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Supportability of Serial and Parallel Ports in ESXi (1003129)

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This article provides information on the current availability of physical serial and parallel port support in ESXi.


VMware ESXi 5.0 and later supports physical serial and parallel devices. However, ESXi 4.1.x and earlier versions do not. All versions of ESX support physical serial and parallel ports.

Note: For ESXi Serial and Parallel port usage, see the Parallel and Serial Port Configuration section in the vSphere Virtual Machine Administration Guide.
If you are using ESXi 4.1 or earlier versions, you can configure and use a virtual serial or parallel port as a named pipe or an output file.

VMware recommends to:
  • Use named pipes when you want to transfer data between two virtual machines using serial port.
  • Use an output file when you want to transfer data from a virtual machine to the ESXi host using a serial port or parallel port interface.
Note: Neither of these choices require any physical serial or parallel ports on the ESXi host. For information on configuring a virtual serial port to output to a named pipe or output file, see Add a Serial Port to a Virtual Machine section in the vSphere Virtual Machine Administration Guide
VMware is actively working with over 250 partners to enable solutions that typically depend on serial port communication for ESXi. VMware ESXi is a more secure hypervisor architecture that enables third-party solutions through CIM providers.
Note: In ESXi 4.1 the virtual serial port can connect to a physical serial port or to a file on the host computer. For more information, see Parallel and Serial Port Configuration section in the vSphere Virtual Machine Administration Guide.

Additional Information

For translated versions of this article, see:


virtual-serial-port  virtual-parallel-port

Update History

07/02/2012 - Added ESXi 5.0 support to resolution with link to documentation.

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  • 140 Ratings