Google Chromebook is the perfect platform to use when you want quick access to a Windows application through a Horizon View virtual desktop. With Horizon View 5.3 Feature Pack 1, users can access their Horizon View desktops from an HTML-5-compliant browser, including the Google Chrome browser. Horizon View 5.3 HTML Access includes improved video playback performance, text copy and paste, and audio from the desktop.
Using web access naturally imposes some limits to a full desktop experience. But using other tools from Google can fill the gaps, enabling a smooth workflow.
Here are some tips for administrators to set up the best Horizon View experience for users on a Chromebook platform. For nonpersistent desktops, you will want to make these changes on the virtual machine template. For users with persistent desktops, you can make the changes for the users with Chromebooks, or have users make the changes themselves.
- Choose Chromebooks with X86 chips; you’ll get better performance than with ARM chip systems.
- Turn off Aero Vista on the Windows 7 virtual machine. Following is a screenshot of the Windows 7 Control Panel where you can choose a non-Aero theme.
- Enable copy and paste through the Horizon View Administrator console if your corporate policy allows copying between the virtual machine and the Chromebook desktop. After copy and paste is enabled, the user selects Get Copied Text and then Paste Text from the drop-down menu in the upper right corner of the virtual desktop.
- Set up Google Drive: The admin or users themselves can mount Google Drive on persistent virtual desktops as an easy way to store files and to move files between the virtual desktop and the Chromebook. On nonpersistent desktops, the admin can bookmark the Google Drive web page in the browser in the virtual desktop template.
- Set up a Google printer in your office and enable it on virtual machine desktops by installing the Google Cloud Printer for Windows add-on.
- Recommend that users switch into Full Screen when using their Horizon View desktops; users lucky enough to have a Pixel Chromebook should try High Res. These settings are available from the drop-down menu in the upper right corner of the virtual desktop.
- Set up the Chromebook Management Console, which will enable you to manage Chromebooks at scale, including adding browser shortcuts to Horizon View desktops. Users can also add their own shortcuts. Soon, Google will be adding support for dragging and dropping web pages to the Chrome app launcher, making it easier to add a shortcut for HTML Access to a Horizon View virtual desktop.
- If your users need to access an application that runs only on a Windows OS version that is different from the OS version of their virtual desktop, try creating a compatible version with VMware ThinApp.
- Refer to Google’s detailed deployment guides for Chromebooks for more Chromebook management tips.
A Google Chromebook isn’t a replacement for a thin client; users who will be using their Horizon View desktop all day would be better off running a full Horizon View Client. But a Chromebook and HTML Access is a winning combination for quick access to a Horizon View desktop via a browser. With a few optimizations, administrators can ensure smooth sailing for their Chromebook users.
To hear more about plans from VMware and Google, watch the upcoming webcast, VMware & Google Modernize Corporate Desktops for the Mobile Cloud Era. It will air Thursday March 13, 2014, at 2:00 p.m. EST.
By Kristina De Nike, Senior Product Manager, VMware