Installing and Configuring VMWare Horizon 7.x Step by Step Guide

VMWare Horizon Delivers Desktops and Applications through a Single Platform. It transforms static desktops into secure, digital workspaces that can be delivered on demand. In this blog will discuss detailed installation and configuration of VMWare Horizon.

Before we jump into pre-reqs and installation below will help you to understand the component names:

  • VMWare vCentervCenter Server allows you to automate and deliver a virtual infrastructure
  • VMWare ESXi VMware ESXi is a bare metal hypervisor that installs easily on to your server and partitions it into multiple virtual machines.
  • VMWare Horizon Connection Server – This software service acts as a broker for client connections.
  • VMWare Horizon Composer -Horizon View Composer is a feature in Horizon View that gives administrators the ability to manage pools of desktops that share a common virtual disk.
  • Horizon unified access gateway – Horizon deployments that need secure external access uses unified gateway
  • Horizon Agent – install Horizon Agent on virtual machines (VDI’s) so that Connection Server can communicate with them.
  • Horizon ClientVMware Horizon Clients for Windows, Mac, iOS, Linux, Chrome and Android allow you to connect to your VMware Horizon virtual desktop from your device of choice.

Pre-requisites for VMWare Horizon installation and configuration

Below are the detailed pre-requisites

  • vCenter 6.7/6.5 server with Cluster of ESXi hosts for VDI.
  • Create 2 Windows server 2019/2016 for Horizon Connection servers.
  • Create one windows 10 VM for Linked Clone VDI master image on vCenter server and place in a VM folder.
  • Create another windows 10 VM for instant Clone VDI master image on vCenter server and place in a VM folder.
  • Create 1 Windows server 2019/2016 for Horizon Composer server.
  • All machines renamed and joined to domain.
  • vCenter server reachable form Composer and connection servers ( fqdn of vCenter)
  • DHCP scope for Windows 10 VDI tested and working.
  • Service account to install Horizon Connection server and composer ( horizon_admin)
  • SQL sa account savmadmin to have access to Database for composer DN owner permissions.
  • Login credentials of vCenter server with admin access.
  • OU for VDI Creation and delegated permissions on domain to service account to create & Delete computer objects.

Installing and configuring Horizon Composer

Create SQL local sa account

Step 1: Login to SQL, Management Studio – Security – Logins – Add new login

Step 2: Create SQL local sa account as shown below. VMWare composer doesn’t support domain accounts only sql local accounts are supported. ( this has to be done manually on all sql servers in cluster).

Create SQL database

Step 3: Right click on databases – New Database

Step 4: Provide new database name and click on owner and select the sa account created earlier.

Set VM Options for Composer Server

Step 5: Shutdown the composer server VM and select Firmware as EFI and secure boot to disable as shown below. start vm after that.

Create SQL DB ODBC Connection

Step 6: Login to the composer windows server and Click on windows admin tools – ODBC 64 bit

Step 7: Run ODBC data sources 64 bit – system dsn – Click add

Step 8: Select SQL

Step 9: Provide a name and copy this DSN name in notepad, provide SQL server name and instance name if you are not using default instance.

Step 10 : select SQL logins – provide sql user name and password and click next

Step 11 : Select the database created earlier and click next

Step 12: Click finish

Step 13: select test

Step 14 : tests should be successful.

Installing Composer

Step 15: verify that you are logged in with valid domain service account.

Step 16: Right click and run the composer exe as admin as shown below.

Step 17: click next

Step 18 : accept the agreement and click next

Step 19 : click next

Step 20 : Domain accounts are not supported for SQL communication as shown below.

Step 21: provide the DSN name created earlier – sql sa account name and password – click next

Step 22 : click next

Step 23 : click install

Step 24 : click finish once installation is completed.

Step 25: click yes to reboot the vm.

Horizon Connection server

Now will start installing connection server and configure it.

VMWare Horizon Connection server installation

Step 26 :  Login to the connection server with service account – run the connection server exe as admin.

Step 27 : click next

Step 28: accept and click next

Step 29 : click next

Step 30 : On primary connection server select standard server , select HTML acess and ipv4.

Step 31 :next

Step 32 : provide the recovery password and next

Step 33: configure firewall and click next

Step 34 : provide the service account and the horizon admin groups

Step 35: un select and click next

Step 36 : click install

Step 37 : click finish after installation.

Installing second horizon connection server

Second server installation steps are very straight forward as primary except below two screens. Login to second server and run exe as admin – next

Step 38: On second connection server select Replica  server , select HTML acess and ipv4.

Step 39 : on second connection server provide the primary server fqdn and click next and finish.


Configuring Horizon 7

Step 40 : On the connection server – open browser  ( prefer IE or firefox not chrome) – https://ip/admin

Login with the service account or the admin account details given during installation. click html 5 and launch

Step 41 : provide the login details and check signin

Adding admin groups

Step 42: Click on settings – administrators – add users and group

Step 43: click add

Step 44 : provide admin users group name – find and select – ok

Step 45 : click next

Step 46: select the permissions required and click next

Step 47 : select root – finish

Step 48 : verify that its created.

