Multi monitor support for a Windows 7 guest operating system under VirtualBox, for different sized monitors

This nugget was generated by a fellow developer from the London .Net User Group who was trying to use multiple monitors with a virtual machine running under VirtualBox. His guest operating system was Windows 7, and he was attaching from a Windows XP host operating system.

I did suggest he might look at VMWare Workstation to run guest operating systems and this happily supports multiple monitors, even if the monitors are different sizes.  Even the latest free VMWare Player can handle multiple monitors, and Aero, and event better it can now create new virtual machines.

However, if your preference is for Sun's VirtualBox product, multiple monitors can only be achieved by using a remote desktop connection. Older version of remote desktop (prior to v7.0) can handle mulitple monitors by using the /span command line switch but this requires monitors that are the same resolution and creates a single desktop across all monitors.

The good news, is that with the release of RDP 7, you can now use remote desktop connection to connect from Windows XP SP3 into a Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 system and you can use full feature multiple monitors.  You need the support on the destination operating system, it must be running RDP 7 for remote connecitons, and only Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 7 Ultimate support multiple monitors via RDP.

Here is a good explanation from the remote desktop services team at Microsoft,

  http://blogs.msdn.com/rds/archive/2009/08/21/remote-desktop-connection-7-for-windows-7-windows-xp-windows-vista.aspx

And the download for Windows XP SP3 and Windows Vista can be found here at KB969084,

  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/969084

I have to admit that I haven't tried to run RDP 7.0 from Windows XP as I long ago deleted Windows XP from any of my machines.

Print | posted on Tuesday, December 15, 2009 10:46 PM

Comments on this post

No comments posted yet.

Your comment:

 (will show your gravatar)