Want to play with Microsoft’s free Server 2008 R2 VDI solution? Here's their 'step-by-step' guides

Now that Windows Server 2008 R2 has reached the Release Candidate point, Microsoft is working hard to evangelize all the new capabilities of the product. And one of the new features that all BrianMadden.

Now that Windows Server 2008 R2 has reached the Release Candidate point, Microsoft is working hard to evangelize all the new capabilities of the product. And one of the new features that all BrianMadden.com readers should be familiar with is the inclusion of a brand-new “in box” VDI solution.

Microsoft’s VDI solution has a lot of moving parts. There’s new versions of the TS connection broker and web access console (now called RD Connection Broker and RD Web Access, respectively). There’s also the Hyper-V server that will host your remote VMs (called TS Virtualization Host), and of course there’s the remote Windows 7 VMs themselves. (And each of those can be run in pooled or personal mode).

Unfortunately, setting up a working Windows Server 2008 R2 VDI environment is not as simple as clicking “next, next, next.” So if you have the time and you’d like to step through it all, Microsoft has created several guides that walk you through the entire process:

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I used this guide do set up and test a scenario this weekend.  The VDI support in the RC code (which one presumes will match the RTM code from a feature standpoint) is somewhat limiting, leaving me wanting for more.

You can set up "presonal desktops" - meaning that a user is assigned to a specific VM, or designate a pool identical VMs.  When using the pool, the broker will wake up (boot) a VM and attach the user in.  When the user disconnects, it shuts the VM down.  It does not, however revert the VM to the saved snapshot which is what I would have wanted.

I suppose that with effort on my part I could pwershell my way around that one, but I shouldn't have to.  Also not in this feature set (but desired) is any support for a single golden image hat is cloned on demand to create pool members.

I did have one problem with the step-by-step guide in that it provided instructions at one point that could not be followed as the described UI in the server manager did not exist.  It is possible this was due to the R2 server was upgraded from 2008 rather than a fresh install, but I am unsure.

The upgrade of a full 2008 server with HV to R2 RC code went fairly well itself.  The biggest issue I had was in changes to the networking.  Ultimately the upgrade changed adapter order in the parent partition.  Being a DC with one perm IP address and one DHCP address this was a huge problem.  (Yes, I know you shouldn't put a DC in the parent partition - but this is just a test machine).


Tim, rollback is enabled by default in RC.

First take a snapshot of the pooled VM instance.

Then rename the snapshot to  RDV_Rollback

You should find it rollbacks now,


Thanks Alex!


Is this another M$ swipe at Citrix's product line?  Just a few months ago M$ was extoling XenDesktop as the VDI of choice and up on stage at Synergy about what great partners they were with Citrix.


is this going to be M$ foray into the VDI space as current held by Citrix and VMWare?  


Oh I think that Microsoft will definately be in the VDI space.  In the article, though,, Brian refers to this as the "in the box VDI".  

This means that it is a more basic/simple VDI solution that meets some needs, but if you are serious about VDI you might choose to buy a fuller more complete solution.  So just like TS (eh, make that RDS) and XenApp, you have this in-the-box VDI and XenDesktop (or VMware, except that one doesn't seem to fall of MS lips very often).  

This VDI will be  sufficient to meet some people's needs for a simple and small deployment.  I think it totally lacks as a enterprise solution (at least as seen by me in the RC version).  There was nothing in the console other than to set up the connections and designate the group.  You want rollback - go to the Hyper-V manager.  You want to see if any machines in use - go to the Hyper-V manager.  You want to know who is using those machines - you might just be out of luck.  I don't think anybody at Citrix is loosing sleep over this.



I am trying to configure this setup and struggling a bit with the certificate side of things. Is there anyone that can assist with this? I need to know exactly what I need to do to make a certificate and be able to use it in this environment.