Microsoft Hyper-V 2012R2 and graphics modes

In this blog I will cover a question I recently got and to which I didn’t have the answer. The question was about the graphics modes available for the guest virtual machine running on Microsoft Hyper-V 2012R2.
it’s a short blog for I seems to run dry every time I search on the Internet, hopefully this blog will be the spark to the answer.


We have a few Microsoft Hyper-V 2012R2 hosts that run Microsoft Windows 2008R2 guest servers.
The 2008R2 server are Citrix XenApp 7.5 server that host desktops for users.
The environment is pretty basic, we use SCVMM to manage the Hyper-V environment and that’s that.

The issue

The Customer send me a screenshot of the display modes he could choose from within the Windows 2008 R2 guest virtual machine. As you can see only 16-bit color modes and the legacy ones are available. 
The customer wanted to run Google Earth on this server and failed to do so because 32-bit modes were unavailable. Let’s skip the discussion if you should run Google Earth on a SBC server for now.
So after several attempts to find the answer I ran dry, there seems to be no documentation about supported graphic modes for guest vm’s with Microsoft Hyper-V 2012R2.
We did some testing in other environment for we thought this was a check mark somewhere we missed but never did we get the 32-bit modes listed.


Microsoft Hyper-V supports two generation virtual machines, generation 1 and 2.
Generation 1 machines are all operating systems before Windows 2012R2 and Windows 8.x.
In my project we use a Generation 1 machine, Windows 2008R2. the synthetic drive that Hyper-V uses for the dispaly driver only supports 16-bit graphic modes.
The following method to workaround this limitation was found on a blog:
Workaround: Try disabling the
synthetic video adapter in the virtual machine. Doing this will cause the
virtual machine to fall back to using the emulated VGA video adapter which
supports 32-bit color. You can do this as follows:
Log on to the
virtual machine and open Device manager
Expand the Display
Adapters section
Right-click on the
Microsoft Hyper-V Video device and disable it
Restart the virtual
Note the following concerning
this workaround:
The graphic performance of the
virtual machine may be poorer as a result.
You must use an RDP connection
to connect to the virtual machine’s desktop to experience 32-bit color because
the VMConnect console on Windows Server 2008 only supports 16-bit color.
We’ve tested this and it works… but it’s still a workaround. If you read the fine lines it says that graphic performance may be poorer after you applied this workaround…


Microsoft Hyper-V generation 2 machines are windows 2012R2 and Windows 8.x machines. These generation2 machines support 32bit graphics by default.


For my project it’s not a funny message we have a choice of two bad options and can’t go for the solution which is Windows 2012R2.

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