Use a manual desktop pool if you have pre-existing groups of desktops that you want to manage with Horizon. Compared to an automated desktop pool, a manual desktop pool has limited features. For example, Horizon does not manage the lifecycle of the desktops in a manual desktop pool. Instant clones are not applicable to manual desktop pools.

You can create manual desktop pools for both virtual desktops and published desktops, which provide users with desktop sessions on RDS hosts. For more information about creating published desktops pools, see the Setting Up Published Desktops and Applications in Horizon document. For information about creating a manual desktop pool that uses Linux virtual machines, see the Setting Up Linux Desktops in Horizon document.

Horizon supports the following types of manual desktop pools.

Manual Desktop Pool of vSphere Machines
This type of manual desktop pool contains the following type of virtual machine:
  • Independent virtual machines that are managed by vCenter Server.

These vSphere virtual machines are not created by Horizon. For example, these machines were created in vSphere by another virtual desktop infrastructure software and now you want to migrate them to Horizon. To create a manual desktop pool of vSphere virtual machines, you must install Horizon Agent on each machine, and then select the vCenter virtual machines option as part of the manual desktop pool creation workflow

Instant clone technology is not supported on this type of manual desktop pool. This type of manual desktop pool is also different from automated full-clone desktop pools in which Horizon creates a pool of virtual machines that are cloned from a template VM as part of the pool creation process.

Manual Desktop Pool of Non-vSphere Machines
This type of manual desktop pool contains the following types of machines:
  • Non-vSphere virtual machines. Virtual machines that run on a virtualization platform other than vCenter Server.
  • Physical machines.

When these machines get registered with Connection Server as part of the Horizon Agent installation process, these machines are called registered machines. To create a manual desktop pool that contains non-vSphere VMs or physical machines in Horizon Console, you must select the Other sources option as part of the manual desktop pool creation workflow.

After you create this type of manual desktop pool, you can view these non-vSphere virtual machines or physical computers in Horizon Console by navigating to Settings > Registered Machines > Others.

RDS hosts are also registered machines that are not managed by vSphere. For more information on RDS hosts, see the Setting Up Published Desktops and Applications in Horizon.

Note: After the virtual machine is added to a manual pool in Horizon, you need to power off the machine so the new display settings can be applied. These settings include monitor count, monitor resolution, and the Screen DMA setting. For more information, see https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/2144475.