I am trying to build a new virtual desktop Pool in VMWare Horizon View 5 with Windows 8.1 clients. At the Moment, i am optimizing the image for best performance, including using an optimization script from Microsoft Technet. In this script there is a part where the visual effects in windows (Aero Peek...) are disabled by changeing registry keys. The problem is, these keys are placed unter "HK_Current_user", so if the script is, as proposed, run as part of the deployment, these changes do not affect new user accounts.

Now i've searched for two days to find a way to disable these visual effects for all new users - with these effects enabled, the VDI is extremely slow.

I found several pages that propose to change or create different registry entries, some under local_machines, for some i had to import the NTUSER.dat of the default user.

The Problem with all of these solution: they don't work. Maybe it is because they need another reboot to take effect. But our virtual desktops are reset after a user logged out.


I have VMWare Horizon View, i want to optimize an image for a new virtual Windows 8.1 Desktop, and i want to disable all the visual effects (Aero Peek...) for all new user profiles - because everytime a user is logged of, the virtual desktop is recreated, so a new user will get an unused, newly created machine.

Does anyone know a way to do this by Powershell, batch-file, GPO... But without the (not working) registry keys? Or does anyone know a way to do this with registry changes, even if the user can only log in one time - so without reboot, re-login?

EDIT: I now tried to create a whole new user profile with this manual. All steps work, but when i create a new user account, the visual effects are not disabled... is it possible that Microsoft has no way to set the default visual effects?

EDIT2: New crazy behavior: when a new user is created, the the settings in the GUI are sometimes very different. I am working with my clean installation now, befor i started to change reg keys, and now in the GUI the settings are set for best performance - but they are not realy set for best performance: all the features are still enabled, even if the GUI is telling something different. You have to change the settings, re-set it to Best performance, and then the features are realy disabled.

  • Why not just set the registry keys via group policy? – Rex Jul 28 '15 at 14:28
  • Setting the key in the HKLM or for the default User does not work - maybee i am missing the right settings. Editing the key for HKCU with user configuration gpo does not work in our envirement, because they need a reboot to take affect. the virtual desktops are used by our students, they log in once, and after they log out, the machine is reset to its previous state. They do not have the possibility to reboot or relogin. – Tobias Jul 29 '15 at 4:46
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Finaly, after days of testing, changeing registry keys, reseting snapshot... i might have found the solution, at least now it works in my enviroment:

I hat to set HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VisualEffects\VisualFXSetting to 00000003 (which means custom settings), and then i could change the "DefaultValue"-Entry in the different sub folders of HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VisualEffects\VisualFXSetting, 0 for disabled, 1 for enabled. The crazy thing is, every other registry change i tried seemed to prevent this one from working. It only worked when i just changed this setting, and no other!

I'm glad i could do this on a VM with snapshots, otherwise i would still searching...

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