Enable Audio in Windows 2008 guest machines running on HyperV

One of the very first things that I had to do after joining Microsoft was to build my own lab. Building a lab of your own is always a fun excercise, you get to do whatever you want to do.You get to plan, deploy, test and then break the system and get used to it.
An interesting problem that came up while building my lab was to enable Audio (Sound?) on my guest machines so that I can place calls and here UM voice prompts on them. In VMWare, VirtualPC, VirtualBox and other virtualization software its just a matter of adding a virtual sound Device/Adapter. On HyperV there is a slightly different approach, you do not have to emulate Audio as a driver. All you have to do instead, is start the "Windows Audio" Service and then configure your RDP settings to ensure that Remote Audio is played on your local machine.

If your guest systems are running Windows Server 2008 or 2008 R2 there are a few additional steps to enable Audio in terminal services properties. Here is a step by step guide to get Audio up and running on your guest systems.

  1. Enable 'Windows Audio' service.
    1. Login to your Guest OS and head to Services MMC (Start > Run > Services.msc)
    2. Locate 'Windows Audio' service and start it. (I'd also recommend changing the 'Startup Type' to 'Automatic')
  2. Now to modify the Remote Desktop host configurations
    1. Go To Start > All Programs > Administrative Tools > Remote Desktop Services > Remote Desktop Session Host Configuration
    2. Under the section labeled 'Connections' select 'RDP-tcp' connection
    3. Right click on the connection and go to 'Properties'
    4. Go to the 'Client Settings' tab and un-check both 'Audio and video playback' and 'Audio recording' to enable these features.
  3. If you are connected to the guest via an RDP session, you will now have to disconnect and reconnect to the session for changes to take effect.
  4. Configure RDP client for audio.
    1. Launch your RDP client. (Start > Run > mstsc)
    2. Click on Options and then head to 'Local Resources' tab
    3. Click on Settings and then ensure that 'Play on this computer' is selected.

You should now be able to connect to your guest machine via a Remote Desktop Connection and use audio services.

Additional Resources: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/virtual_pc_guy/archive/2006/06/29/648105.aspx

Comments (6)

  1. Raj says:

    Thanks a lot. Its a useful information.

  2. thomas says:

    Have you got micro phone to work without installing the RD Session Host Server role?

  3. dude says:

    What if you want to have sound on the hyper-V HOST?

  4. Akshat N says:

    You could use something like VAC (software.muzychenko.net/…/vac.htm)

    PS: This is strictly for testing purposes, I would not recommend using this on your production systems.

  5. Hecky B says:

    Since Hyper V does not handle sound natively then rdp is the only way to get sound, though getting decent sound in the Host machine (within the same physical pc that is) has proven to be a complication thus far.  

    I just "virtually" installed XP in Win 8 in a Hyper V machine to test drive my new Asus G75V laptop.  The install went flawless and XP feels responsive, up until the point of playing a sample mp3 … the audio stutters every 7 seconds consistently.  

    When I rdp remotely from my desktop computer to "Virtual XP" the sound comes through fine, no stuttering.

    I have checked the audio drivers in WIn8 and unselected all enhancements leaving it pretty much bare bones.  My guess is that rdp 8.0 and Hyper V running in the same machine both short circuit each other. I will soon install Server 2008 to rule out a possible XP factor, though I'm not so hopeful.

    In any case and so far Hyper V is pretty nice to work with but lack a lot of functionality yet to be taken seriously by people not too serious into virtualization like me.

  6. Hecky B. says:

    Windows Server 2008 R2 inside a Hyper V virtual machine in Windows 8 (through rdp) play mp3 flawless as opposed to windows XP 32 bit.   I wonder if this is the effect of both being 64 bit environments.  I guess the Microsoft tech gurus need to shed some light on us virtual enthusiast, or amplify their testing scenarios to include environments such as good ol' XP (that mind you, many mission critical apps in the real world still heavily depend on)

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