Microsoft Windows 7 Optimization for VDI list of resources

Here is a good overview from Microsoft of VDI Optimization for Windows 7. It’s a common practice to optimize a Windows 7 virtual machine (VM) template (or image) specifically for VDI use. Usually such customizations include the following.

  • Minimize the footprint, e.g. disable some features and services that are not required when the OS is used in “stateless” or “non-persistent” fashion. This is especially true for disk-intensive workloads since disk I/O is a common bottleneck for VDI deployment. (Especially if there are multiple VMs with the same I/O patterns that are timely aligned).
  • Lock down user interface (e.g. optimize for specific task workers).

With that said the certain practices are quite debatable and vary between actual real-world deployments. Exact choices whether to disable this or that particular component depend on customer requirements and VDI usage patterns. E.g. in personalized virtual desktop scenario there’s much less things to disable since the machine is not completely “stateless”. Some customers rely heavily on particular UI functions and other can relatively easily trade them off for the sake of performance or standardization (thus enhance supportability and potentially security). This is one of the primary reasons why Microsoft doesn’t publish any “VDI Tuning” guide officially.

Though there are a number of such papers and even tools published either by the community or third parties. This Wiki page is aimed to serve as a consolidated and comprehensive list of such resources.

Publisher Type Titile Comment
Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (Terminal Services) Team Blog post Customize RDP settings for Virtual Desktops Basic information with detailed prescriptive steps.
Microsoft Remote Desktop Services team Script Configure Guest OS for Microsoft VDI (VB Script) , Configure Guest OS for Microsoft VDI (Windows PowerShell Script) Configures Guest OS for use with Windows Server 2008 R2 VDI.
“The Deployment Guys” (Microsoft Consulting Services, MCS) Utility VDI Optimizer The tool called VDI Optimizer outputs a VBScript (based on the selections you make in the GUI interface), which can then be used to apply performance and configuration settings to images that will be deployed via VDI platforms – this is particularly useful if you are using MDT 2010 for your image engineering process as the VBScript can bolted into the task sequence using a Run Command Line task.
Citrix Systems, Inc. Whitepaper Citrix XenDesktop—Windows 7 Optimization Guide for Desktop Virtualization The Windows 7 optimizations identified within this document are intended to provide a more responsive desktop for the users.
These configurations typically add value by enhancing the user experience and increasing system performance. For example, some of the changes optimize the user experience by enabling faster logons, reducing unnecessary prompts, and quicker screen updates. Others optimize performance and increase scalability by reducing unnecessary processor, memory, disk and network usage.
VMware, Inc. Whitepaper VMware View Optimization Guide for Windows 7 This guide provides administrators with the information necessary
to create a standard image of Windows 7 leveraging the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit or by utilizing a
script-based approach to optimize a traditionally installed Windows 7 virtual machine. The recommended
configuration settings optimize Windows 7 to help enhance the overall scalability and performance within a
VMware View Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.
The first section of the paper will discuss the overall process of optimization and the optimization aids provided.
In the next section, step-by-step procedural guidance is given for both methods of optimization. Afterward,
the Windows 7 Operating System Customizations section provides background information on the specific
optimizations and techniques used by the optimization aids.
Project Virtual Reality Check (Project VRC is a joint venture between Login Consultants and PQR) Whitepaper Project VRC Phase III (free sign-up requred) In this whitepaper Windows XP and Windows 7 are extensively compared. Specifically, the I/O behavior of Windows XP and Windows 7 is investigated in detail. By evaluating the different phases of a desktop workload, completely new insights are given. Many best practices are available to optimize Windows 7. Project VRC performed tests with the default optimizations configured by VSI (referred in this document as ‘VSI optimizations’) and additional optimization best practices that are specific to Windows 7 (referred as ‘VRC optimizations’). Both from an I/O and VSImax (maximum capacity) perspective, these ‘VRC optimizations’ proved to have a significant positive impact.