A couple of weeks back, a fellow colleague needed to install the Horizon View Agent on a Microsoft Windows Domain Controller to be able to take advantage of the Direct Connect feature to efficiently connect into a lab environment. In general, this is not a recommended practice. In fact, by default the Horizon View Agent includes several pre-checks, one of which that prevents the installation if it detects the underlining system is a Domain Controller.

In this particular scenario, the Domain Controller was not being used for a real production environment but rather as part of a vPod that is hosted in a Hands-On-Lab type of environment. I could also see another use case where this might occur in personal home labs where you might consolidate several types of roles on a single Windows system and wish to be able to use the Direct Connect feature of the Horizon View Client.

The individual had searched extensively online but all the suggested command-line flags were not applicable to the Horizon View Agent. After pinging me for ideas, I reached out to a few of our End-User Computing folks and thanks to them, we found a neat little work around by tweaking the MSI installer.

Disclaimer: This is not officially supported by VMware, please use at your own risk. There are no guarantees that the behavior described here will continue to function going forward and it can change without notice.

Step 1 - Download and install the Microsoft Windows SDK for Windows 7.

Step 2 - Install the orca.exe (Windows database editor tool) which is bundled within the Windows SDK and can be found under C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v7.0\Bin

Step 3 - Download the version of the Horizon View Agent that you need from the VMware website.

Step 4 - Extract the contents of the Horizon View Agent by opening a command prompt and running the following command:

VMware-viewagent-x86_64-7.0.3-4717913.exe /x

To locate the extracted content, you will need to go to %LOCALAPPDATA%\temp and then find a directory that looks something like {UUID}~setup as shown in the screenshot below. Within that directory, you should see various vcredist files and the Horizon View Agent MSI.


Step 5 - Install the applicable vcredist file for your platform which may include other Windows update MSU files before proceeding to the next step.

Step 6 - Open the VMware Horizon Agent MSI using Orca and then locate the LaunchCondition tables on the left hand side of the application. From there, locate the "Installed Or Not (MsiNTPProductType=2) condition on the right and then delete that row. Save the changes and you are now done editing the MSI


Step 7 - Lastly, to install the modified Horizon View Agent, launch the MSI using the following command:

msiexec /i [HORIZON-VIEW-AGENT-MSI] [OTHER-CLI-OPTIONS] /l*v install.log

So, there you have it, Horizon View Agent running on a Domain Controller!

Thanks for the comment!