Hyper-V Enhanced Session Mode

Hyper-V Enhanced Session Mode (ESM) is a configurable option which enhances the Hyper-V virtual machine console providing options and features similar to an RDP client session. Configuring ESM can be achieved either via the Hyper-V Manager GUI or through PowerShell – obviously if you have many hosts to configure PowerShell is the way to go.

Some additional resources –




GUI Configuration

The Hyper-V Manager GUI gives us a couple of places to open the Hyper-V Settings for a host, either by right clicking on the host or via the Actions menu on the right side of the console.

Hyper-V Manager Hyper-V Settings


Under the User settings is a tick box for ESM – this is selected and enabled by default so we can move onto the next setting under Server.

Hyper-V Settings User Enhanced Session Mode


The ESM option under Server is not selected by default, this must be enabled for ESM to work.

Hyper-V Settings Server Enhanced Session Mode

Hyper-V Settings Server Enhanced Session Mode


PowerShell Configuration

PowerShell is a great option when you want to configure numerous systems, my example below only demonstrates the commands on a single system but this can of course be expanded to run against multiple servers.

First let’s check the existing setting –

PS C:\> Get-VMHost | fl -Property EnableEnhancedSessionMode

EnableEnhancedSessionMode : False

Now we will enable ESM –

PS C:\> Set-VMHost -EnableEnhancedSessionMode $True


Virtual Machine Console OptionsNow when we open a virtual machine console the system will prompt for display settings and we can also configure local resource settings in the same way we would with a standard RDP connection.

Virtual Machine Console

Virtual Machine Console

Virtual Machine Console



ESM is a nice feature and it was great to see it added to Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1 Hyper-V. Are you using ESM in your environment, or are there features you would like to see added? Let me know in the comments below.


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