Sunday, February 12, 2012

VMware View Linked-Clone Desktop Pre and Post Deployment Checklist

I’m not sure why I never wrote a blog post about the items I typically go through when I have a VMware View virtual desktop deployment but as some of you may know, I’m currently finishing off a deployment so as I went through my old project task lists, I took the time to put most of the items into a list.  The following items aren’t meant to be a complete list since every environment is different so please use it as a starter list which requires more items to get appended to.  Also note that in addition to the items I’ve included in this blog post, there is also a lot of optimization tips in the VMware View Administration guide:


Preparing Master Image for Linked-Clones

  1. Review your guest hardware configuration for your master image as per the VMware View Administration guide with the consideration of the operating system you’re using:
    • vCPU (is 1 vCPU sufficient?  Or do you need 2 or more?)
    • Memory (View 5 suggests to start @ 512MB)
    • Network (single homed or dual? Type of network adapter. For example, E1000 adapter is known to have customization timeout errors for Windows 7 so VMXNET 3 is recommended but a patch is also required when you use this adapter)
    • SCSI Controller (LSI Logic is suggested for Windows 7 and XP guest OS.  LSI Logic SAS is only available for VMs with hardware version 7.  Windows XP does not include a driver for the LSI Logic adapter so it needs to get downloaded)
    • Disk Size (the non persistent O/S disk should be large enough for the OS and apps while the persistent disk needs to have enough space for your cached mailbox’s OST file if you decide to cache the Exchange mailbox.  If you cache the mailbox, 2GB suddenly isn’t all that big)
  2. Prepare and use a dedicated account that you know will never log onto the linked-clones in the future to prepare the master image or you may encounter the issue where redirected profiles would fail.  See this post for more details:
  3. Install VMware Tools.
  4. Install Vmware View Agent.
  5. Go into Device Manager of the Windows guest OS, navigate to the NIC, open up the properties, navigate to Power Management and uncheck Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power.  This is important or else you’ll notice that your virtual machine will intermittently lose its IP address and vCenter will display the message that VMware Tools is not installed.  See one of my previous posts for more details:
  6. Run Windows Updates and disable Windows update if you’re not using GPO (recommend to disable it anyways).
  7. Install Java, update java and turn off auto updates.
  8. Install Adobe Reader, update adobe and turn off auto updates.
  9. Install Adobe Flash, update flash and turn off auto updates.
  10. Install the latest Silverlight.
  11. Install Anti-Virus agent.
  12. Create shortcuts to desktop for all users via: C:\users\public\desktop.
  13. Install Microsoft Office and use the Microsoft Office Customizations tool to create a custom.msp file to change items such as template paths and/or create an Outlook Profile. If you don’t want to use a customization file, you can also use group policies to apply customizations.
  14. Turn off hibernation with: powercfg.exe /hibernate off.
  15. Install printer drivers if your print server does not have them installed to offer (i.e. you have Windows 7 64-bit desktops but still using a Windows Server 2003 32-bit server).
  16. Remove unused profiles from C:\Users (be careful with Windows 7 desktops as the registry also keeps track of profiles).
  17. Rearm Office 2010 before shutdown. Make sure you keep a count on how many times you rearm Office 2010 as there is a limit of 5.
  18. Also be aware that you can only sysprep Windows 7 a total of 3 times.
  19. Prepare KMS server for activating Windows 7 and Office 2010 with KMS keys.  Note that depending on whether you choose to use quickprep or sysprep, you may need to prepare your KMS server differently.  I won’t go too deep into this but quickprep does not create new CMIDs for Windows 7 so if your KMS has not reached 25 Windows 7 clients yet, it will never activate your pool of linked-clones whether there’s 10 or 1000 of them.  This means if your KMS server is new, and you plan to use quickprep, deploy a pool of 25 Windows 7 desktops with sysprep so you can get your KMS server to start activating because once the KMS reaches 25 clients, it doesn’t care about the CMID anymore.

Post Deployment Tasks

  1. Make sure you test your View desktops’ printing by sending print jobs to a few printers.
  2. Make sure you ensure the appropriate default printers that are mapped via scripts and GPOs in your View desktops.
  3. If you’re using an older version of Exchange such as 2003, migrate the users’ signatures.
  4. If retaining email address history autofill is important, migrate them from the users’ physical desktop.
  5. If desktop, my documents, etc folders are not configured as redirected folders to a server, copy any local profiles from the user’s physical desktop to their new persistent disks.
  6. Test VMware View client login to check for duplicate printers. If you do not want View to mount the local physical desktop’s printers, use GPO to disable redirected printers.
  7. Use VAMT Tool to review activation status of Windows and Office applications.
  8. If automating log on to the users virtual desktop is required when users log onto their physical desktops, configure a GPO and apply it to the user account (
  9. If automating the deployment of VMware View Client via GPO is required, configure a policy to install the client with the msi package (
  10. If customizing the VMware View Client settings on the users’ physical desktops is required, configure a GPO to apply settings with VMware’s custom adm templates.
  11. Configure Office 2003/2007/2010 GPO to customize Office settings (i.e. annoying welcome messages, Office update selection, etc).
  12. If you want users to be able to automatically connect their USB devices within the virtual desktops when they plug these devices into their physical workstations then create a GPO with the vdm_client.adm template and assign it to an OU with the physical workstation’s computer accounts.  The settings to turn are the following:
       a) Connect all USB devices to the desktop on launch.
       b) Connect USB devices to the desktop when they are plugged in.
    You can see another one of my blog spot with instructions on how to do this here:

I’ll append more items to this list as I come across items I’ve forgotten.

1 comment:

DanS said...

nice, this is really helpful!