Virtual PC connection to the host while on the road

This advice is for Microsoft Virtual PC. When you use software like VMWare, it automatically allows the host to connect directly to the client using the virtual interfaces that have been created.

Most of the recommendations with regard to connection to/from the Virtual PC client recommend configuring the connection to share/bridge one of the network connections.

All very good and well when you’re on a network. I regularly use the system when I have no network available – i.e. I’m completely disconnected. Most of the connection sensing code for network adaptors prevent you from using it while it’s not active, plus I don’t like having to configure the connection manually and then reconfigure it when I’ve got a real network.

The simple solution is to add a Microsoft Loopback Adaptor to the host machine, then create a second network interface on the Virtual PC that uses this interface. Manually configure the IP addresses to be on the same private network, making sure that you don’t accidentally configure it to use an IP address range that you may end up using for a VPN connection.

  1. Add the Network Adaptor: XP, Vista, Windows 7
  2. Configure the IP address manually. Use a Private Address Range. I chose an IP address of with a netmask of for the host, then chose for the Virtual machine. XP, Vista, Windows 7 – Use the instructions for Vista.
  3. Shutdown the Virtual Machine, Don’t hibernate as you can’t add the second network interface.
  4. Edit the properties of the virtual machine (in the Virtual Machines folder). Either Right Click on the Virtual Machine Icon, or use the Settings Option in the menu bar.
    Settings Option
  5. Configure the network to have 2 interfaces, one of which is linked to the ‘Microsoft Loopback Adaptor’
    Settings Dialog
  6. Boot up the virtual machine, and follow the instructions for manually configuring the IP address of this new network interface.

Direct connections to the IP address of the client virtual machine now work, and you can use it for anything you want.

Following the instructions here, even if they’re confusing, once you add a dword key called ‘*NdisDeviceType’, with a value of 1, you don’t see the connection as an unknown connection; thus enabling sharing and other features in Vista, Win 7.

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