VMware View 5.x – Windows 7 Golden Image

Some notes on creating your golden Windows 7 (32-bit) image to be used in VMware View projects


STEP 1: Optimizing the VM within ESXi

Hardware version: use the latest available for your vSphere platform

vCPUs: 1

vRAM: 1024 MB

Disk Size: 40 GB (disk size depends on the umber of locally installed applications)

SCSI Controller: LSI Logic SAS


Video Card: Do not “Auto detect” (see VMware KB 1017380), set to 2 displays and 128 MB video memory

Video Card: Enable 3D support

Disable Virtual Machine logging (via Edit Settings – Options – Advanced – General)

Remove Floppy Drive

CD-ROM: set to Client Device – Passthrough IDE

BIOS: Disable Serial Ports, Parallel Ports and Floppy Disk Controllers, change boot order to HDD first


STEP 2: Installing + Optimizing the Windows 7 OS

Connect the Win7 iso file to the VM CD-ROM

Install Win7 from iso

Note: Install with an 8K allocation size as described here on page 14

Install VMware Tools and reboot VM

Note: Enable Virtual Printing. This driver enables the virtual printing feature on Microsoft Windows virtual machines. With virtual printing, printers added to the operating system on the client or host appear in the list of available printers in the guest operating system. No additional printer drivers must be installed in the virtual machine.

Note: If you intend to use a vShield Endpoint based solution to protect your VMs from viruses makes sure to also install the vShield Endpoint Thin Agent driver which is not installed by default during a typical VMware Tools installation process. (Custom Install – Add VMCI driver\vShield Drivers)

Remove he following components (features) from the OS (unless you really need them) and reboot VM:

  • Games
  • Media Features – Windows DVD Maker
  • Media Features – Windows Media Center
  • Print and Document Services – Internet Printing Client
  • Print and Document Services – Windows Fax and Scan
  • Tablet PC components
  • Windows Gadget Platform

Run Windows update and install all the latest patches (including SP1) and reboot VM

Note: Repeat this process until all Windows updates have been installed)

As described in the VMware Horizon 7.1 documentation some additional hot fixed need to be applied


Run the optimization script attached to the VMware View optimization guide for Windows 7

Note: since I will be using VMware View’s Persona Management capabïlities, I choose the file CommandsPersonaManagement.txt

Note: Edit the file CommandPersonaManagement.txt and add the following lines

diskperf -N

reg Add “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager” /v DisablePagingExecutive /t REG_DWORD /d 0x100000 /f

reg Delete “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon” /v LegalNoticeCaption /f

reg Delete “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon” /v LegalNoticeText /f

Note: rename the file CommandPersonaManagement.txt to CommandPersonaManagement.bat and “Run as Administrator

Disconnect the installation media in the VM properties in vCenter (set to client device)

Install and adjust all necessary keyboards and regional settings

No GUI BOOT: launch msconfig – boot tab – check “No GUI Boot” and “Base Video”


  • Adjust for best performance: computer – Properties – Advanced Systems Settings – Advanced – Performance – Settings ==> Adjust for best performance
  • If you are planning to use dual monitor’s follow the steps described in VMware KB 2010359
  • Set registry key HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Afd\ParametersFastSendDatagramThreshold to 1500 (see http://blogs.vmware.com/performance/2012/10/turbo-charge-view-video-performance.html)
  • Disable offline File feature (see http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2016416)
  • Turn off notification messages:
    • Control Panel – Action Center – Chanhe Action Center Settings – deselect all options
    • Customer Experience Improvement Program Settings: No, I don’t want to participate in the program.
    • Problem Reporting Settings: Never check for solutions (for all users)
    • Windows Update:
      • Never check for updates
      • Uncheck “Give me recommended updates …”
      • Uncheck “Allow all users to install updates on this computer”
  • Turn off notificationicons on taskbar: Control Panel – Notification Area Icons – Turn system icons on or off – turn off as many notifications as possible

Shut down your machine and take a snapshot


STEP 3: Installation of some standard applications (OPTIONAL STEP)

Install the latest version of Adobe Flash Player:

Install the latest version of Adobe Reader

  • Browse to http://get.adobe.com/reader with Internet Explorer
  • Do not select the option to install “McAfee Security Scan Plus”, “Google Toolbar”, …
  • Manually check for and install updates
  • Enable the “Adobe PDF LInk Helper” add-on
  • Delete shortcut which was added to the desktop

Install the latest version of Adobe Shockwave player

  • Browse to http://get.adobe.com/shockwave with Internet Explorer
  • Do not select the option to install “McAfee Security Scan Plus”, “Google Toolbar”, …

Install the latest version of Java (install both 32 and 64 bit on a Win7 64-bit OS)

Run and test all the applications

Delete registry key HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\Adobe ARM

Delete registry key HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\SunjavaUpdateShed

Stop and disable “Adobe Acrobat Update Service”

Shut down the VM and take a snapshot


STEP 4: Add VM to your Active Directory domain

Create a custom default user profile as described here on page 24

Join the VM to your Active Directory Domain

Add an Active Directory group containing the users/groups which will be allowed to open Remote Desktop connections to the VM (= all users/groups which will be allowed to connect to a VMware View Desktop)

Install View 5.x Agent (install all components) ==> Make sure that the version of the View Agent you are using is compatible with the View Connection server version you will be using.

If you are going to use Horizon Application manager: Install VMware Horizon Agent

Clean up the machine

  • Open a command prompt and run C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.5072\ngen.exe executeQueuedItems. This will precompile all .NET assemblies which might still be queued.
  • Delete all files under c:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download
  • Clear all eventlogs by running the following command in a cmd prompt (Run as Administrator)

wevtutil el >a.txt

for /f %x in (a.txt) do wevtutil cl %x

del a.txt

  • Run Disk Cleanup to remove temp files, empty recycle bin and remove other unneeded files
  • Defragment the VM disk

Enable and start the the defragmentation service
Run a full defragmentation (disable also scheduled defragmentation)
Stop and disable the defragmentation service

  • Release IP address: ipconfig /release
  • Flush DNS: ipconfig /flushdns

Shut down the VM and take a snapshot



Deploying Microsoft Windows 7 Virtual Desktops with VMware View (EMC article)

VMware View optimization guide for Windows 7 (VMware article)


  1. Thank you for this writeup, this had some extra information that I gladly applied to the benefit of our users.

    Out of curiosity: VMware recommends a base image with no more than two, at most three snapshots to be used for View desktop composition. You’re at three snapshots here now. How do you implement OS and program updates? Do you build a new gold image from scratch each time or do you clone the current snapshot to a new base image and work from there?

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