Optimized for the mobile cloud, VMware Blast Extreme supports the broadest range of client devices that are H.264 capable. Of the display protocols, VMware Blast offers the lowest CPU consumption for longer battery life on mobile devices. VMware Blast Extreme can compensate for an increase in latency or a reduction in bandwidth and can leverage both TCP and UDP network transports.

The VMware Blast display protocol can be used for published applications and for remote desktops that use virtual machines or shared-session desktops on an RDS host. The RDS host can be a physical machine or a virtual machine. The VMware Blast display protocol does not operate on a single-user physical computer, except for the enterprise edition of Windows 10 RS4 and later builds.
Note: Movies & TV applications are not supported for physical computers running Windows 10 RS4.

VMware Blast Extreme Features

Key features of VMware Blast Extreme include the following:

  • Users outside the corporate firewall can use this protocol with the corporate virtual private network (VPN), or users can make secure, encrypted connections to a security server or Access Point appliance in the corporate DMZ.
  • Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 128-bit encryption is supported and is turned on by default. You can, however, change the encryption key cipher to AES-256.
  • Connections to Windows desktops with the Horizon Agent operating system versions listed in Requirements and Considerations for Horizon Agent are supported.
  • Connections from all types of client devices.
  • Optimization controls for reducing bandwidth usage on the LAN and WAN.
  • Performance counters displayed using PerfMon on Windows agents provide an accurate representation of the current state of the system that also updates at a constant rate for the following:
    • Blast session
    • Imaging
    • Audio
    • CDR
    • USB: USB counters displayed using PerfMon on Windows agents are valid if USB traffic is configured to use VMware Virtual Channel (VVC).
    • Skype for Business: counters are for control traffic only.
    • Clipboard
    • RTAV
    • Serial port and scanner redirection features
    • Virtual printing
    • HTML5 MMR
    • Windows Media MMR: Performance counters appear only if you configured this feature to use VMware Virtual Channel (VVC).
  • Network continuity during momentary network loss on Windows clients.
  • 32-bit color is supported for virtual displays.
  • ClearType fonts are supported.
  • Audio redirection with dynamic audio quality adjustment for LAN and WAN.
  • Real-Time Audio-Video for using webcams and microphones on some client types.
  • Copy and paste of text and, on some clients, images between the client operating system and a remote desktop or published application. For other client types, only copy and paste of plain text is supported. You cannot copy and paste system objects such as folders and files between systems.
  • Multiple monitors are supported for some client types. On some clients, you can use up to four monitors with a resolution of up to 2560 x 1600 per display or up to three monitors with a resolution of 4K (3840 x 2160) for Windows 7 remote desktops with Aero disabled. Pivot display and autofit are also supported.

    When the 3D feature is enabled, up to two monitors are supported with a resolution of up to 1920 x 1200, or one monitor with a resolution of 4K (3840 x 2160).

  • USB redirection is supported for some client types.
  • MMR redirection is supported for some Windows client operating systems and some remote desktop operating systems (with Horizon Agent installed).
  • Connections to physical machines that have no monitors attached are supported with NVIDIA graphics cards. For best performance, use a graphics card that supports H.264 encoding.

    If you have an add-in discrete GPU and an embedded GPU, the operating system might default to the embedded GPU. To fix this problem, you can disable or remove the device in Device Manager. If the problem persists, you can install the WDDM graphics driver for the embedded GPU, or disable the embedded GPU in the system BIOS. Refer to your system documentation on how disable the embedded GPU.

