How to change Horizon View SESparse to VMFSSparse

In my article Clearing up Space-Efficient Virtual Disk questions I explained the most important requirements and constraints when the new SESparse VMDK disk format with Horizon View 5.2.

Just in cased you missed it:

  • This new feature requires vSphere 5.1 as well as hardware version 9 for the VMs.
  • The Space Efficient format is only for for linked clone pools; and only for the OS disk.
  • Horizon View automatically chooses the space efficient format when possible and there is no official way to change this behavior.
  • The Space Efficient Format is not yet supported for Windows 8.
  • The space reclamation process is kicked off automatically by Horizon View when the reclaimable space for the VM exceeds the threshold set by the administrator.
  • The space reclamation statistics (reclaimed amount, reclaimed time) are displayed in the Pool Summary, and Desktop Summary.
  • SESparse disks ARE COMPATIBILE with the Horizon View Storage Accelerator technology from View 5.1 / vSphere 5.


Despite many customers are already successfully using the new feature and are effectively saving on the overall storage capacity utilized, some customer asked me how to disable this feature and re-instate VMFS Sparse as the default disk type. For many VMware internal reasons SESparse is the Default behavior and cannot be changed from the Admin UI. However there are couple ways to disable it.


Please note: If the intuit is only to disable the shrink/wipe process, this can be done via Admin UI disabling storage reclamation or blocking the maintenance window for shrink/wipe operations.


  • Create your Parent VM using Hardware version 8 instead of 9. Horizon View will not be able to assign SESparse on HW v8. Please note that some new Horizon View 5.2 features will not work with HW v8.


The steps outlined below are not supported by VMware. I recommend testing in development environment. If you decide to test or implement you are doing it on your own risk.


  • If HW v8 is not an option for your deployment or if you are already using HW v9 in production you will need to change a parameter in Horizon View Active Directory Lightweight Directory Service (AD LDS) database.


    1. Connect to one of your connection servers via RDP and execute the ADSI Edit tool or adsiedit.msc
    2. Use the connection settings below to connect to the internal ADLDS (DC=vdi,DC=vmware,DC=int). Click OK.
    3. Navigate to cn=common,ou=global,ou=properties.
    4. Under cn=common,ou=global,ou=properties, create pae-NameValuePair (multi string)
    5. Then set: "cs-disableSeSparse=true"


Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 5.32.44 PM


Done! All new VMs from now on will utilize VMFS Sparse disk format.


This article was first published by Andre Leibovici (@andreleibovici) at

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  1. […] Leibovici shares an unofficial way to disable the use of the SESparse disk format and revert to VMFS […]

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