Remote Access to VirtualBox Guest OS Via RDP

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VirtualBox has a built in RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) Server which allows one to access the virtual machines remotely. Here is how to get this working (I am assuming you have VirtualBox installed and Virtual Machine created):

1. Download and install VirtualBox 4.0.8 Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack.

2. Enable Remote Display setting by ticking off the enable server box for your virtual machine, if you want to access multiple machines you would have to specify different ports. Choose External for the authentication method, this allows you to use your Host OS user name and password for authentication (needs extension pack installed).

3. Use any RDP client such as Terminal Server Client (tsclient) available with most *nix distros, Windows users can try using mRmote which is a decent RDP client and allows you to specify user name and password beforehand. The guest OS has to be running for this to work!

The username and password used for connection are of Host OS (physical machine) and not the guest OS (virtual machine)

Hit connect button and it should connect. Don’t forget to replace the Computer ip/host name with the one of your Host machine.

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has written 346 posts on this blog.

Meditating towards his "nerdvana", lifehacker is a teacher by the day and a nerdy blogger by the night. He lives to learn and yearns to learn living.

3 Comments on “Remote Access to VirtualBox Guest OS Via RDP”

  • Graham wrote on 2 June, 2011, 14:01

    Maybe I am slower than most, but it took me a while to realize that you had to shutdown the VM before it would let you access the settings.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0


    lifehacker Reply:

    @Graham, Yup, the Virtual machine settings are like your machine’s BIOS settings, we can’t change them without having the VM turned off.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0


  • Graham wrote on 3 June, 2011, 10:05

     Alright, I have all of the above set up but I am still missing something.

    I want to connect from a windows machine to the windows VM on a linux distro. When I do the above connection it just connect to the linux distro. Which I could do before. I am missing the step where I tell the client that I want to connect to the virtual machine. I am using the IP of the linux host computer, and then the 3389 port? I’m assuming that this is more than simply going through the linux remote computer and opening the VM in real time?


    (on aside note the field for the CAPTCHA code below is not at all obvious)

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