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VMware serial port extended tutorial

Olga Weis Olga Weis

Virtualization is a widely used technique that enables limited physical computing resources to be used to support multiple operating systems. Virtual machines can be used to perform operating system backups, test software products, and run applications that cannot function on the host computer. The technology allows businesses to make better use of their physical machines while increasing the variety of platforms at their developer’s disposal.

  1. Serial port in VMware - software solution
  2. Serial port in VMware passthrough

Using a COM port in a virtual machine can be challenging depending on the virtualization software that is implemented on your physical computers. In some cases, there are native methods with which to establish serial ports on the virtual machines. However, many solutions require that a third-party network communication tool be employed to enable serially-connected peripheral devices to be shared between the host and guest operating systems. We will show you several methods of connecting a virtual guest to a local printer or other devices communicating through a COM interface.

Serial port in VMware - software solution

Here is the simplest method of connecting a local serial port to a VMware virtual machine. Serial over Ethernet Connector is an excellent solution that provides VMware serial port passthrough functionality. The software works by creating virtual serial interfaces that fully emulate the functionality of your system’s physical ports. These can be used to add VMware workstation serial connectivity to guest operating systems that allows them to access any network-connected COM device.

VMware serial ports video tutorial

Step-by-step guide to access COM in VMware

Just follow these easy steps to create virtual network serial ports:
Download Serial to Ethernet Connector to all client and server machines that will be part of the serial over IP communication. Install the software on all of these computers.
 Download UDP redirector software
Start the program on the server and choose the “Server connection” tab. This is where you configure the parameters for the connection. When you are finished, click the “Create connection” button.
 choose ‘Server’ connection
Launch the app on a client and select the “Client connection” option in the main menu. After configuring the connection settings, click on the “Create connection” button.
 create ‘Client’ connection
You’re finished! At this point, serial devices attached to the COM ports on the server can be accessed by any network-connected client computer. The Windows solution presents the connected peripherals in Device Manager in the same way as it would a locally attached device.
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Serial port VMware passthrough

Serial devices connected to the host machine will be recognized by the VMware serial port. VMware serial ports created through the software provide the same level of functionality as the system would achieve with a direct physical connection to the device. Your VMware sessions can access remote serial ports in their virtual machines. Sharing devices across your network is supported and increases the utility of all of your organization’s serially-based equipment.

VMware serial port

It is possible to add 4 serial ports to a virtual machine. A virtual serial port can output data to files, named pipes, and physical serial ports. A VMware serial port can be added to a virtual machine in order to create devices such as modems etc. that are made available to the virtual machine itself. The VMware serial ports can also be used to transmit debugging data from the virtual machine to another virtual machine or a host system.

To enable COM port redirection in a virtual machine, begin with:

  1. Powering off the virtual machine.
  2. Choosing the virtual machine and opting for VM>Settings.
  3. Then, on the "Hardware" tab, click on "Add."
  4. Next, select the "Add Hardware" wizard and opt for "Serial Port".
  5. Finally, click on “Finish” to add the VMware Serial Port to the virtual machine.
  6. Choose where the virtual serial port sends the output.

  • You can also use a physical parallel port. For this, transmit the output to the host system's physical serial port.
  • To use the output file, send the output to any file in the host system. You can use an existing output file or create a new one by going to the directory and typing a file name.
  • To output to the named pipe, establish a connection between two virtual machines or a connection between a host system application and a virtual machine.
  • Configure the named pipe if you have selected the output to the named pipe.

(For Windows Host) Make use of the default pipe name or enter another pipe name. Make sure the pipe name starts with \\.\pipe\. Ensure that it is the same on both the client and the server.

(For Linux Host) Type a UNIX socket name in the next text box. This could be something like /tmp/socket. As stated above, the name must be identical on the client and server.

To transmit debugging information to a host system application, choose “This End is the Server” on the initial drop-down menu and “The Other End is the Application” on the next drop-down menu.

To transmit debugging information to a virtual machine, choose “This End is the Server” on the initial drop-down menu and “The Other End is the Application” on the next drop-down menu.

Finally, to connect the virtual machine and the port, choose “Connect at Power On”. The connection with the virtual machine will be activated once the machine is on.

When a connection is established between two virtual machines, the first often functions as the server.

Repeat the process for the second virtual machine. However, make sure it is set up as the client by choosing "This End is the Client." Do this when you are configuring the named pipe.

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