The VMware Indirect Display Driver is a hypervisor-agnostic display driver that supports a variety of system environments, from on-premises ESXi-hosted virtual machines (VMs) to cloud-based VMs. It is distributed as part of Horizon Agent for Windows and works with both hardware GPUs and software rasterizers.
Before you can use the VMware Indirect Display Driver, you must do the following.
- Verify that the agent machine is running Windows 10, version 1803 or later.
- Install Horizon Agent on the machine, as described in Install Horizon Agent on a Windows Virtual Machine. By default, the VMware Indirect Display Driver is automatically installed as part of the agent software.
If you are specifying feature options with a silent installation, include the
VmwViddoption as described in Silent Installation Properties for Horizon Agent for Windows.
Capabilities of the VMware Indirect Display Driver
By leveraging the rendering and encoding capabilities of the VM's underlying hardware GPU, the VMware Indirect Display Driver allows applications to be rendered optimally at high frame rates. This functionality offers performance advantages when working with multi-session pools and high-workload 3D applications such as design and modeling software.
The VMware Indirect Display Driver also supports software rasterizers such as the Microsoft Windows Advance Rasterization Platform (WARP).
The VMware Horizon Indirect Display Driver is optimized to perform well with VMware Blast Extreme, resulting in lower memory consumption and in certain cases, lower CPU and GPU utilization.
Configuring the Display Driver Priority
By default, the VMware Indirect Display Driver serves as the fallback display driver for remote sessions, provided that sufficient system resources are available. The Horizon display protocol chooses a display driver according to the following priority:
- The protocol first attempts to set up the session's display topology using the active GPU or hypervisor display driver.
- If the hypervisor or GPU display driver does not support the requested display topology or is not functioning, the protocol uses the VMware Indirect Display Driver.
In an environment such as Horizon Cloud on Azure where neither the hypervisor not the GPU display driver are available, the VMware Indirect Display Driver serves as the primary display driver.
You can change the default priority rules to make the VMware Indirect Display Driver the primary display driver used first for remote sessions. In HKLM\Software\Policies\VMware, Inc.\VMware Blast\Config, configure the following registry setting:
PixelProviderForceViddCapture REG_SZ : 1
Accessing the Hypervisor Remote Console
The VMware Indirect Display Driver has no direct communication with the hypervisor and does not support the use of hypervisor remote consoles such as the VMware Remote Console Application.
If you need access to a hypervisor remote console, you can install the hypervisor display driver and deactivate the VMware Indirect Display Driver.
Alternatively, you can configure a registry setting to temporarily turn off the VMware Indirect Display Driver after a remote session ends and restore access to the hypervisor remote console. This configuration allows the VMware Indirect Display Driver to be used only during remote sessions and allows access to the hypervisor remote console otherwise. You might see a rearrangement of application windows as control of the display topology passes to the hypervisor display driver.
In HKLM\Software\Policies\VMware, Inc.\VMware Blast\Config, configure the following registry setting:
HypervisorConsoleForcedEnabled REG_SZ : 1
Activating Low Latency Mode
You can use the VMware Indirect Display Driver in low latency mode, which allows applications to render at a higher frame rate to reduce latency from user input. Since the higher frame rate results in increased consumption of CPU and GPU resources, low latency mode is deactivated by default.
For best results with low latency mode, ensure that the agent machine is using a hardware-accelerated GPU. Actual user experience may vary based on factors such as network conditions and client hardware capability.
To activate low latency mode, configure the following registry setting in HKLM\Software\Policies\VMware, Inc.\VMware Blast\Config:
PixelProviderLowLatencyEnabled REG_SZ : 1
Feature Limitations of the VMware Indirect Display Driver
The VMware Indirect Display Driver has the following feature issues and limitations.