Using a method for freeze-drying intact cells, uninfected and murine leukemia virus (MuLV)-infected JLSV9 cell surfaces, as well as murine mammary tumor virus (MuMTV)-infected cell surfaces, were examined by electron microscopy. The 10-nm knobs of MuLV and the 5-nm spikes of MuMTV were clearly revealed on the surfaces of budding viruses and were also found dispersed over the cell surface. The MuLV knobs are randomly arranged on the virus surface, whereas the MuMTV spikes are much more ordered. Because freeze-fractured budding viral envelopes are devoid of intramembranous particles, the observed surface particles do not appear to be merely accentuated intramembranous particles. This technique should permit further analysis of the morphogenesis of viral envelopes without the need for externally applied labels.