By Alison / Last Updated June 21, 2022

Can you copy and paste between local and virtual machines?

Many users wonder how to copy and paste on virtual machine, or can they do it between local and VMs directly. The answer is YES. Actually, to improve efficiency, many hypervisor vendors add features that enable copy and paste on virtual machines.

If you find yourself cannot copy text from virtual machine to local machine or vice versa, it may because you haven’t set it properly. It is different from copying file to VMs. In this article, I will introduce how to copy and paste text between local machine and VMware or Hyper-V virtual machines.

*If you want to do it on VirtualBox, you can refer to: copy and paste on VirtualBox.

How to copy and paste on virtual machine

How to enable copy and paste on VMware Workstation virtual machine

How to copy text from virtual machine to local machine or vice versa? If you are using VMware Workstation, try following steps:

1. Launch VMware Workstation, select the target VM (no need to power on it), right-click on its name and select Settings…

VMware Workstation VM settings

2. Navigate to Options tab > Guest Isolation, check Enable copy and paste option and click OK to save.

Enable copy and paste on Workstation

Then you can copy and paste text between the host machine and the virtual machine.

How to enable copy and paste on VMware ESXi virtual machine

If you are using VMware ESXi, the conifguration steps are different:

1. Access vSphere Web Client and power off the target VM. Navigate to Summary tab > Edit Settings > VM Options > Advanced and click Edit Configuration.

Edit configuration on vSphere web client

2. Click Add Configuration Params 3 times and it will add 3 new rows. Fill in the Name and Value fields with the following values:

Name Value
isolation.tools.copy.disable FALSE
isolation.tools.paste.disable FALSE
isolation.tools.setGUIOptions.enable TRUE

Add configuration params

3. Click OK to save and close the wizard.

This is how to copy and paste on virtual machines of VMware ESXi. After the setup, you can now power on the VM and use your clipboard on it.

How to enable copy and paste in Hyper-V enhanced session mode

This part introduces how to copy and paste on virtual machines of Hyper-V.

Note: If your Hyper-V host is a Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 computer, you can skip this step because Enhanced Session Mode is enabled by default.

1. Launch Hyper-V Manager, right-click on the host name and select Hyper-V Settings…

Open Hyper-V host settings

2. Navigate to Enhanced Session Mode Policy from the left Server inventory, and check the Allow enhanced session mode option.

Allow enhanced session mode on Hyper-V

3. Navigate to Enhanced Session Mode from the left User inventory, and check the Use enhanced session mode option. Click OK to save.

Use Enhanced session mode

4. Power on the VM, a VMConnect configuration window will pop up. Click Show Options.

Show options

5. Navigate to Local Resources tab and check the Clipboard option. Click Connect to save.

Check clipboard option on Hyper-V VM

✎Want to copy files to virtual machine?

Compared to text, copying files to or between VMs will be more complicated. You can refer to transfer files to VM, or use AOMEI Centralized Backupper, the endpoint backup solution to transfer files via Backup & Restore.

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Summary

How to copy and paste on virtual machine, or between local and virtual machines? You need to set it up properly in advanceIf. In this article, I mainly introduced how to enable copy and paste on virtual machines of VMware or Hyper-V. Hope it could help you.

And if you want to copy files from local to virtual machines. The steps will be more complex. I recommend you use centralized backup software to do so with easy steps and auto management.