PC Reuse for VDI with Lockdown Policies

Almost on every VDI implementation you’ll be asked to configure the old desktops to be reused as Thin Clients or Terminals as I like to call them (the word Terminal is just more geeky I guess ;-)).

Anyway, reading the hereunder will aid you in getting your Windows 7 PCs ready to be some how a thin client.

Summary of steps:

First we’re going to configure the PC for auto log-on with a domain based account, then we’re going to set the powershell execution policy on it as well until finally we’re going create our nifty GPO to wrap things up.

[Set PowerShell Execution Policy]

  1. Open PowerShell and type Set-ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted.


  1. On the PC, start -> run -> regedit.
  2. Go to this key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon
  3. By default you’ll find AutoAdminLogon string, you have to set its value to 1.
  4. Then you have create the following:
    1. DefaultDomainName add it as a string and put your default domain name (either NETBIOS name if you’re on the same subnet or full FQDN in case you have different subnets).
    2. DefaultUserName add it as a string and put the a username which you’ve previously created on AD, the users should have no privileges at all.
    3. DefaultPassword add is as a string and fill it with the password of the default user name (this will be in plain text).
    4. And we’re done, restart the PC and autologon should be in effect although sometimes there were awkward situations where I had to restart the PC multiple times to get the autologon in effect.

[Group Policies]

  1. Create a new GPO named “Terminal PC Lockdown
  2. Create an OU for terminal PC and link the GPO to it.
  3. [Change User Shell from Explorer to VMVware-View.exe]
    1. Here we will be replacing Explorer.exe with the VMware-View.exe executable, so that whenever the user logs on nothing will be visible but the client connection window.
    2. Edit the group policy: User Configuration -> Expand Administrative Templates -> Expand System -> In System you’ll find Custom User Interface
    3. Set it to Enabled and use this path “C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Horizon View Client\vmware-view.exe”
  4. Computer Configuration (Policies):
    1. System/Logon:
      1. Hide entry points for Fast User Switching -> Enabled (this will disable switching users).
    2. VMware View Client Configuration/Scripting definitions (the VMware Client ADM template can be imported from the VMware Horizon View GPO bundle):
      1. DesktopLayout -> Full Screen
      2. Logon DomainName -> NETBIOS domain name or FQDN.
      3. Server URL -> Your View connection server.
    3. VMware View Client Configuration/Security Settings (this is only to be used for testing, in a production you’re out to get certificates from either a public or private CA):
      1. Certificate verification mode -> No Security
      2. Ignore certificate revocation problems -> Enabled
  5. User Configuration (Policies):
    1. Windows Settings -> Scripts -> Logon -> vmware_view_process_checker.ps1 (With script order powershell runs last) <- this script will monitor the VMware-View.exe process and will make sure if a user closes it it will restart after a time interval or 10 seconds or less.
    2. while($true)
          $VMwareViewProcessName = "vmware-view"
          $GetVMwareViewProcess = Get-Process | Where-Object {$_.ProcessName -eq $VMwareViewProcessName}
          if ($GetVMwareViewProcess)
              { continue }
              elseif (!$GetVMwareViewProcess)
                  { Start-Process "C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Horizon View Client\vmware-view.exe" }
          sleep 10
    3. Administrative Templates
      1. System/Ctrl+Alt+Del Options – (Remove Change Password, Remove Lock Computer, Remove Logoff, Remove Task Manager) Enabled.
      2. VMware View Client Configuration ->  Always on top Enabled
      3. VMware View Client Configuration -> Enable the shade Disabled

And you’re done, restart the PC one last time and you’ll have a nice secure Terminal that users can connect from.

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