Enhanced Session Mode

Enhanced Session Mode (ESM) enables an improved user experience when managing Hyper-V virtual machines. With ESM enabled, an administrator can share devices and the clipboard with a guest VM.  It is also possible to modify the resolution of the VMConnect console.  In addition to improved graphics performance, ESM improves the security of the connection to the guest VM.

The following local resources can be shared via ESM

  • Audio
  • Printers
  • Clipboard (Copy/Paste)
  • USB devices
  • Logical Drives
  • PnP devices
  • Smart Cards

Requirements for Enhanced Session Mode

  • Guest OS supports RDP
    • Client OS: Windows 8.1 Pro/Enterprise
    • Server OS: 2012R2
  • Remote Desktop Service is running in the guest
    • ‘Allow remote connections to this computer’ or NAP do not need to be enabled
  • Hyper-V host must have ‘Enhanced session mode’ enabled in the Hyper-V server settings
  • User must be a member of the local ‘Administrators’ group or a member of the ‘Remote Desktop Users’ group in the guest VM

Enable Enhanced Session Mode

  • In Hyper-V Manager, right click on the host and select ‘ Hyper-V Settings…’.
  • Select the ‘Enhanced Session Mode Policy’ Task Item, then select the check-box labeled ‘Allow enhanced session mode’.
  • If you would like the ESM to be active by default when available select ‘Enhanced Session Mode’ user settings and select the check-box labeled ‘Use enhanced session mode’.

PowerShell Commands

Set-VMHost -EnableEnhancedSessionMode $True

Toggle ESM per VMConnect Instance

Leverage the taskbar icon to enable/disable enhanced session mode for a particular VM connect session.

Additional Resources

TechNet – Use local resources on Hyper-V virtual machine with VMConnect
WindowsItPro – Enhanced Session Mode in Windows Server 2012 R2

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