VirtualBox Remote Display Using RDP Protocol

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Getting your Virtual Machine Ready for Connection

VirtualBox is the state-of-art cross platform Virtualization software which makes life easier by allowing you to run several operating systems simultaneously. Among its other outstanding features is the capability to let you view / access / control your virtual machines remotely. To enable this feature all you need to do is, to go the settings of your existing virtual machine and goto Display > Remote Display option and tick the Enable Server option. If you want the connection to be allowed to only the registered users of your “Host Machine”, then choose the Authentication Method to be External. If you are using Windows Host and also want to use remote desktop connection capability of your Windows machine then make sure you change the port number as the default port might already be used by the RDP server that is built into Windows itself. Ports 5000 through 5050 are typically not used and might be a good choice.

The “external” method provides external authentication through a special authentication library which is already selected by default, you can change it from VirtualBox preferences (but then you have to configure authentication manually).

VirtualBox comes with three default libraries for external authentication:

  • On Linux hosts, authenticates users against the host’s PAM system (your Linux user name and password would be used).
  • On Windows hosts, VRDPAuth.dll authenticates users against the host’s WinLogon system (your Windows user name and password would be used)
  • On Mac OS X hosts, VRDPAuth.dylib authenticates users against the host’s directory service.

Connecting to the Virtual Machine Remotely

You can use any RDP client to access your Remote Virtual Machine. If you have the authentication on for your virtual machine, then it seems like we cannot connect using Windows Remote Desktop, as it doesn’t allow you to simultaneously provide user name and password (it would work fine if you don’t turn authentication on, don’t do it on a publicly accessible machine).

Instead we need to use free open source third party software like mRemote. Note that the user name and password used for connection is that corresponding to that of Host machine and not the virtual machines itself.

Linux users can always use rdekstop (or a similar GUI based RDP software like  Terminal Server client or tsclient in Ubuntu) which you can install from command-line by

sudo apt-get install rdesktop

After this you are ready to connect to the virtual machine using rdesktop with command like this (don’t forget to replace username, password, host ip or name, port no. etc.)


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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.

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