Use the Remote Desktop Connection tool to connect to a networked Windows XP virtual machine

From Windows 8's System screen, you can view or change the computer name and workgroup name

Filling the gap

As you can imagine, a number of third-party solutions have sprung up to fill the gap. For example, there are software products, such as USB Redirector, and hardware products like the Network-attached USB hubs. However, when it comes to using Windows 8's Client Hyper-V and a Windows XP virtual machine, you don't have to resort to such elaborate or expensive methods of making USB devices accessible to a virtual machine.

Instead, you can employ a little trick that uses the Remote Desktop Connection tool to connect to a networked virtual machine running in Client Hyper-V. You can then use the features on the Local Resources tab of a Remote Desktop Connection to redirect USB devices connected to the host machine, such as USB drives and USB printers, to the virtual machine. While on the surface this may sound like a quirky workaround, in actuality it brings with it host of benefits besides the access to USB. For example, you get a full screen display, slightly better performance, and you can use the clipboard to copy and paste data between the host and virtual machines.

In this article, I'll walk you through the steps you need to perform in order to make your Windows XP virtual machine accessible through Remote Desktop Connection. I'll then show you how to configure and access USB devices connected to the Windows 8 host machine from within your Windows XP virtual machine.

Network configuration

The first thing that you need to do in order to be able to use Remote Desktop Connection to access a virtual machine, is make sure that both the host machine and the virtual machine are configured to use the exact same workgroup. Let's take a closer look.

On the Windows 8 host machine, press [Windows]+[Break] to bring up the System window shown in Figure B. If you haven't specified a workgroup name or wish to change your computer name, you can click Change settings and use the Change button on the System Properties Computer Name tab. Keep in mind that you will be prompted to Restart the system if you change the computer name or the workgroup name. As you can see, on my example system, the computer name is Jovian-8 and the workgroup is SOLAR SYSTEM.

By Greg Shultz

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.