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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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"

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 ;)

Cheers,
John.

Comments
  • 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.

    Thanks,

    John.

  • 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.

    Thanks,

    John.

  • 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.

    Thanks,

    John.

  • 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.

    Cheers,

    John.

  • 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..

    Regards

    Pankaj

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