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Connecting to VMware virtual machines using the Windows Remote Desktop utility (1018809)

Symptoms

  • Connecting to VMware virtual machines running Windows operating systems using the Windows Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) utility fails.
  • Remote connections to virtual machine are not working as expected.
  • Connection terminated or access denied messages display when attempting to RDP into a Windows virtual machine.
  • RDP fails to connect.
  • You are unable to access a virtual machine remotely.

Resolution


As the Windows operating system installed inside of a VMware virtual machine behaves in the same way as it would if it were installed on a physical machine, you can connect to the Windows operating system remotely using the Windows RDP utility.

To connect to your virtual machines via RDP, you need to ensure that your virtual machine is configured correctly and is accessible on your physical network. Your virtual machine must be connected to your physical network via either a Bridged or a NAT connection.

Note: Configuring a virtual machine to have its network adapter to be a bridged connection basically instructs the virtual machine to use the host operating system's network card as if it were its own network card. This also means that the virtual machine gets an IP address based on the host network's settings.

To configure your virtual machine with a bridged connection:

  1. Open the virtual machine settings window from within your installation of VMware Workstation, VMware Server, or VMware Player by clicking VM > Settings.
  2. In the hardware tab, highlight the network adapter and ensure that the bridged network connection checkbox is selected.

To configure your virtual machine with a NAT connection:

  1. Open the virtual machine settings window from within your installation of VMware Workstation, VMware Server or VMware Player by clicking VM > Settings.
  2. In the hardware tab, highlight the network adapter and ensure that the NAT connection checkbox is selected.
To configure port forwarding on the NAT connection for your virtual machine:
 
Note: The NAT Settings options are not available for Linux hosts. This procedure is applicable only to Windows hosts running VMware Workstation.
  1. In the Workstation toolbar, click Edit > Virtual Network Editor to open the virtual network editor.
  2. Select the network adapter that is set to the NAT interface, By default, this is VMnet8.
  3. Click the NAT Settings button.
  4. Click the Add button within the NAT Settings dialog box.
  5. In the Map Incoming Port dialog box, fill in these details:

    • The host port needs to be an unused port. For example, you can use port 9997.
    • The virtual machine port needs to be 3389, unless you have changed it.
    • The virtual machine IP address needs to be the IP address assigned to the virtual machine you wish to connect to NAT connection.
  6. Click OK.

Similar to a physical environment, you need to configure the Windows operating system before you can use RDP. For instructions on how to configure your Windows operating system for use with RDP, see your operating system user manual or the Microsoft Support Site .

Note: The preceding link was correct as of September 6, 2013. If you find the link is broken, provide feedback and a VMware employee will update the link.

Additional Information

Computers trying to connect to the virtual machine would have issues connecting to the Windows virtual machine with NAT port forwarding, if the firewall on the host is turned ON. You need to add port exception for port 3389 to the Firewall settings by following the steps below in the Microsoft knowledge base article, Open a port in Windows Firewall.

See Also

Update History

09/20/2011 - Modified Step 1 to suit Linux hosts also. 07/04/2012 - Added note that the NAT Settings options are not available for Linux Hosts. 09/06/2013 - Added VMware Player 6.x (Windows & Linux) and Workstation 10.x (Windows & Linux) to Product Versions.

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