Run a Remote Console Session

To open a remote console session on a VM, select the VM and then click on the Console tab.

Linux VMs

You can run a console session on Linux VMs using a text console or a graphical console. The graphical console uses VNC technology and requires the VNC server and an X display manager to be installed and configured on the virtual machine. See the XenServer Virtual Machine User’s Guide for information about configuring VNC for Linux virtual machines.

To switch between the two types of remote console, use the Switch to Graphical Console/Switch to Text Console button on the Console tab.

SSH Console

XenCenter allows you to initiate SSH connections to Linux VMs using the Open SSH Console button located on the VM’s Console tab. This will launch an SSH console for the VM in an external pop-up window. The SSH console also allows you to copy/paste content to and from the VM’s console. To use the SSH console feature, you must:

  • Ensure that the VM and XenCenter are accessible on the same network
  • Install the Linux guest agent on the VM. For more information about installing the Linux Guest agent, see XenServer Virtual Machine User’s Guide.
  • Verify that the SSH daemon is running on the VM and accepts remote connections


When you close the SSH console, any operations that are still running in the console will be terminated.

Windows VMs

Console sessions on Windows VMs can use either the standard graphical console or a Remote Desktop console, both of which support full keyboard and mouse interactivity. The standard graphical console uses the in-built VNC technology that XenServer developed to provide remote access to your virtual machine console while the Remote Desktop console uses RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) technology. You can switch between a standard graphic console and a Remote Desktop console at any time using the Switch to Remote Desktop/Switch to Default Desktop button on the XenCenter Console tab.

To use a Remote Desktop console connection, the following requirements must be met:

  • Remote Desktop must be enabled on the virtual machine - see the XenServer Virtual Machine User’s Guide for information on how to enable Remote Desktop on a Windows virtual machine.
  • XenServer Tools must be installed.
  • The virtual machine must have a network interface and be able to connect to XenCenter.

There are a number of different XenCenter settings that affect your Remote Desktop console environment:

  • Windows Key combinations are sent to the Remote Desktop console.
  • Sounds from applications running on the Remote Desktop console are played on your local computer.
  • By default, when opening a Remote Desktop console session, a connection is made to the console session on the remote server instead of creating a virtual console session.
  • XenCenter automatically scans for an RDP connection and can automatically switch to the Remote Desktop console when it becomes available.

You can change these and other Remote Desktop console settings via the Console tab in the XenCenter Options dialog box; see Changing XenCenter options.


You can enhance VNC performance by using XenCenter on the local machine rather than using RDP to connect to XenCenter.

Run a Remote Console Session