The View Composer service requires a parent virtual machine from which you generate a base image for creating and managing a linked-clone desktop pool.


  • Verify that you prepared a virtual machine to use for deploying remote desktops. See Creating Virtual Machines for Remote Desktop Deployment.

    A parent virtual machine that you use for View Composer must either belong to the same Active Directory domain as the domain that the linked-clone machines will join or be a member of the local WORKGROUP.

  • Verify that the virtual machine was not converted from a View Composer linked clone. A virtual machine that is converted from a linked clone has the clone's internal disk and state information. A parent virtual machine cannot have state information.
    Important: Linked clones and virtual machines that were converted from linked clones are not supported as parent virtual machines.
  • When you install View Agent on the parent virtual machine, select the View Composer Agent option. See Install View Agent on a Virtual Machine.

    To update View Agent in a large environment, you can use standard Windows update mechanisms such as Altiris, SMS, LanDesk, BMC, or other systems management software. You can also use the recompose operation to update View Agent.

    Note: Do not change the log on account for the VMware View Composer Guest Agent Server service in a parent virtual machine. By default, this is the Local System account. If you change this account, the linked clones created from the parent do not start.
  • To deploy Windows machines, configure a volume license key and activate the parent virtual machine's operating system with volume activation. See Activating Windows on Linked-Clone Virtual Machines.
  • Verify that you followed the best practices for optimizing the operating system. See Optimizing Windows for Linked-Clone Virtual Machines.
  • Familiarize yourself with the procedure for disabling searching Windows Update for device drivers. See the Microsoft Technet article, "Disable Searching Windows Update for Device Drivers" at


  • Remove the DHCP lease on the parent virtual machine to avoid copying a leased IP address to the linked clones in the pool.
    1. On the parent virtual machine, open a command prompt.
    2. Type the ipconfig /release command.
  • Verify that the system disk contains a single volume.
    You cannot deploy linked clones from a parent virtual machine that contains more than one volume. The View Composer service does not support multiple disk partitions. Multiple virtual disks are supported.
    Note: If the parent virtual machine contains multiple virtual disks, when you create a desktop pool, do not select a drive letter for the View Composer persistent disk or disposable data disk that already exists on the parent virtual machine or that conflicts with a drive letter that is used for a network-mounted drive.
  • Verify that the virtual machine does not contain an independent disk.
    An independent disk is excluded when you take a snapshot of the virtual machine. Linked clones that are created or recomposed from the virtual machine will not contain the independent disk.
  • If you plan to configure disposable data disks when you create linked-clone machines, remove default user TEMP and TMP variables from the parent virtual machine.
    You can also remove the pagefile.sys file to avoid duplicating the file on all the linked clones. If you leave the pagefile.sys file on the parent virtual machine, a read-only version of the file is inherited by the linked clones, while a second version of the file is used on the disposable data disk.
  • Disable the hibernation option to reduce the size of linked-clone OS disks that are created from the parent virtual machine.
  • Before you take a snapshot of the parent virtual machine, disable searching Windows Update for device drivers.
    This Windows feature can interfere with the customization of linked-clone machines. As each linked clone is customized, Windows might search for the best drivers on the Internet for that clone, resulting in repeated searches and customization delays.
  • In vSphere Client, disable the vApp Options setting on the parent virtual machine.
  • On Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows Server 2012 R2 machines, disable the scheduled maintenance task that recovers disk space by removing unused features.
    For example: Schtasks.exe /change /disable /tn "\Microsoft\Windows\AppxDeploymentClient\Pre-staged app cleanup"

    If left enabled, this maintenance task can remove the Sysprep customization script after the linked clones are created, which would cause subsequent recompose operations to fail with customization operation timeout errors. For more information, see the Microsoft KB article available at


You can deploy a linked-clone pool from the parent virtual machine.

What to do next

Use vSphere Client or vSphere Web Client to take a snapshot of the parent virtual machine in its powered-down state. This snapshot is used as the baseline configuration for the first set of linked-clone machines that are anchored to the parent virtual machine.

Important: Before you take a snapshot, completely shut down the parent virtual machine by using the Shut Down command in the guest operating system.