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Learn how to use VMware OS Optimization Tool

OSOT optimizes the Windows OS performance, increasing the efficacy of both VDI and physical desktops. You can also use it for remote analysis and template creation.

VMware OS Optimization Tool is a free utility that you can use for VMware VDI desktops, server VMs, and physical PCs and servers. As the name implies, it enables you to optimize Windows OS to your specifications. This utility works best for virtual environments running VMware technology.

You should use this tool on a test environment first -- as you should with all VMware Flings. Do long tests before optimizing production servers or VMs, and be careful of optimization options that might interfere with functions you hope to use.

What is VMware OS Optimization Tool?

Whether you have a physical server, PC or VM, you can use VMware OS Optimization Tool (OSOT) to make your system run smoother and faster. Activate or deactivate system services and Group Policy Objects (GPO) or apply registry settings to optimize the system's OS. Manage what you wish to activate and deactivate via a system of templates that enable you to revert and avoid accidental misconfiguration.

OSOT is one of VMware's Flings, which are small system tools VMware engineers and the VMware community have created. VMware designed these tools for admins to explore in a test environment to see whether, after a validation, they want to integrate them into a future release of a VMware product.

VMware OS Optimization Tool
OS Optimization Tool is part of the VMware Flings series of small system tools that VMware engineers and community have created.

VMware OS Optimization Tool features

Optimize system. This tool enables you to optimize a system based on a template. You can tweak a variety of options and variables in registry, services or GPOs for each OS.

Templates. You can create your own templates for your data center and share those customized templates with the community. You can also download or comment on templates shared by others.

Generalize option. The "generalize" option is similar to Microsoft Sysprep software. With it, you can remove any computer-specific information when you save an image of your system. This is particularly useful for creating VDI environments, which require a clean template.

Remote analysis. The software can analyze a remote server or workstation. To ensure network security, you must have your network credentials to do remote analysis.

Remote analysis
To perform remote analysis, you must have network credentials, including host name, username, domain name and password.

You can use OSOT to optimize the following Windows systems:

  • Windows 7
  • Windows 8/8.1
  • Windows Server 2008 (and R2)
  • Windows Server 2012 (and R2)
  • Windows 10
  • Windows Server 2016
  • Windows Server 2019

What are the common use cases for OSOT?

Virtual desktop infrastructure. VMware created OSOT to help optimize VDI environments -- specifically, ones that require your desktop VMs to be as fast as possible and use fewer resources. By applying an optimized template to your desktop VMs, you can start up virtual desktops much quicker than if the systems weren't optimized.

Virtual servers. You can apply OSOT to Windows servers so their VMs use fewer resources and perform better. This approach enables you to run more VMs on the same hardware resources.

Physical systems. You can also use OSOT on physical computers, such as workstations or laptops. This lets you optimize your entire infrastructure with the same tool to obtain good performance and security results.

How to optimize a system

When you first start the software, click the Analyze button. Once the tool finishes its analysis, the software chooses a template for your system, but double-check that it's the one you want to use. Once you review everything, you can decide whether you want to enable or disable specific features.

Then click the Optimize button, which begins the system optimization by tweaking registry and service configurations.

Optimize with OSOT
Optimize your system according to the selected template.

OSOT optimizes your OS based on your template and modifications. When finished, it provides a report on what it has done and any errors encountered. You can export this report as an HTML file.

OSOT optimization report
OSOT provides a report detailing which optimizations it applied to your OS.

If you must optimize your OS for VMware Horizon or another VDI product, go to the Finalize tab and run the Finalize function. This cleans the system before shutting it down so you can use it as a template for cloning the desktop VMs running in your VDI.

Finalize for VMware Horizon
The Finalize function cleans your optimized OS so you can use it as a template in the future.

If you want to revert the changes to your system, go to the History tab, chose which date you want to go back to and then hit the Rollback button.

Rollback function in History tab
You can revert your OS back to the state it was in on a specific date using the Rollback function.

The system then cancels all changes that have been made since that date and reverts your OS back to its original state.

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