Did you ever want to access Windows 2K8 Servers within VMware View using PCoIP? This configuration is not supported by VMware, only Terminal Services. Below you will find a step-by-step guide on how to connect Windows 2k8 R2 servers to VMware View using PCoIP.
The use cases for this type of configurations are many; ranging from creating manual pools to allow administrators to access jump boxes, to provision Windows 2K8 desktops to users (I do not recommend that from a MS licensing perspective).
I have also validated in my lab the use of Linked Clones and Persona Management with Windows 2K8 R2 servers but that will require some additional steps to make it work properly. In a next post I will explain how to make Linked Clones and Persona Management work in your VMWare View environment with Windows 2K8.
Hacking VMware View Agent
VMware View Agent uses Microsoft Installer to run a series of validations to understand what components should or should not be installed. For Windows 2K8 specifically, VMware View agent will only allow Terminal Services Access Pools with the connection protocol being RDP. So, first we need to open and hack VMware View Agent.
You will need to download Orca. Orca MSI Editor allows you to edit the properties of any MSI file. With this tool, you can change the title and text within the installer and look at how and where the files are delivered. Once installed you can right-click any MSI and select Open with Orca. This tool used to be a part of Microsoft Developer Tools but is now retired and no longer supported.
Download Orca from here.
- On a Windows 2K8 Server with VMware Tools installed execute the installation VMware View Agent package (VMware-viewagent-x86_64-5.0.0-481677). Do not click Install or Next.
- Go to %temp% folder, typing %temp% at the Run prompt.
- Find the folder containing the unpacked installation files and copy them to a temporary folder on your desktop.
- Using the Orca utility open ‘VMware View Agent64.msi’ file existing in the temp folder.
- Navigate to ‘Condition’ table
- Delete the conditions from PCoIP (0) and USB (0) features. Delete only the content of the condition, not dropping the entire row. Save the changes.
- Execute ‘VMware View Agent64.msi’ and go through the install normally. Enter the IP address of the Connection Server and the Authentication credentials when asked.
- Open the Windows Device Manager; go to ‘Display Adapters’ and select ‘Update Driver…’
- Select ‘Browse my computer for driver software’ and ‘Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer’
- On the following screen select ‘Have Disk…’ and select the wddm_video driver at “’c:\Program Files\Common Files\VMware\Drivers\wddm_video\vm3d.inf’. Without changing the video driver PCoIP will not work.
- Click ‘OK’ and Reboot the server.
Optionally, watch the video demonstration of how to do that.
Hacking VMware View Connection Server
VMware View classifies the Guest OS version and only allows certain operations based on the version property. Without hacking into the internal database VMware View will not allow you to add Windows 2K8 R2 servers to a manual pool. You want to use manual pools because they allow PCoIP and also allow you to add ad-hoc computers.
The Guest OS version information is kept in the internal ADAM database (Active Directory Application Mode). The steps below will explain how to change the Guest OS version.
1. Connect to one of your connection servers via RDP and execute the EDSI Edit tool or adsiedit.msc. If your connection server is Windows 2K3 you will need to install the EDSI Edit tool. Download it from here.
2. Use the connection settings below to connect to the internal ADAM LDAP (DC=vdi,DC=vmware,DC=int). Click OK.
3. Navigate to Servers OU and select and open the latest CN added to the list. At this point you should be able to see a property ‘Display Name’ containing the name of the server. If this is not the server you are adding you will need to find the correct CN.
4. Navigate to the ‘pae-OSVersion’ property and change it from 4 to 5. Click OK.
5. At this point the Windows 2K8 R2 Server is available under ‘Registered Desktop Sources’ in the VMware View dashboard. It will be displayed as Windows 7 instead of Windows 2K8.
6. Create a manual desktop pool and add the server to the pool. The pool can be configured as persistent or floating.
Now watch below the video of PCoIP access to a Windows 2K8 Virtual Server via VMWare View. (I’m sorry about the quality of the video. I will soon replace it)
· If you get a black screen when connecting via PCoIP, shutdown the server and add more video RAM memory. I recommend adding the maximum: 128MB
· This is completely not supported by VMware and all the changes and modifications in this article are purely from an experiment perspective.
· Do not execute the instructions mentioned in this article in a production environment without knowing exactly what you are doing.
· I am not suggesting here that Windows 2K8 Server should be used as a replacement for Windows 7 as desktop from a licensing perspective. If you have any questions on licensing, please talk to your Microsoft rep.
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