Share via

Deploying Virtual Desktop Pools by Using Remote Desktop Web Access Step-by-Step Guide

Updated: March 30, 2010

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2

About this guide

This step-by-step guide walks you through the process of setting up a working virtual desktop pool accessible by using Remote Desktop Web Access (RD Web Access) in a test environment. During this process, you will create a test deployment that includes the following components:

  • A Remote Desktop Virtualization Host (RD Virtualization Host) server

  • A Remote Desktop Connection Broker (RD Connection Broker) server

  • A Remote Desktop Session Host (RD Session Host) server in redirection mode

  • A Remote Desktop Web Access (RD Web Access) server

  • Two virtual machines configured in a virtual desktop pool

This guide assumes that you previously completed the steps in the Installing Remote Desktop Session Host Step-by-Step Guide (, and that you have already deployed the following components:

  • An RD Session Host server

  • A Remote Desktop Connection client computer

  • An Active Directory Domain Services domain controller

This guide includes the following topics:

The goal of a virtual desktop pool is to provide users with a virtual desktop that is dynamically assigned from a pool of identically configured virtual machines. Users can connect to a virtual desktop pool and run programs and consume resources as if they were using a local client computer.

What this guide does not provide

This guide does not provide the following:


If you have previously configured the computers in the Installing Remote Desktop Session Host Step-by-Step Guide, you should repeat the steps in that guide with new installations.

Technology review

A virtual desktop pool is a group of identically configured virtual machines installed on an RD Virtualization Host server and managed through Hyper-V Manager. Users can access the virtual desktop pool through RemoteApp and Desktop Connection or RD Web Access. Because the virtual machines are identically configured, the user sees the same virtual desktop, regardless of which virtual machine in the virtual desktop pool the user connects to.

The following are important considerations when deploying a virtual desktop pool:

  • Ensure that the RDVH-SRV computer meets the Hyper-V installation prerequisites (

  • The virtual machines in a virtual desktop pool must be identically configured, including which programs are installed.

  • Virtual desktops can only use Windows® client operating systems. You cannot install Windows Server® 2008 R2 on a virtual machine and add it to a virtual desktop pool.

  • A virtual machine can be a member of only one virtual desktop pool at a time.

  • You can make multiple virtual desktop pools available through RD Web Access. The user sees a different icon for each virtual desktop pool.

  • Users should not save files on a virtual machine that is in a virtual desktop pool. If a user logs off from a virtual machine in a virtual desktop pool, the next time that the user logs on to the virtual desktop pool, the user might be connected to a different virtual machine in the virtual desktop pool.

A user is connected to a virtual desktop pool in the following way:

  1. A user initiates the connection to the virtual desktop pool by using RD Web Access or by using RemoteApp and Desktop Connection.

  2. The request is sent to the RD Session Host server running in redirection mode.

  3. The RD Session Host server running in redirection mode redirects the request to the RD Connection Broker server.

  4. The RD Connection Broker server checks to see if an existing session exists for the requesting user account. If a session already exists, proceed to step 6. If the session does not exist, proceed to step 5.

  5. The RD Connection Broker server sends a request to the RD Virtualization Host server to locate and start the virtual machine.

  6. The RD Connection Broker server returns the virtual machine name to the RD Session Host server running in redirection mode.

  7. The RD Session Host server running in redirection mode redirects the request to the client computer that initiated the connection.

  8. The client computer connects to the virtual desktop pool.

Scenario: Deploying virtual desktop pools by using RD Web Access in a test environment

We recommend that you first use the steps provided in this guide in a test lab environment. Step-by-step guides are not necessarily meant to be used to deploy Windows Server features without additional deployment documentation and should be used with discretion as a stand-alone document.

Upon completion of this step-by-step guide, you will have a virtual desktop pool that users can connect to by using RD Web Access. You can then test and verify this functionality by connecting to the virtual desktop pool from RD Web Access as a standard user.

The test environment described in this guide includes eight computers connected to a private network using the following operating systems, applications, and services:

Computer name Operating system Applications and services


Windows Server 2008 R2

Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS), DNS


Windows Server 2008 R2

RD Session Host


Windows 7

Remote Desktop Connection


Windows Server 2008 R2

RD Virtualization Host, Hyper-V


Windows Server 2008 R2

RD Connection Broker


Windows Server 2008 R2

RD Web Access



Windows 7

Virtual machines


The computers form a private network and are connected through a common hub or Layer 2 switch. This step-by-step exercise uses private addresses throughout the test lab configuration. The private network ID is used for the network. The domain controller is named CONTOSO-DC for the domain named The following figure shows the configuration of the test environment.