Troubleshooting: Running 32-bit color app in a virtual machine

by Mitch Tulloch [Published on 27 Feb. 2013 / Last Updated on 14 March 2013]

A tip on how to run an application that requires 32-bit color in a virtual machine running on a Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V host.

Problem: You have an application that requires 32-bit color and you want to install it in a virtual machine running on a Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V host. Unfortunately the Hyper-V guest additions limit virtual machines running on Windows Server 2008 to 16-bit color. What can you do?

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:

  1. Log on to the virtual machine and open Device manager
  2. Expand the Display Adapters section
  3. Right-click on the Microsoft Hyper-V Video device and disable it
  4. Restart the virtual machine

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.

Mitch Tulloch is an eight-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award and a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization.  For more information about him, see http://www.mtit.com

The Author — Mitch Tulloch

Mitch Tulloch is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, networking, and security. He has been repeatedly awarded Most Valuable Professional (MVP) status by Microsoft for his outstanding contributions in supporting users who deploy and use Microsoft platforms, products and solutions. Mitch has published over two hundred articles on different IT websites and magazines, and he has written or contributed to almost two dozen books and is lead author for the Windows 7 Resource Kit from Microsoft Press. For more information, see www.mtit.com .

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