Microsoft says one of the most consistent feature requests for Virtual Machine (VM) on Azure is to have Serial Console access for Windows and Linux VMs. Today, the company has announced the feature in public preview for users of Azure on those platforms.

The addition allows customers to debug in Linux and Windows using direct serial-based access. Microsoft says some issues in virtual machines are hard to diagnose and fix. The company already supplies numerous tools for managing and securing VMs, but fixing tools are relatively scarce.

For example, Microsoft offers tools like configuration, patching, automation, and scripting tools, but limited diagnostic abilities. Introducing Serial Console access gives users access to Microsoft’s datacenter-grade diagnostic tools to solve problems.

“Serial Console for Virtual Machines is available in all global regions starting today! You can access it by going to the Azure portal and visiting the Support + Troubleshooting section.”

Windows Support

Serial Console support for Linux is in-built, meaning users will not need to make any changes to images. You can just jump in and start working with VMs. On the Windows front there are some differences, with customers needing to take more steps.

Below are the steps:

  1. Open the Azure portal
  2. In the left menu, select virtual machines.
  3. Click on the VM in the list. The overview page for the VM will open.
  4. Scroll down to the Support + Troubleshooting section and click on serial console (Preview) option. A new pane with the serial console will open and start the connection.

Microsoft says it has already changed images created in March to support Special Administration Console (SAC). This can be customized for Windows VMs to access the command shell and manage the system.

It is worth noting you will need to have VM Contributor to run Serial Console.