To use a supported Windows Server virtual machine as a single-session virtual desktop (rather than as an RDS host), you must perform certain steps before you install Horizon Agent in the virtual machine. You must also configure Horizon Console to treat Windows Servers as supported operating systems for Horizon 8 desktop use.



  1. Verify that the Remote Desktop Services role is not installed.
    When the Remote Desktop Services role is not present, the Horizon Agent installer prompts you to install Horizon Agent in RDS mode or desktop mode. If the Remote Desktop Services role is present, the Horizon Agent installer does not display these options and it treats the Windows Server machine as an RDS host instead of a single-session Horizon 8 desktop.
  2. During Horizon Agent installation, select Desktop mode to install Horizon Agent as a single-user virtual desktop where published desktop features will not be available.
  3. (Optional) Install the Desktop Experience feature if you plan to use the following features.
    • HTML Access
    • Scanner redirection
    • Windows Aero
  4. (Optional) To use Windows Aero on a Windows Server desktop, start the Themes service.
    When you create or edit a desktop pool, you can configure 3D graphics rendering for your desktops. The 3D Renderer setting offers a Software option that enables users to run Windows Aero on the desktops in the pool.
  5. On Windows Server machines, configure the Windows Firewall service to restart after failures occur.
  6. Configure Horizon Console to treat Windows Servers as supported desktop operating systems.
    If you do not perform this step, you cannot select Windows Server machines for desktop use in Horizon Console.
    1. In Horizon Console, select Settings > Global Settings.
    2. In the General Settings tab, click Edit.
    3. Select the Enable Windows Server desktops check box and click OK.


When you enable Windows Server desktops in Horizon Console, Horizon Console displays all available Windows Server machines, including machines on which Connection Server is installed, as potential machines for desktop use. You cannot install Horizon Agent on machines on which other Horizon 8 software components are installed.