    Caution: Disabling the embedded GPU might cause future loss of access to functionality such as console access to BIOS setup or NT Boot Loader.
  • The Blast Codec improves on Adaptive and on H.264 encoders in desktop usage by delivering sharper images and fonts and operates like a video codec with motion detection, motion vectors, and inter-predicted macroblocks. It is supported on the following environments and is disabled by default:
    • Windows and Linux agents. To enable the codec:
      • On a Windows agent, set the registry key: HKLM\SOFTWARE\VMware, Inc.\VMware Blast\Config\EncoderBlastCodecEnabled = 1
      • On a Linux agent, under \etc\vmware\config, set RemoteDisplay.allowBlastCodec=TRUE
    • Disable H.264 on Windows, Linux, and MacOS client settings. This feature is not supported on mobile clients and the Web client.
  • A dynamic encoder switch allows you to switch between a video optimized encoder (H.264 4:2:0 or H.264 4:4:4) and a text optimized encoder (Blast Codec or Adaptive). This switch helps maintain crisp text and video with reduced bandwidth usage. To use this feature, enable the encoder switch:
    • On a Windows agent, set the registry key HKLM\SOFTWARE\VMware, Inc.\VMware Blast\Config\EncoderSwitchEnabled = 1
    • On a Linux agent, under \etc\vmware\config, set RemoteDisplay.allowSwitchEncoder=TRUE
    • Enable Blast Codec, which is disabled by default. If Blast Codec is not enabled, the switch encoder uses Adaptive for text optimized encoding.
    • Enable H.264 on Windows, Linux, and MacOS client settings. This feature is not supported on mobile clients and the Web client.
    Note: The encoder switch only uses software H.264 and does not support hardware-accelerated graphics.

For information about which client devices support specific VMware Blast Extreme features, go to https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-Horizon-Client/index.html.


Wake-on-LAN is supported for physical machines with the Enterprise edition of Windows 10 RS4 and later. With this feature, users can wake up physical machines when connecting with Horizon Connection Server. The Wake-on-LAN feature has these prerequisites:
  • Wake-on-LAN (WoL) is only supported on IPv4 environments.
  • The physical machine must be configured to wake up on receiving Wake-on-LAN packets when Wake-on-LAN is enabled in the BIOS settings as well as network card settings.
  • Destination port 9 is used for WoL packets from Connection Server.
  • WoL packets are IP-directed broadcast packets that must be able to reach Horizon Agent when sent from Horizon Connection Server. Wake-on-LAN functions in these scenarios:
    • Connection Server and Horizon Agent on the physical machine are on the same subnet in a LAN environment.
    • All routers between Connection Server and Horizon Agent are configured to allow the IP-directed broadcast packet for the target subnet of the physical machine you want to wake up.
Note: The Wake-on-LAN feature does not support floating-assignment pools of a physical Windows 10 agent. The WoL packet is only sent to dedicated assignment pools entitled with a particular user.

Recommended Guest Operating System Settings

1 GB of RAM or more and a dual CPU is recommended for playing in high-definition, full screen mode, or 720p or higher formatted video. To use Virtual Dedicated Graphics Acceleration for graphics-intensive applications such as CAD applications, 4 GB of RAM is required.

Video Quality Requirements

480p-formatted video
You can play video at 480p or lower at native resolutions when the remote desktop has a single virtual CPU. If you want to play the video in high-definition Flash or in full screen mode, the desktop requires a dual virtual CPU. Even with a dual virtual CPU desktop, as low as 360p-formatted video played in full screen mode can lag behind audio, particularly on Windows clients.
720p-formatted video
You can play video at 720p at native resolutions if the remote desktop has a dual virtual CPU. Performance might be affected if you play videos at 720p in high definition or in full screen mode.
1080p-formatted video
If the remote desktop has a dual virtual CPU, you can play 1080p formatted video, although the media player might need to be adjusted to a smaller window size.
3D rendering
You can configure remote desktops to use software- or hardware-accelerated graphics. The software-accelerated graphics feature enables you to run DirectX 9 and OpenGL 2.1 applications without requiring a physical graphics processing unit (GPU). The hardware-accelerated graphics features enable virtual machines to either share the physical GPUs (graphical processing unit) on a vSphere host or dedicate a physical GPU to a single virtual desktop.

For 3D applications, up to two monitors are supported, and the maximum screen resolution is 1920 x 1200. The guest operating system on the remote desktops must be Windows 7 or later.

Hardware Requirements for Client Systems

For information about processor and memory requirements for the specific type of desktop or mobile client device, go to https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-Horizon-Client/index.html.