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How to deploy personal virtual desktops

Assigning personal virtual desktops to users is relatively simple. Follow these steps to deploy them in your environment.

You have two options to consider for deploying a virtual desktop infrastructure with Windows Server 2008 R2: virtual...

desktop pools and personal virtual desktops.

These two technologies are architecturally very similar, since both are based on Remote Desktop Services. In a virtual desktop pool, users are connected to a random virtual machine from the pool of available VMs. When the user logs out, any changes made to the VM are rolled back so the machine is in a pristine state for the next user. 

On the other hand, a personal virtual desktop is dedicated to a specific user, and as a result, Windows skips the rollback process and retains the changes a user makes.

Allocating a personal virtual desktop to a user is relatively simple, but the necessary remote desktop infrastructure must be in place. The procedure described below assumes that a Remote Desktop Session host, connection broker, Web access server and virtualization host server are in place and that the virtual desktops that will be assigned to users are created. (Check out "Getting started with a Windows virtual desktop pool" for information on setting up the VDI server architecture.)

  1. Select the Remote Desktop Services | Remote Desktop Connection Manager commands from the Administrative Tools menu on the server configured to act as the connection broker.
  2. Click Configure Virtual Desktop in the console's Actions pane. This will launch the Configure Virtual Desktops wizard.
  3. Click Next to bypass the wizard's welcome screen. The following screen prompts you to enter the name of your Remote Desktop Virtualization Host server. After entering the server's name, click Add, then Next.
  4. On the Configure Redirection Settings page, provide the wizard the name of your Remote Desktop Session Host server, then click Next.
  5. Provide the name of your Remote Desktop Web Access Server, then click Next.
  6. On this screen, verify that all the information is correct, then click Apply to confirm the changes.
  7. You should now at the wizard's final screen. Select the Assign Personal Virtual Desktop box before clicking Finish.
  8. Next is the Assign Personal Virtual Desktop page. Click on Select User and, when prompted, enter the name of the user to whom you want to assign a personal virtual desktop. Enter the username in DOMAIN\USERNAME format, and then click OK.
  9. Select the VM you want to assign to the user and click Next.
  10. Confirm the username and the personal VM name are correct, and click Assign.
  11. Unless you want to make an additional personal VM assignment, deselect the Assign Another Virtual Machine to Another User box, and click Finish.

Overall, assigning a personal virtual desktop to a user is simple as long as the remote desktop infrastructure is functional prior to making the assignment.

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Brien M. Posey, MCSE, has received Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional Award four times for his work with Windows Server, IIS and Exchange Server. He has served as CIO for a nationwide chain of hospitals and health care facilities and was once a network administrator for Fort Knox. You can visit his personal website at

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