After the virtual machine (VM) built on a Microsoft Windows client-type operating system is imported and you have paired it to Horizon Cloud, but before converting it into a published image, you customize the guest Windows operating system (OS) to install and configure all of the things you want to have in your end users' VDI desktops. At this time, you install all of the third-party applications you want available in the VDI desktops. Also at this time, you perform any other customizations in the Windows guest operating system, such as installing special drivers required by your organization's needs, applying wallpaper, setting default colors and fonts, configuring taskbar settings, and other such OS-level items. The VM prior to customization is sometimes referred to as an image or base image. After customization, the VM is sometimes referred to as a golden image.

After the Imported VMs page indicates that your imported VM has its agent-related status as active, you connect to it using your RDP software and install the applications into the underlying operating system.

Prerequisites

Verify the Imported VMs page indicates the agent-related status is active for the VM. To get that status for a VM created in a pod at manifest 1600 and higher, use the Imported VMs page's Reset Agent Pairing action on the VM. That action is located in the More drop-down list.

Obtain the VM's IP address as displayed on the Imported VMs page.

Note: When using the Microsoft Remote Desktop Client as your RDP software to connect to the VM, ensure it is the most up-to-date version. For example, the default RDP software in the Windows 7 operating system is not at a high enough version. The version must be version 8 or higher.
Verify you have at least one of the following credentials (user name and password) to log in to the VM's guest Windows operating system, according to how the VM was created.
When the VM was created How the VM was created Credentials to use to log in
Prior to the December 2019 service release going live in production

Import Virtual Machine wizard, from the Imported VMs page.

Prior to the December 2019 service release date, the Import Virtual Machine wizard created VMs that were always automatically joined to the Active Directory domain that was specified in the wizard. To log in to such a VM, you can use one of the following:

  • The credentials for the local administrator account that were specified in the wizard.
  • The credentials for a domain account in that Active Directory domain.
After the December 2019 service release went live in production

Import Virtual Machine wizard, from the Imported VMs page.

Starting with the December 2019 service release date, the Import Virtual Machine wizard provides the option of either having the wizard-created VM joined to a specified Active Directory domain or not having the VM joined to the domain at the end of the creation process.

  • If the VM was created with the wizard's Domain Join toggle enabled, you can use either the credentials for a domain account in the specified Active Directory domain or use the local administrator account that was specified in the wizard.
  • If the VM was created with the wizard's Domain Join toggle turned off, you must use the local administrator account that was specified in the wizard. In this case, because the VM is not joined to the domain, the local administrator account is the only account that has access to log in.
In any service release

Manual preparation steps.

Typically you do not need to join the VM to your Active Directory domain when you manually build the VM. To log in to that VM, use one of the following:

  • The credentials for the local administrator account that was specified when the manually built VM was created in the Microsoft Azure portal.
  • If you manually joined that VM to an Active Directory domain, the credentials for a domain account in that domain.
Important: Starting with pod manifest 1230 and later, domain accounts can direct connect to domain-joined image VMs that have the agent software installed. Prior to pod manifest 1230, the agent software installed in a domain-joined VM prevented domain accounts from directly connecting to that VM. However, if you have not yet updated your pod to a manifest of 1230 and later, before a domain account can direct connect to a domain-joined image VM that has the agent software installed, you must first perform the steps in When Your Pod is Not Yet Updated to Manifest 1230 or Later, How to Configure the Ability for Domain Accounts to Remote Connect to the Imported Image.

Procedure

  1. Use the VM's IP address in your RDP software to connect to the VM's operating system.
    • If the VM was created with a public IP address, you can use that IP address in your RDP software
    • If the VM has a private IP address, you must RDP into it by one of these two methods:
      • Using another VM in your Microsoft Azure subscription that does have a public IP address and doing an outbound RDP into the imported VM.
      • Use your VPN and RDP into the VM over your corporate network
    Note: To access a VM that is running the agent-related software components, the version of the Remote Desktop Client must be version 8 or later. Otherwise, the connection fails. Using the most up-to-date Remote Desktop Client is recommended.
  2. Log in to the Windows operating system using credentials (user name and password) as described in the prerequisites here.
    When using the local administrator account credentials that were specified in the Import Image wizard when the VM was created, enter the username as \username.
    Note: When the VM is a domain-joined VM, as described in the prerequisites here, and you want to use a domain account instead of the local administrator account, enter the user name as domain\username where domain is the name of the domain.
  3. When you are logged in to the operating system, install the third-party applications or drivers that you want available for your end users to run in the VDI desktop environment.
  4. In the operating system, install any custom drivers you want in the VDI desktops.
  5. Make any customizations or configurations you want to have in the VDI desktops, such as add a custom wallpaper, set default fonts or colors or themes, adjust the taskbar default settings, and so on.
  6. When you are done adding your finishing touches to the VM's guest operating system, sign out of the operating system.

What to do next

Optimize the image based on your intended business scenario. See the guidance in Five Key Steps to Take with Your Golden Images to Get Optimal Remote Experience Performance from Horizon Cloud Farms and Desktops.

Follow the best practices to optimize the VM to prevent encountering sysprep or other errors during the process to convert the golden image to an assignable image in Horizon Cloud, also known as publishing or sealing the image. See Customize the Imported VM's Windows Operating System.

Convert the golden image to an assignable image, using the steps described in Convert a Configured Image VM to an Assignable Image in Horizon Cloud on a Per-Pod Basis.