Tip

How VDI user profiles personalize desktop VMs

VDI user profiles can simplify IT management but require some tweaks to meet end users' needs.

In a typical Windows desktop environment, a user profile defines the unique characteristics that personalize a user's desktop

    Requires Free Membership to View

settings. These include options such as display settings, application preferences and so on.

More virtual desktop user profile resources

Creating unique user profiles for VDI

Sixteen user profile management tools to consider

The introduction of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) complicates the notion of user profiles because virtual desktops are hosted on a remote server rather than on a local computer at your desk. In most cases, the server spins up the required number of desktop instances from one (or a very few) virtual machine (VM) images. That means each virtual desktop image is initially the same.

Uniformity makes life easier for IT administrators because they no longer need to wrestle with obscure and often unperceivable differences between traditional desktop systems. But users don't readily accept these cookie cutter desktop environments.

To improve user comfort and acceptance of virtual desktops, VDI user profiles incorporate the notion of personalization: allowing users to apply a bit of customization to suit their preferences but still starting the desktop from a single VM image.

Personalization is typically accomplished by applying a separate user data file to the desktop image. As a rule, virtual desktop user profile data is stored in the same location where the server stores other data for that particular user. One example is VMware Horizon View's Composer feature, which adds Windows personalization (such as wallpapers and other preferences) from the user's profile once the initial desktop image loads. If the user makes even more personalization changes, the changes are saved back to the user profile. Windows provides a similar capability in its roaming profiles.

VDI user profiles are saved centrally along with the user's data and the original desktop VM image, so IT administrators can exercise full control over the desktop environment. For example, administrators can reset user preferences, establish guidelines for user preferences (characteristics that you can and cannot change), and backup or restore user preferences. In addition, administrators can create new master desktop environments or move users (and groups) to new desktop images. This preserves user preferences while giving users the features and functionality of a new desktop VM.

This was first published in April 2013

There are Comments. Add yours.

 
TIP: Want to include a code block in your comment? Use <pre> or <code> tags around the desired text. Ex: <code>insert code</code>

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
Sort by: OldestNewest

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to:

Disclaimer: Our Tips Exchange is a forum for you to share technical advice and expertise with your peers and to learn from other enterprise IT professionals. TechTarget provides the infrastructure to facilitate this sharing of information. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or validity of the material submitted. You agree that your use of the Ask The Expert services and your reliance on any questions, answers, information or other materials received through this Web site is at your own risk.