VMware serial port access - How to add serial port in VMware

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Among the many advantages of using virtualization techniques are improved resource utilization, flexible operating system implementation, and streamlined disaster recovery. Using a single physical server, an organization can run multiple virtual guest OS sessions concurrently. The sessions share the physical resources such as storage space, CPU, and peripherals attached to the local host. The ability to forward serial ports to a VMware Workstation instance adds functionality to the virtual session and increases the value of your peripheral devices.

The problem is that many virtualization environments do not provide for the use of COM interfaces. If you want to use serial devices and ports in a virtual machine, you need to use one of the solutions discussed below.

How to add serial ports in VMware


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One of the simplest and most convenient solutions to enabling VMware serial port passthrough is FlexiHub.

FlexiHub is a software utility that lets you use serial ports and devices in VMware or any type of virtual environment.

FlexiHub works by establishing a virtual connection that redirects data from a physical serial port to a network-attached VMware session. You can give VMware access to COM ports with just a click. No modification of network settings or parameters are required to add a VMware serial port.

  1. Register to establish a FlexiHub account and select the plan that provides the number of connections you need.
  2. Install the application on the physical machine with a direct connection to a serial peripheral.
  3. FlexiHub also needs to be installed on the VMware virtual machine that will connect to the COM device.
  4. Launch the application on the VMware virtual machine and log in with your credentials. A list of available serial devices will be displayed by the program.
  5. Click ‘Connect’ next to the required device.

That’s all you need to do. Serial devices attached to the physical host will now be available in the virtual session. Without any additional configuration, you have provided VMware COM port passthrough to your virtual machines. FlexiHub lets you manage serial ports on all major virtualization platforms. Enjoy serial port connectivity in your VMware, VirtualBox, and Hyper-V sessions.

How to add a serial connection in VMware Workstation

You can add up to 4 serial ports to a VMware Workstation. The virtual interfaces can be used to redirect data to physical serial ports, files or named pipes. When you add a serial port to a VMware Workstation session you can create modems and other serial devices that are available to the VM. The virtual port can also send debugging information to the host or another virtual machine.

Follow these steps to redirect a serial port in VMware Workstation.

  1. Shut down the virtual machine.
  2. Select the virtual machine and choose “VM>Settings”.
  3. Click “Add” on the "Hardware" tab.
  4. Select the "Add Hardware" wizard and choose "Serial Port”.
  5. Click on “Finish” to complete the process of adding a VMware Serial Port to the virtual machine.
  6. Choose the destination of the serial port output.
  • One option is to direct the output to the host system’s physical serial or parallel port.
  • Using a named pipe allows you to create a connection between a virtual session and a physical host or a different virtual session.
  • Any file on the host system can be used as an output file. Use an existing file or create a new one by typing its name in the directory.

If you have chosen a named pipe for output, it needs to be configured.

For Linux Hosts:

A UNIX socket name needs to be entered in the next text box. The name must be the same on the client and server and may look like /tmp/socket.

For Windows Hosts:

You can use the default pipe name or enter another name. The format of the pipe name must begin with \\.\pipe\. The name needs to be identical on the server and client.

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.

Transmitting debugging data to a host system application, select “This End is the Server” on the first drop-down menu and “The Other End is the Application” on the second one.

Connecting the VMware Workstation to the serial port is done with the “Connect at Power On” option. When the VM is turned on, the connection will be activated.

The first VM usually takes the role of the server when two virtual machines are connected.

This process needs to be replicated for the second VM. When you are configuring the named pipe, define it as the client by selecting "This End is the Client.”

We hope that the information provided in this guide helps you redirect serial ports in VMware. Using these methods enables you to use serial devices from within virtual sessions with the full functionality afforded through a direct connection. They make your serial equipment more valuable as a much wider user base can share limited physical resources.


Requirements: Windows 7/8/10, Server 2008 R2/2012/2016/2019
Size: 6.99MB
Version: 4.1.13108 ()
User rating: (4.8 based on 78+ users)