Licensing Horizon

Step 49 : Click on settings – product licensing and usage – edit license and paste the license code.

Adding vCenter and connection server.

Step 50: Click on Settings – Servvers – vCenter Servers – Add

Step 51 : Provide Server address , user name and password.

Step 52 : accept the certificate

Step 53 : Accept

Step 54 : Click on Standalone composer and provide the composer derver details

Step 55:

Step 56 : Click view certificate

Step 57 : accept

Step 58 : Click on add and add the ad domain

Step 59: Provide domain name, user name and password.

Step 60: Add domain with service account as shown below.

Step 61 : next

Step 62: Submit

Step 63 : Review that vCenter is added.

Step 64 : Review that connection server is showing up

Creating Linked Clone Desktop Pool ( Composer)

Note that in Horizon we can create two types of pools. Linked clone which uses composer to provision VDI’s which saves the storage.

Instant clone need Horizon Enterprise licenses and uses only connection server, no composer required and its saves storage.

Horizon Agent installation on Windows 10

Windows 10 machine preparation:

  • Create a windows 10 master image.
  • Use DHCP not static ip
  • Join machine to domain
  • Install all required apps.

Step 65: Login to windows 10 machine , Install horizon agent as shown below – next

Step 66 : accept and click next

Step 67: Select IPV4 and click next

Step 68 : Make sure you select View Composer – next

Note: you cannot install both view composer and Instant clone part of the agent.

Step 69: Click on install

Step 70 : Click finish after install

Step 71 : reboot the VM.

Step 72 : Shutdown the VM after reboot and take snapshot.

Linked Clone Desktop Pool Creation

As master image is ready will create the linked clone desktop pool and add users

Step 73 : Click on inventory – Desktops – Add

Step 74 : select automated as we don’t want static assignment.

Step 75 : select View Composer linked Clones

Step 76 : Select Floating

Step 77 : Provide disposable files disk size.

Step 78 : Next

Step 79 : Provide Name and display name of VDI

Step 80 : Provide VDI naming convention vmw-vdi-{n:fixed=3}

Step 81 : select master image – snapshot , folder , resource pool and datastore details.

Step 82: next

Step 83 : Next

Step 84 : next

Step 85 : select the domain and the OU for creating VDI machines names.

Step 86 : click on entitle users and submit.

Step 87 : Click add

Step 88: provide user group to access these VDI’s and find

Step 89 : ok

Step 90 : Notice that VM’s are created in vCenter

Creating Instant Clone Desktop Pool

Instant clone need Horizon Enterprise licenses and uses only connection server, no composer required. This type of provisioning has its advantages and it takes more storage space.

Horizon Agent installation on Windows 10

Windows 10 machine preparation:

  • Create a windows 10 master image.
  • Use DHCP not static ip
  • Join machine to domain
  • Install all required apps.

Step 91 : Login to windows 10 machine , Install horizon agent by following defaults as above except for below step.

For instant clone – un select view composer and select instant clone.

Step 92 : Once installation is completed, reboot the VM – shutdown and take snapshot as below.

Add Instant clone domain

Step 93 : Add Instant clone domain – Click on settings – Instant clone domains – add

Step 94: Provide the details and click ok.

Creating instant clone pool

Step 95 : Click on desktops – add – Click on instant clone and next

Step 96 : floating
Step 97 : next

Step 98 : provide name and display name ( ID for admins and Display names for end users )

Step 99 : provide naming convention and next

Step 100 : Provide all details for Master image, snapshot and vCenter cluster details.

Step 101 : next

Step 102 : next

Step 103:  select domain and OU

Step 104 : click entitle and submit

Step 105 : Click add and add the users group.

Step 106 : Once completed – VM’s will show in vCenter as shown below.

Testing Horizon from Client

On the end user PC install Horizon client, reboot the machine

Step 107: Open Horizon agent on end user pc – click add server.

Step 108 : provide connection server url or LB URL.

Step 109 : provide login details

Step 110 : once logged in click on the VDI to launch


Hope this post is useful.

Siva Sankar

Siva Sankar works as Solution Architect in Abu Dhabi with primary focus on SDDC, Automation,Network Virtualization, Digital Workspace, VDI, HCI and Virtualization products from VMWare, Citrix and Microsoft.

8 thoughts on “Installing and Configuring VMWare Horizon 7.x Step by Step Guide

  • August 19, 2020 at 6:18 pm

    Going to use your doc to carryout VMWare Horizon View 8 install on Windows Server 2019 and vCenter Appliance using vSphere 7.

  • November 20, 2020 at 1:09 am

    Thank you very much for your great content. I was able to deploy the VMware Horizon in my home lab. I recommend adding a section for the Event DB. Also, getting SQL to work is a bit tricky.

  • December 15, 2020 at 7:52 pm

    Thanks for sharing this information

  • January 20, 2021 at 12:20 pm


    Any one know how to get “Horizon 7.11.0 View Composer” in can not find in Download Evaluation Product.

  • June 22, 2021 at 3:32 pm

    Can you please confirm – is this blog still valid. As what I read / what I know – now vmware horizon doesn’t have vmware composer or connection server. Is this updated and valid for the latest setup.


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