Windows Server 2012 / 2012 R2 - RDS - VDI - Create a virtual desktop infrastructure (pooled virtual desktops)

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With Remote Desktop Services (RDS), you can provide remote desktops and/or remote applications (RemoteApp).
Nevertheless, these were based on Terminal Server sessions.

In this new tutorial, we'll explain the other possibility : provide virtual machine-based desktops (that is, VDI).
Which means that you will also need a Hyper-V virtualization server to run them.

  1. Required configuration
  2. Installing Remote Desktop Services (RDS) roles
  3. Deploying Remote Desktop Services (RDS)
  4. Preparing the virtual machine for creating virtual desktops
  5. Storage of user profile disks
  6. Create a collection of virtual desktops
  7. Virtual destkop test
    1. User side
    2. Server side
    3. User limit reached
  8. Virtual desktop collection properties
  9. Publish RemoteApps from virtual desktops
  10. Users data
  11. Delete a collection of virtual desktops pool
  12. Bonus : Windows 7 Enterprise test for virtual desktop collection

1. Required configuration

To follow this tutorial, you will need :

  • an Active Directory server - IP :
  • a DHCP server (which in our case is installed on the same server as the Active Directory)
  • at least one Hyper-V virtualization server (on which we will create virtual desktops) - IP :
  • a server running Windows Server 2012 R2 where we will install roles for Remote Desktop Services - IP :

Since creating virtual desktops requires the use of sysprep and they will need to be able to connect to your Active Directory domain, you will need to send the IP address of your Active Directory server as the primary DNS server thanks to DHCP server options.
Indeed, if you try to put it directly into the network configuration of the virtual machine being used as model, this configuration will be erased by sysprep.

In short, on Windows Server 2012 R2 :

  • open the DHCP program
  • in your scope, click : Scope Options
  • check that the "006 DNS Servers" and "015 DNS Domain Name" options are configured to send respectively : the IP address of your Active Directory server as the 1st DNS server and your Active Directory domain name for the connection suffix.

2. Installing Remote Desktop Services (RDS) roles

To begin, on the Hyper-V server, open the "Add Roles and Features Wizard" and check the "Remote Desktop Services" box.
Then, in role services, check only the "Remote Desktop Virtualization Host" box.

For the RDS server, install at least the "Remote Desktop Web Access" and "Remote Desktop Licensing" role services.

At this step, don't change anything and just click Next.

Click Install.

After installing Remote Desktop Services, you may need to restart your RDS server.

3. Deploying Remote Desktop Services (RDS)

Now that we have installed the required Remote Desktop Services, we need to deploy them.
For this, on your RDS server, click on "Add other servers to manage".

In the "Active Directory" tab, click : Find Now.
Then, select your Hyper-V server and click on the middle arrow.
Finally, click OK.

Now, click on "Add Roles and Features".

Select "Remote Desktop Services installation" and click Next.

Select : Standard deployment.

Select : Virtual machine-based desktop deployment.

The wizard displays a description of the different services.

Select on which server the Broker service will be installed.

Note : it cann't be installed on an Active Directory server, hence the use of another server (RDS).

Select on which server you want to install web access.

For the virtualization host, select your Hyper-V server and click the middle arrow.
Then, click Next.

Important : installing the "Remote Desktop Virtualization Host" role service will result in the installation of the "Hyper-V" role on the same server (if it isn't already installed).
You are therefore required to install this role on your Hyper-V server.

Click Deploy.

The remote office services have been deployed.