Overview of Desktop Images

Overview of Desktop Images

This article contains the following sections:

Overview

The Desktop Images module allows you to manage desktop images in your Nerdio Manager customer accounts. You can view a list of desktop images and perform critical operations such as Power on, Power off & set as image, Restart, and Delete images. In addition, you can Add from Azure VM or Add images from Azure library.

  • To view the desktop images, at the Account level, navigate to Desktop Images.

  • The action menu allows you to perform a number of important tasks.

  • The green icon indicates the desktop image is powered on.

  • The red icon indicates the desktop image is powered off.

Power On a Desktop Image

Nerdio Manager allows you to power on a desktop image.

To power on a desktop image:

  1. At the Account level, navigate to Desktop Images.

  2. Locate the desktop image you wish to work with.

    Note: A red icon indicates the global image is powered off.

  3. Select Power on.

  4. On the confirmation pop-up, enter the following:

    • Run the following scripted actions: Toggle this option On and select the scripted action(s) to run when the desktop image powers on.

    • Applications Management: Toggle this option On and select the applications to manage when the desktop image powers on.

      Note: Installations run on the clone of the desktop image before it is Syspreped. These applications do not run on the image VM itself.

    • Schedule: Toggle this option On and select the power on schedule.

    • Schedule power off Optionally, select this option and type the number of hours to wait before automatically powering off.

  5. Once you have entered all the desired information, select OK.

Add an Image from an Existing VM

Existing Azure managed images in a private library or Azure Compute Gallery can be imported as a Nerdio Manager desktop image.

Note: Nerdio Manager doesn't allow you to create desktop images that are joined to Entra ID.

To import an Azure managed image as a desktop image:

  1. In the Azure portal, use the source Azure managed image to create a new VM.

    Note: This is a temporary VM and should be deleted after the import process. It does not matter what you call it or what network it is connected to.

  2. Power off the VM.

  3. Navigate to Settings > Disks.

  4. Select the OS disk and then select Disk Export.

  5. Select Generate URL.

    The URL is generated.

  6. Copy the generated URL to the clipboard.

  7. In Nerdio Manager, at the Account level, navigate to Desktop Images.

  8. Select Add from Azure VM.

    Note: For several of the required parameters, you may filter the available choices by using the Resource Selection Rules. For example, you may filter the VM Size or OS Disk choices for Intel RAM-optimized VMs only. See Resource Selection Rules Management for details.

  9. Enter the following information:

    • Name: Type the desktop image's name.
    • Description: Type the description.

    • SAS URL: Paste the URL from the clipboard.
    • Network: From the drop-down list, select the network to which the VM connects.

      Note: The VM is created in the Azure region associated with the network.

    • OS:  From the drop-down list, select the desired operating system.

    • VM Size: From the drop-down list, select the size.

    • OS Disk: From the drop-down list, select the disk.

    • Resource Group: From the drop-down list, select the resource group to contain the network interface cards of the VM.

    • Create image VM as Gen2: Select this option to create the VM as Gen2.

      Note: By default, desktop image VMs are created as Gen1. See this Microsoft document to learn more about the differences between Gen1 and Gen2 VMs.

      • Use Trusted Launch: Select this option to use trusted launch.

        Note: Azure offers trusted launch as a seamless way to improve the security of Gen2 VMs. Trusted launch protects against advanced and persistent attack techniques. Trusted launch is composed of several, coordinated infrastructure technologies that can be enabled independently. Each technology provides another layer of defense against sophisticated threats. See this Microsoft document to learn more about trusted launch.

        The following criteria must be met in order to select trusted launch:

        • The selected OS must be Gen2.

        • The Create image VM as Gen2 option must be selected.

        • An Azure Compute Gallery must be selected.

    • Join to AD: Unselect this option and provide the local admin credentials to be created on the imported VM.

    • Enable for Cloud PCs: Select this option to make this image available in the Cloud PC service.

      Note: The image is uploaded and tested for compatibility with Cloud PC. This process can take a long time. There is a limit of 20 images that can be uploaded.

    • Do not create image object: Select this option to only create a desktop image VM but not create an image object.

      Note: You need to create the image object. Select Power off and set as image after the VM is created before this desktop image can be used for session host creation. If you skip image creation, you can make changes to the VM before it is converted to an image.

    • Enable time zone redirection: Select this option to enable time zone redirection on the image. This allows each user to see their local device's time zone inside of their AVD desktop session.
    • Set time zone: Select this option to set the time zone of the VM and then, from the drop-down list, select the time zone.

