In modern versions of Hyper-V, you can enable the Hyper-V Enhanced Session feature to improve the synergy between host and guest machines. When enabled, the Virtual Machine Connection (VMConnect.exe) allows the guest operating system to use the host computer’s local resources and even lets you enable advanced features that make using a virtual machine a treat.
In this article, I will show you how to enable Hyper-V Enhanced Session and how to disable it if you no longer need Hyper-V Enhanced Session.
Table of contents:
- Hyper-V Enhanced Session requirements
- How to enable Hyper-V Enhanced Session
- How to use Hyper-V Enhanced Session in guest OS
- How to disable Hyper-v Enhanced Session
- What is Hyper-V Enhanced Session?
- Features of Hyper-V Enhanced Session Mode
- Hyper-V Enhanced Session Greyed Out
Hyper-V Enhanced Session requirements
To enable and use Hyper-V Enhance Session, the following requirements should be met:
The host operating system should be Windows 8.1 or higher or Windows Server 20212 R2 or higher.
If you want to access or share local resources after enabling the Enhanced Session Mode in Hyper-V, the guest machine should be running Windows 8.1 or higher or Windows Server 20212 R2 or higher.
If you are running a Linux operating system in the guest machine, some Enhanced Session features might not be available due to compatability reasons.
How to enable Hyper-V Enhanced Session
You can enable Hyper-V Enhanced Session mode from Hyper-V settings in the host operating system. Once the Enhanced Session is enabled in the host operating system, you can start using it in the guest operating system.
Here’s how to enable Hyper-V Enhanced Session mode:
- Click on the “Start icon” on the taskbar.
- Search and open “Hyper-V Manager.”
- Select the virtual host on the sidebar.
- Click on the “Action -> Hyper-V Settings” option.
- Select “Enhanced Session Mode Policy” on the sidebar.
- Check the “Allow enhanced session mode” checkbox.
- Click on the “Ok” button.
- Close the “Hyper-V Manager.”
- Reboot the computer.
- You’ve successfully enabled Hyper-V Enhanced Session mode.
Steps with more details:
First, open Hyper-V in Windows. To do that, click on the “Start icon” on the taskbar, search for “Hyper-V Manager,” and open it.
Once the Hyper-V Manager application opens, click on your virtual host machine on the left sidebar. Typically, the virtual host machine uses your computer name. After that, right-click on it and select “Hyper-V Settings.” You can also select the same option in the “Action” menu or on the right sidebar.
The above action opens the Hyper-V Settings window, where you can configure several aspects of the Hyper-V application.
In this window, expand the “Server” section. Next, go to the “Enhanced Session Mode Policy” tab appearing on the left panel.
After that, check the “Allow enhanced session mode” checkbox on the right main panel. Next, click on the “Apply” and “Ok” buttons to save changes.
Finally, close the Hyper-V Manager and reboot the computer, and the Hyper-V Enhanced Session mode is enabled. Generally, it is not required to restart the system. However, it is better to restart the computer to make sure the changes are applied.
How to use Hyper-V Enhanced Session in guest OS
Once you enable the Enhanced Session Mode policy, you can turn it on in the guest operating system as and when required.
To do that, open the “Hyper-V Manager” if it is not already opened. Next, start the guest virtual machine of your choice. Once the guest VM has been started, click on “View” and then on the “Enhanced Session” option.
As soon as you select the option, you will see a small checkmark indicating that the Enhanced Session feature is turned on.
From now on, you start using the Hyper-V Enhanced Session in the guest VM.
How to disable Hyper-V Enhanced Session
If you no longer need Enhanced Session or the guest VM doesn’t support it, you can easily disable Hyper-V Enhanced Session.
Here’s how to disable Hyper-V Enhanced Session:
- Open the “Hyper-V Manager” application.
- Click on the virtual host with your computer name on the sidebar.
- Click on “Hyper-V Settings” on the right sidebar.
- Go to the “Enhanced Session Mode Policy” tab on the sidebar.
- Uncheck the “Allow enhanced session mode” checkbox.
- Click on the “Apply” and “Ok” buttons to save changes.
- Close the Hyper-V Manager.
- Restart your computer.
- With that, you’ve disabled Hyper-V Enhanced Session.
As I said earlier, it is not required to restart the system. However, rebooting the system will ensure all the settings are applied. After rebooting, you will no longer see the “Enhanced Session” option under the “View” tab while running the guest operating system.
What is Hyper-V Enhanced Session?
Hyper-V, like other virtual machine software such as VMware or Virtual Box, has limitations on how the guest and host machines interact. For example, you cannot share the clipboard or access host machine resources.
To address this, Microsoft introduced Enhanced Session Mode in Hyper-V. When enabled, this feature allows users to connect to virtual machines with more capabilities, such as sharing host machine resources using VMconnect.
Additionally, Enhanced Session Mode allows for connection to a virtual machine via Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), making it easier to view and share virtual machines in Hyper-V.
All in all, if you are looking to extend the capabilities of the guest operating system installed in Hyper-V, then enabling Enhanced Session is helpful.
Features of Hyper-V Enhanced Session Mode
Enabling the Advanced Session modes gives you access to the below features:
- Display configuration: Ability to change the guest VM display resolution.
- Audio: Ability to hear audio from the guest VM.
- Printers: Ability to access printers connected to the host from the guest VM.
- Bidirectional clipboard sharing: Ability to share the clipboard between the host OS and guest OS.
- Smart cards: Ability to access Smart Cards plugged into the host computer.
- USB devices: Ability to access USB Devices plugged into the host computer.
- Drives: Ability to access Drives plugged into the host computer.
- Supported plug-and-play devices: Instant access to all supported plug-and-play devices.
Hyper-V Enhanced Session Greyed Out
To fix the Hyper-V Enhanced Session being greyed out issue, ensure that the option is enabled. Open “Hyper-V Settings” and go to the “Enhanced Session Mode Policy” tab. Check if the “Allow enhanced session mode” checkbox is selected. If not, select the checkbox and click “Ok” to save the changes. This should fix the problem.
Keep in mind that if the guest operating system does not support Enhanced Session, the option will remain greyed out.
Enabling Hyper-V Enhanced Session Mode — Conclusion
As you can see, turning on the Enhance Session feature in Hyper-V is pretty simple. All you have to do is select the “Allow enhanced session mode” checkbox in the Hyper-V Settings, and you are good to go. Enabling this feature adds new capabilities to your VM and makes it easy to use.
One thing to keep in mind is that both the guest and host operating systems should support the Enhanced Session feature. Otherwise, you cannot use it. For example, if you’ve installed Windows 7 in a guest VM, you cannot use Enhanced Session in it.
That is all. It is that simple to disable or enable Enhanced Session Mode in Hyper-V.
I hope this simple and easy Windows how-to guide helped you.
If you are stuck or need help, send an email, and I will try to help as much as possible.
Looking to try or test new software or settings? Why not use Windows Sandbox instead of a full-fledged Hyper-V session? Windows Sandbox uses a stripped-down version of Windows in a Hyper-V container.