt move .... Why is that. How have you disabled mouse movement ?

    When I try to install the Integration Components on a newly created VM (server 2008) I get the message that it is already installed...

  • Kaj - I don't have a machine with DRAC to hand, only the HP iLO BMC equivalent, but will track a dell box down in our labs. I can only assume that the DRAC remote console application is using RDP under the covers and that is what is being detected.

    For the IC's on a server 2008 VM, are you running the MSU update in the VM, or using actions/insert integration services setup disk from the virtual machine connection menu? It should be the first one.



  • I found out, that my problem controlling the mouse was because I had not installed RC1 on the Server 2008 VM's as well...

  • +1 to not being able to use DRAC.

    In final could mouse control over RDP please be an option?

    While I agree that management should probably be done from another 2K8 Server or Vista machine with the MMC snapin... Right now I just want to get a bloody VM up and running and with keys like the Start key not being passed through thats a mission!

    Other than that, stoked with the whole platform to date, nice work :)

  • Excellent i have bookmarked this article now.

  • With the RTM release of Hyper-V just around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to re-visit

  • So even with RTM you can't use the mouse in a TS session?  That just seems backwards to me.

  • Malloc - if the Integration Services are installed, all is good.



  • I just read though the linked posts and went over this one again and saw that after Integrations the mouse will work as jhoward said.  Whew!

    Thanks for clearing that up.  I got to the point with my test box that I saw I couldn't get the mouse to work wih RDP this week and decided to give up until RTM. Now I"ll go hook up a KVM to the parent box to get Integration working and be set.

  • I have windows Vista sp1 and win-2008 with Hyper-V. I am not able to manage the Hyper-V machines through MSTC using mouse. With out mouse controll, the use  of MSTC to the Hyper-V machines gives no meaning?? Is there anyway to use mouse ??? No alternate like get used to keyboard or command line controll..



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