21 August, 2009

Multiple RDP Connections with VirtualBox

I was noodling through the latest VirtualBox 3.0.4 Manual and found the solution to a problem I've been chasing for now 2 months.

We've been trying to incorporate multiple user connections to a virtual machine to allow desktop sharing. The intention was the users would need to coordinate actions and share the desktop. The primary use was to support remote monitoring of a user's session while allowing the either user to interact as required.

VirtualBox 3.0.4 introduced a new vrdpmulticon specifier that appears to have addressed the issue.

From the command line you need to issue the following command to enable multiple RDP connection sharing, the effect is to allow multiple connections share a RDP server session.


$ VBoxManage modifyvm WinXp --vrdp on
$ VBoxManage modifyvm WinXp --vrdpmulticon on

Where in this case the name of the virtual machine is WinXp.

I've struggled with this for the past couple months. The solutions, 'til now, have been restricted to 'hacking WinXp' (a legal mine field) or upgrading to server 200x.

Hope you find this as useful as I do.
Cheers.

3 comments:

josh said...

If you are looking for desktop sharing, let me draw your attention to http://www.showdocument.com

It allows you to upload any document and immediately review it together with anyone in real-time,
all the participants in the session see each others' drawing, highlights, etc.

Anonymous said...

With this solution:
Can you login on Windows XP as same time with user1, user2, etc. and anyone can work on diferent thigs?

If this is the case, can you help because I can login only to the same session :S

Thanks

FatSlowKid said...

No, while multiple users can establish simultaneous RDP sessions, they all share the same context. So, they all would compete for the mouse/keyboard control and cannot run independent applications.

If you're interested in multiple user sessions on WinXp I'd suggest Googling "Multiple Remote Desktop Session Windows Xp". You'll find there is a well-defined hack out there for enabling multiple terminal sessions. Be forewarned, it is a hack and is likely illegal as you're bypassing the single-seat user intention that MS is trying to enforce.