Configuring Persistent and Non-Persistent Desktops
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An important aspect of any Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) environment is ensuring you are able to manage the environment and apps in an efficient manner.  This includes managing printers and policies and being able to troubleshoot issues quickly. This in turn gives a much smoother experience to end-users. AVD allows integration with both on-premises and cloud-native services, which allows you to: 

  • Deploy group policies and cloud-managed policies to manage user settings
  • Deploy printers via Azure
  • Configure environment properties
  • Troubleshoot issues

Ensuring settings within the environment are configured correctly is an important factor in giving the end-user a good experience when they are using Azure Virtual Desktop. This course will help you to configure end-user experience settings and allow you to streamline your Azure Virtual Desktop experience.  

Learning Objectives

  • Configure Universal Print
  • Configure user settings through Group Policies and Endpoint Manager policies
  • Configure persistent and non-persistent desktop environments
  • Configure Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) properties on a host pool
  • Configure session timeout properties
  • Troubleshoot user profile issues
  • Troubleshoot Azure Virtual Desktop clients

Intended Audience

This course is intended for people who:

  • Want to become an Azure Virtual Desktop Specialist
  • Are preparing to take the AZ-140 exam


If you wish to get the most out of this course, you should have a good understanding of Azure administration, but this is not essential.


Welcome to this module on configuring persistent and non-persistent desktop environments.  We will cover the following topics:

  • Configuring persistent desktop environments including a walkthrough demo
  • Configuring non-persistent desktop environments including a walkthrough demo

Let’s first look at configuring persistent environments.  The definition of a persistent VDI environment is when the user has the same experience each time they login.  This means they can access saved files and any specific customizations to the desktop are still intact every time they login, even after reboots.

There are two types of persistent environments available with Azure Virtual Desktop.  The first is pooled host pools where users share the resources on the session hosts.  We then have personal host pools which is a 1 to 1 ratio, so when the user logs in they are assigned the same session host with the same settings and files they saved the last time they logged in.  FSLogix profile containers are utilized to facilitate user profiles which helps give the users a more persistent experience.

Let’s now do a quick demo of how to provision a persistent desktop in Azure Virtual Desktop via the Azure Portal. Here we are in the Azure Portal in the AVD blade and to create a persistent environment we need to create a new host pool.  Let's click on Create under the host pool blade and enter all the required details such as subscription, resource group, host pool name, and location.

As mentioned earlier in this section we have two types of persistent environments, pooled and personal host pools.  If we click on pooled host pools we then need to set the load balancing algorithm.  We again have two options, breadth-first or depth-first.  Breadth-first is when all user connections are randomly sent to any available session host within the environment.  Depth-first is when all new connections are sent to a single session host until it hits a limit that you set, after which any new connections are sent to the next available session host.  Before we move on we set a connection limit and then move on to configuring the virtual machine settings for the host pool.

We enter all the required settings again like resource group, name prefix, location, availability zone, and Image.  You can then select the VM size you wish to have as part of the your deployment. Once all the settings have been specified and you have entered all the relevant credentials, we can move on to configuring the workspace, then the advanced settings and tags. Finally, you can create your persistent desktop environment. Now we understand configuring persistent environments, let’s move onto looking at configuring non-persistent environments.

Non-persistent environments within Azure Virtual desktop are based on ephemeral disk, which is like a temporary disk.  From a user experience perspective in a non-persistent environment, users essentially see a new desktop every time they log back in, they will not see any files that have been saved locally on the disk and any customizations that are made will also not be saved.  Non-persistent environments using Ephemeral disks are ideal for stateless applications which are tolerant of individual virtual machine failures. 

Let’s now do a quick demo of how to provision a non-persistent desktop in Azure by looking at how to provision an Ephemeral disk on an Azure VM. To configure our non-persistent desktop environment, we need to create the session hosts with Ephemeral disks.  In this demo, I will walk through how to configure one with an Azure virtual machine.  Here we are in the Azure portal in the virtual machine blade.  We want to create an Azure virtual machine.  We then need to configure all the standard basic settings, including subscription, resource group, VM name, region, and image.

Now we need to ensure we select VM size that is supported as not all sizes support Ephemeral disks.  You need to ensure you select one with a large enough Temp disk cache.  Once all the basic settings are configured, we then move onto the Disks tab.  If you navigate to the bottom of the page under ‘Advanced’ you have the option for the Ephemeral disk which by default is set to none.  We can either select OS cache placement or Temp disk placement depending on what our requirement is.  We can then move onto the complete the rest of the VM configuration, including Networking, Management, Advanced, and Tags before finally creating the VM.

About the Author

Shabaz Darr is a Senior Infrastructure Specialist at Netcompany based in the UK. He has 15 years plus experience working in the IT industry, 7 of those he has spent working with Microsoft Cloud Technologies in general, with a focus on MEM and IaaS. Shabaz is a Microsoft MVP in Enterprise Mobility with certifications in Azure Administration and Azure Virtual Desktop. During his time working with Microsoft Cloud, Shabaz has helped multiple public and private sector clients in the UK with designing and implementing secure Azure Virtual Desktop environments.