    • Uninstall FSLogix app: Select this option if the FSLogix app is already installed in the base image and you want to remove it in order to allow Nerdio Manager to manage FSLogix.

    • Uninstall AVD agent: Select this option if you are creating an image from an existing AVD session host where the AVD agent has been previously installed.

    • Install certificates: Select this option to install all the stored certificates on the VM, if applicable.

    • Validate image: Select this option to apply the image to the virtual machine, gather boot diagnostics, and verify the virtual machine successfully boots before creating a Managed Image or publishing to Azure Compute Gallery.

    • Use Boot Diagnostics Insights: Select the this option to perform boot diagnostics. See Overview of Boot Diagnostic Insights for details.

    • Provide custom credentials for a local administrator user: Toggle this option on to enter the username and password.
    • Geographic distribution and Azure compute gallery: Toggle this option on to store the image in the Azure Compute Gallery and automatically distribute to the selected Azure region(s).

    • Run the following scripted actions: Toggle this option on to specify the scripts that run during creation.

      Notes:

      • Windows scripts are executed via the Azure Custom Script extension and run in the context of LocalSystem account on the clone of the desktop image VM before it is Sysprep'ed. These commands do not run on the image VM itself.

      • Azure runbooks are executed via the Azure automation account and run in the context of Nerdio Manager app service principal.

      • Several variables are passed to the script and can be used in the PowerShell commands.

    • Applications Management: Toggle this option On and select the applications to manage during creation.

      Note: Installations run on the clone of the desktop image before it is Syspreped. These applications do not run on the image VM itself.

  10. Once you have entered all the desired information, select OK.

    The desktop image import task starts. You can follow the task's progress in the Desktop Images Tasks section.

  11. Delete the temporary VM created above.

Add an Image from the Azure Library

Nerdio Manager allows you to import a desktop image from the Azure library.

To import a desktop image from the Azure library:

  1. At the Account level, navigate to Desktop Images.

  2. Select Add from Azure library.

  3. Enter the following information:

    • Azure Image: From the drop-down list, select the desired image.

      Note: Select the image based on the Windows OS supported by AVD. EVD = Enterprise Virtual Desktop (aka Windows 10 multi-session). Office Pro Plus contains a pre-installed Office 365 version of Pro Plus that is activated as users with appropriate licensing sign in to the desktop.

    • Enter the information for the other fields. See Add an Image from an Existing VM above for detailed information.
  4. Once you have entered all the desired information, select OK.

    The desktop image import task starts, which may take up to an hour to complete. You can follow the task's progress in the Desktop Images Tasks section.

Note: When desktop images are powered OFF, Nerdio Manager automatically changes the OS disk configuration to standard HDD, which is the most cost-effective storage option available. When they are powered back ON from the Nerdio Manager portal, the OS disk size is reverted back to its original configuration.

Explore Desktop Image Tasks

The Desktop Images Tasks section captures an audit trail of all operations performed on desktop images.

  • You can search the tasks based on name or resource name.

  • You can filter the tasks based on status.

  • Select the refresh icon to refresh the list.

  • Select the download icon to download the tasks in JSON format.

  • Select Hide to hide a specific task from the UI.

  • Select Restart to restart a task in error.

  • Select Details to view a task's details.

Stage a Desktop Image

Nerdio Manager provides an Image Staging feature that allows you to test newly created desktop images before they are used by session hosts.

To stage a desktop image:

  1. At the Account level, navigate to Desktop Images.

  2. Locate the desktop image you wish to work with.

  3. From the action menu, if the desktop image is powered off, select Set as image. If the desktop image is powered on, select Power off & set as image.

  4. Enter the following information:

    • Azure Compute Gallery: From the drop-down list, select the Azure Compute Gallery where to store the image.

    • Azure Regions: From the drop-down list, select the Azure Regions where the image should be replicated.

    • Storage Account Type: From the drop-down list, select the storage account type for the managed disk.

    • Stage new image as inactive Select this option to create the new image version without setting it as active.

      Note: Any existing configurations continue to use the current version of the image. See Activate a Staged Desktop Image for details about activating a staged image.

    • Run the following scripted actions: Toggle this option On to specify the scripts that run during creation.

      • Target VM: Select whether the scripted actions run on the Clone VM or the Source VM.

