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How to create VMware view application shortcuts within the virtual desktop

VMware Horizon 6 and later supports app-remoting based on Microsoft RDS. RDS-hosted applications can be published and managed through the VMware Horizon View administrator.  This article covers the creation of shortcuts to RDS-hosted applications in the start menu of the virtual desktop. It assumes that an RDS infrastructure is in place, RDS-hosted applications are available and users are entitled to those applications. Below is screenshot of the VMware Horizon client with virtual desktops and an RDS-hosted application, available to the end-user.

VMware view application

While it is easy to provide applications to end-users via the VMware Horizon client or Workspace portal, this might not be the preferred method for the end-user. When the user is working in his/her virtual desktop and needs access to the RDS-hosted application, he/she has to minimize the virtual desktop and click on the application icon in the VMware Horizon client.

It would be nice that the user can access the application from within his desktop through the start menu or via a desktop shortcut, just like a native installed application. There are several ways to achieve this. One method is starting the VMware Horizon client with parameters:

C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Horizon View Client\vmware-view.exe -appName “application display name” -serverURL vdi.company.com -desktopLayout windowLarge -desktopProtocol PCOIP -logInAsCurrentUser true -hideClientAfterLaunchSession true

While this works for 1 application, certain issues arise when starting multiple applications. When starting the second application, the first connection is disconnected (with the message “the connection is closed, due to a new connection request”). The first application disappears for a few seconds and appears back when the second is available. I have found that the best way to achieve this is the following:

1) Install the VMware Horizon client in the virtual desktop (make sure SSO is installed

2) Create a GPO to provide SSO to the application and to avoid the user has to provide his/her credentials again.

To do this, add the VMware ADM template “VDM_client”

VMware view application

Enable “Default value of the ‘Log in as current user’ checkbox’” under “Classic Administrative Templates\VMware View Client Configuration\Security Settings”

VMware view application

3) Make note of the Distinguised Name of the RDS-H application

Connect to the adam database on the connection server. Info on how to do this can be found here. Windows Server 2012 is not mentioned, but follow the same steps as Windows Server 2008


In my case I want to make a shortcut for the Kofax_Express RDS-Application

4) Create a shortcut in the start menu (i.e. using VMware UEM)

My preferred way to do this is using VMware UEM, but of course this can also be done using GPO preferences or other tools such as Appsense. Open the UEM console and click on User environment

Right click on shortcuts and select “Create Shortcut”

The most important field is the target field. Prepend “vmware-view://vdi.company.com/” to the Distinguished Name you retrieved before.

The target field should look like this:


(Replace vdi.company.com with the name of the connection server or DNS CNAME you are using to connect to the virtual desktop infrastructure)

If you want you can add the icon path to the application icon on a network share. Destination can be Desktop, Quick Launch Bar or in the Programs folder.

Save the shortcut configuration

When we log in into the virtual desktop, we see that the Kofax application is added to the start menu.

Clicking on it, opens the VMware Horizon client to connect to the RDS-hosted application. Starting a second RDS-hosted application is immediate, without disconnecting the first application and then reconnecting to it again.

VMware view application