Top 5 Performance Tuning Tips for Windows 10 in VDI
Many companies are considering an upgrade to Windows 10 in their virtualized desktop environment. Since we are always testing the latest versions of Windows in our own test labs, a lot of our customers ask us for performance tips and tricks and the best configuration. Due to the amount of differences and requirements in every unique VDI deployment our answer is usually “it depends”.
In our validation environment, for example, we are able to run 116 Win10 desktops on one server. After a lot of tuning we can get this up to approximately 148 user per server, but that doesn’t always mean that the user of that desktop would still be happy with the performance of his or her desktop.
In this blog I have put together some tips and tricks to increase the maximum capacity of Windows 10 in a VDI environment based on in our own labs. Always make sure to test these changes in your own environment before you implement them in production.
1: Windows store (Appx) applications
By default, Windows 10 includes a large number of universal applications such as OneNote, Bing and Windows add-ons, and App Connector. Typically these are the kind of apps and games that do not need to be offered to users in an enterprise environment, but how much performance can you actually gain by uninstalling them? Tests showed that removing these AppX applications resulted in a minimum of 5% increase in VSImax.
Disabling Appx applications in Windows 10 will increase your capacity by 5%
So how can you uninstall Windows Store applications? These 2 blogs are a good start.
- How to Uninstall Windows 10’s Built-in Apps (and how to reinstall them)
- Remove default Apps from Windows 10
2: Windows Defender
Windows Defender is a software product that detects and removes malware and also offers antivirus capabilities. This feature is enabled in Windows 10 by default, but in VDI environments antivirus is usually handled by specialized antivirus products. Using Windows Defender as an antivirus solution while you already have an antivirus solution in place can be a waste of your resources. Curious about the impact on your capacity? In the next tip, we will show you the combined VSImax improvement by disabling Windows Defender and Search in Windows 10.
So how can you disable Windows Defender? How-tos in these blogs:
3: Search and indexing service
Windows Search is also a very useful feature of Windows to enable users to easily search for their applications and documents. But it also requires Windows to index all of the files on the virtual machine which can result in an increased usage of the VM’s resources which causes it to slow down. This can have a big impact on your VSImax. Disabling search is always a matter of comparing the benefits for the end-user to the benefits of a faster Windows desktop, but when you decide to disable search and Windows Defender, you can increase your maximum capacity by 10%. This link explains how you can disable the Search and Indexing services: Turn off Windows 10 search indexing service.
By disabling Windows Search and Windows Defender you can increase your capacity by 10%
4: Microsoft Office
Ever since Microsoft released Microsoft Office 2013 we have been using Office as an example to why performance testing is crucial in every environment; not just when designing and building the environment but especially while in production. Office is one of those changes that most companies just seem to accept without thinking too much about performance while the data below clearly shows this might be something to consider. A 20% drop in user density is noticed when upgrading from Office 2010 to 2013. First tests with Office 2016 in our lab have already indicated that performance for that version will drop even further.
20% fewer users when you use Microsoft Office 2013
5: Watch Project VRC’s on-demand webinar about Windows 10 Performance
A couple of weeks ago, Project VRC released a very interesting white paper about Windows 10 with Login VSI test results. They also organized an exclusive webinar on November 18 about this topic. In case you are considering an upgrade to Windows 10 in your environment, I would strongly encourage you to watch the recording of this webinar. The information that Jeroen van de Kamp and Ruben Spruijt will share can help you with a successful Windows 10 implementation. You can watch the on-demand webinar in this blog.
Ready to upgrade to Windows 10?
I hope that the tips in this blog will give you some insights on how performance tuning Windows 10 affects the number of users per server. As I mentioned earlier in the blog, every environment is unique and a higher capacity doesn’t always mean that the end-user stays happy so make sure to test these tips and tricks in your own VDI environment before implementing them in production. Luckily there is a tool called Login VSI that makes it very easy to test these changes, feel free to download a trial today :-).
Update March 31, 2016:
We are proud to announce that we created our own tuning template for Windows 10 (based on VMware OS Optimization Tool) with many performance best practices and settings. The first version is now available for download (for free).