        Note: Applying scripted actions to the Source VM retains the changes during future image maintenance or staging.

    • Applications Management: Toggle this option On and select the applications to manage during creation.

    • Error Handling: Toggle this option On and configure the retry thresholds and cleanup options should the process fail.

      • Retry Threshold: Type the number of of attempts to retry the set as image task before failing.

      • Cleanup after failure: Select this option to shutdown and remove the resources created during the set as image process after the Retry Threshold has been met. In addition, type the number of hours to wait before the cleanup process begins.

    • Retain current image object: This option is automatically selected when you select Set new image as inactive.

      Note: This option creates a copy of the current image and retains it for a specified duration. This provides an option to restore the image and revert any changes, in case of any issues.

      • Versions to keep: Type the number of image versions to retain.

    • Install certificates: Select this option to install all stored certificates on the desktop image, if any.

    • Validate image: Select this option to apply the image to the virtual machine, gather boot diagnostics, and verify the virtual machine successfully boots before creating a Managed Image or publishing to Azure Compute Gallery.

    • Use Boot Diagnostics Insights: Select the this option to perform boot diagnostics. See Overview of Boot Diagnostic Insights for details.

    • Change log: Optionally, type the list of changes made to the desktop image.

    • Schedule: Toggle this option On and create the schedule when this task is run. Otherwise, the task is run immediately.

  5. Once you have entered the desired information, select OK.

    The set as image task starts. You can follow the task's progress in the Desktop Images Tasks section.

Activate a Staged Desktop Image

Nerdio Manager displays desktop images with a staged inactive versions. You can activate (deploy) a staged inactive version.

To activate a staged image:

  1. At the Account level, navigate to Desktop Images.

  2. Locate the desktop image you wish to work with.

  3. From the action menu, select Activate staged image.

  4. Select Save current image version as a backup.

  5. Select OK.

    Note: In the example shown above, the staged version (2.0.0) is now the active version. The older version (1.0.0) is no longer shown on the Desktop Images page.

Refresh Desktop Images from the Azure Marketplace

Nerdio Manager allows you to refresh desktop images from the Microsoft published and managed images in the Azure marketplace.

This automated image refresh operation ensures that you always have a pristine image from Microsoft with all the latest OS patches applied. The refreshed image is automatically deployed to all session hosts that use it.

To refresh a desktop image from the Azure Marketplace:

  1. At the Account level, navigate to Desktop Images.

  2. Locate the image you want to refresh.

  3. From the action menu, if the desktop image is powered off, select Set as image. If the desktop image is powered on, select Power off & set as image.

  4. In the Schedule section, enable the scheduling function.

  5. Enable Refresh image from Azure Marketplace.

  6. Enter the following information:

    • Marketplace Image: From the drop-down list, select an image.

    • Join to AD: Select this option and then from the drop-down list, select the AD.

      For example, you can select a Windows 10 (2004) EVD _ Office ProPlus -Gen2 (multi-session) image and join it to the nerdio.int (default) AD. You can schedule to refresh this image, weekly, starting 11/20/2021 at 12:00 every Saturday.

    • Enable time zone redirection: Optionally, select this option to allow each user to see their local device's time zone inside of their AVD desktop session.

    • Set time zone: Optionally, select this option to configure the desktop image's local time zone. Then from the drop-down list, select the desktop image's time zone.

  7. When you have entered all the desired information, select OK.

Run Scripts on a Desktop Image

Nerdio Manager allows you to run custom scripts on a desktop image. Scripted actions, which are PowerShell scripts, can be used to extend and customize the functionality of Nerdio Manager.

Nerdio Manager uses two types of scripted actions:

  • Windows scripts: They are executed via the Azure Custom Script extension.

  • Azure runbooks: They are executed via the Azure automation account and run in the context of app service principal.

To run scripts on a desktop image:

  1. At the Account level, navigate to Desktop Images.

  2. Locate the desktop image you wish to work with.

  3. From the action menu, select Run script.

  4. Enter the following information:

    • Windows scripts: From the drop-down list, select the desired Windows script(s).

    • Azure runbooks: From the drop-down list, select the Azure runbook(s) you wish to run.

      Note: You can drag and drop the Windows scripts and Azure runbooks to change the execution order.

    • Pass AD credentials: Optionally, select this option to pass your AD credentials to the script being executed.

    • Schedule: Toggle on the Schedule to perform the operations at a selected time.

  5. Once you have entered all the desired information, select OK.

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