You must perform certain tasks to prepare a guest operating system for remote desktop deployment.


  • Create a virtual machine and install a guest operating system.
  • Configure an Active Directory domain controller for your remote desktops. See the Horizon 7 Installation document for more information.
  • To make sure that desktop users are added to the local Remote Desktop Users group of the virtual machine, create a restricted Remote Desktop Users group in Active Directory. See the Horizon 7 Installation document for more information.
  • Verify that Remote Desktop Services are started on the virtual machine. Remote Desktop Services are required for Horizon Agent installation, SSO, and other Horizon 7 operations. You can disable RDP access to your Horizon 7 desktops by configuring desktop pool settings and group policy settings. See Prevent Access to Horizon 7 Desktops Through RDP.
  • Verify that you have administrative rights on the guest operating system.
  • On Windows Server operating systems, prepare the operating system for desktop use. See Prepare Windows Server Operating Systems for Desktop Use.
  • If you intend to configure 3D graphics rendering for desktop pools, familiarize yourself with the Enable 3D Support setting for virtual machines.

    This setting is active on Windows 7 and later operating systems. On ESXi 5.1 and later hosts, you can also select options that determine how the 3D renderer is managed on the ESXi host. For details, see the vSphere Virtual Machine Administration document.


  1. In vSphere Client, log in to the vCenter Server system where the virtual machine resides.
  2. Right-click the virtual machine, select Power, and select Power On to start the virtual machine.
  3. Right-click the virtual machine, select Guest, and select Install/Upgrade VMware Tools to install the latest version of VMware Tools.
    Note: The virtual printing feature is supported only when you install it from Horizon Agent. Virtual printing is not supported if you install it with VMware Tools.
  4. Ensure that the virtual machine is synchronized to a reliable time source.

    In general, guests can use the VMware Tools time synchronization method in preference to other methods of time synchronization. The VMware Tools online help provides information on configuring time synchronization between guest and host.

    A Windows guest that is a member of a Windows domain synchronizes its time with its domain controller using the Windows Time Service. For these guests, this is the appropriate time synchronization method and VMware Tools time synchronization must not be used.

    Guests must use only one method of time synchronization. For example, a Windows guest that is not a member of a Windows domain must have its Windows Time Service disabled.

    Important: Hosts that are being relied upon for time synchronization must themselves be synchronized to a reliable time source, using the built-in NTP client. Verify that all hosts in a cluster use the same time source.
    Note: Windows domain controllers can use either VMware Tools time synchronization or another reliable time source. All domain controllers within a forest and domain controllers across forests with inter-forest trusts must be configured to use the same time source.
  5. Install service packs and updates.
  6. Install antivirus software.
  7. Install other applications and software, such as smart card drivers if you are using smart card authentication.

    If you plan to use VMware Identity Manager to offer a catalog that includes ThinApp applications, you must install VMware Identity Manager for Windows.

    Important: If you are installing Microsoft .NET Framework, you must install it after you install Horizon Agent.
  8. If Horizon Client devices will connect to the virtual machine with the PCoIP display protocol, set the power option Turn off the display to Never.
    If you do not disable this setting, the display will appear to freeze in its last state when power savings mode starts.
  9. If Horizon Client devices will connect to the virtual machine with the PCoIP display protocol, go to Control Panel > System > Advanced System Settings > Performance Settings and change the setting for Visual Effects to Adjust for best performance.
    If you instead use the setting called Adjust for best appearance or Let Windows choose what's best for my computer and Windows chooses appearance instead of performance, performance is negatively affected.
  10. If a proxy server is used in your network environment, configure network proxy settings.
  11. Configure network connection properties.
    1. Assign a static IP address or specify that an IP address is assigned by a DHCP server.
      Horizon 7 does not support link-local (169.254.x.x) addresses for Horizon 7 desktops.
    2. Set the preferred and alternate DNS server addresses to your Active Directory server address.
  12. (Optional) Join the virtual machine to the Active Directory domain for your remote desktops.
    A golden image virtual machine for creating instant clones or Composer linked clones must either belong to the same Active Directory domain as the domain that the desktop machines will join or be a member of a workgroup.
  13. Configure Windows Firewall to allow Remote Desktop connections to the virtual machine.
  14. (Optional) Disable Hot Plug PCI devices.
    This step prevents users from accidentally disconnecting the virtual network device (vNIC) from the virtual machine.
  15. (Optional) Configure user customization scripts.