Deployment Details for the Lync VDI Plug-in

Abstract: It can be difficult to work with Microsoft Lync Server 2013 VDI-Plug-in. In this post we describe how to avoid some possible issues in a Virtual Desktop scenario with the deployment of the Lync VDI-Plugin.


Many Customers are using or planning to use Lync Workloads in their Virtualization Strategy with Thin Clients or “Bring your own device”(BYOD) scenarios. Installing the Microsoft Lync VDI-Plug-in is a new option that became available with Lync Server 2013. With Lync Server 2010, the support for Virtual Clients included only a limited set of features. For example, audio was only supported natively with a paired Desk phone by using USB redirection.

Information about supported virtualization scenarios with Lync Client 2010 is available at

This article can help you to avoid some of the issues you might encounter with this type of installation. The following are some pain points that this document addresses:

  • Bittiness mismatch
    • Lync VDI-Plugin has to match the bittiness of the Client operation system.
    • Lync VDI-Plugin has to match the Office 2013 (32/64 Bit Version on the Client (if installed) Example. Fat-Client
  • Lync Autodiscover DNS Entries has not deployed correctly:
  • Certificate chain is missing on local computer
  • DNS resolution of necessary entries are not possible from local machine
  • Lync Client is installed and started on local machine
  • Other Remote Desktop sessions are running 

The high-level points covered in this article are the following:

  • Getting Started
  • Creating a Client-Policy for VDI Users
  • Deploying Lync VDI Plugin and prerequisites
  • Prerequisites on the VDI Computer
  • Lync Environment requirements
  • Third-Party announcements about Lync VDI Plugin 

Getting Started

This section covers some general information and recommendations about Lync VDI-Plug-in.

Why do I need the Lync VDI-Plugin?

The Lync 2013 client enables customers with the Lync VDI-Plugin to use audio and video in their Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) by using local attached headsets or a cameras.

Which components are needed for this server role to work?

The following components are necessary:

  • User has to be homed on Lync Server 2013 Pool
  • User needs to applied a Lync client policy which has enabled Media Redirection
  • User need to use Lync 2013 Client on his Virtual Desktop
  • Lync VDI Plug-in on the local computer/Thin Client
  • RDP 8 Update on Windows 7 SP1 or Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1:

 The Lync VDI-Plug-in runs local on the Thin Client or Fat-Client and pairs with the Lync 2013 Client in the Virtual machine. The following diagram shows the signaling and Media flows with Lync 2013 and the Lync VDI Plug-in.


Figure 1. High-level architectural diagram of Lync 2013 Workloads using VDI Plug-in

As you see in the diagram the signaling for “peer-to-peer” and also the A/V media stream goes directly from and to the VDI-Plug-in and only IM/P and Desktop sharing goes to the Virtual Desktop. In Conferencing scenarios the A/V media stream flows from the Lync VDI Plug-in and goes directly to Web Conferencing Service WITHOUT going through the Virtual Desktop.

Please see the Lync VDI Plug-in Prerequisites on the TechNet Library for more information.

The following are requirements for the virtual machines running on the data center computer:

  • Virtual machines must be configured with Windows 8, Windows 7, or Windows Server 2008 R2 with the latest service packs.

 The following are requirements for the user and the user’s local computer:

  • The user must be homed on Lync Server 2013.
  • The local computer must be running Windows Embedded Standard 7 with SP1, Windows 7 with SP1, or Windows 8.
  • If you are using Remote Desktop Services, the Lync VDI plug-in bitness (that is, whether the application is 32-bit or 64-bit) must match the local computer’s operating system bitness. The bitness of the operating system on the local computer and the operating system on the virtual machine do not need to match. If you are using another virtualization solution or platform, refer to guidance from your virtualization solution provider about bitness requirements.
  • The local computer must be running the latest version of the remote desktop client. Install the latest updates of Remote Desktop Services client from Microsoft or the latest remote desktop client software from your virtualization solution provider. For the latest Remote Desktop Services updates, see
  • On the local computer, the remote desktop client settings must be configured so that audio plays on the local computer and remote recording is disabled. To configure these settings for Remote Desktop Connection in Windows, see the next section, "To configure Remote Desktop Connection settings."

Tested Thin Clients

From Tareks Post:

From a hardware perspective, Microsoft currently has been tested Lync 2013 over VDI using a multitude of thin client devices, including three models from Dell Wyse (Z90D7, R90L7 and X90m7) and two models from HP (t610 and t5740e). As part of the Lync VDI Partner TAP, thin client OEM partners can perform their own thin client testing and support additional devices based on their results.

Creating Lync Client Policy for VDI User

To enable the user for using the Lync VDI Plug-in we need to modify or create the Lync Client Policy for the potential VDI Users. This can be done very easily with the Lync PowerShell Module:

Example cmdlet to set a new Lync VDI Policy:

New-CsClientPolicy -Identity VDI -EnableMediaRedirection $true


For a detailed description of available Client Policy Settings and parameters, see Set-CsClientPolicy in the TechNet Library.

After you create the new policy you can grant it to the user(s) as shown in the following cmdlet example:

Grant-CsClientPolicy -Identity -PolicyName VDI


That’s all you have to do on the Lync Server Side.

Note: If you are using non-persistent Virtual Desktops it makes sense to change the setting for the Lync address book to WebSearchOnly, otherwise the VDI Client will download a copy of the address book each time, which can be annoying for users if they are not able to search immediately after logging in. You can set this with the following cmdlet example:

Set-CsClientPolicy -Identity vdi -AddressBookAvailability WebSearchOnly


Deploying Lync VDI Plug-in on the Client

There are some prerequisites for using the VDI plug-in on the Virtual Desktop and local computer. If the local computer is running Windows 8, skip this step.

If the local computer is running Windows 7 with SP1, install the latest Windows 8 version of the Remote Desktop Services client, available at and follow the important instruction from KB268032 to enable RDP 8.0 on Windows 7 SP1 machines.

To install the RDP 8.0 update, you must have the hotfix 2574819 installed. The hotfix is installed with Windows Update. To manually install it, see:

To verify that RDP 8.0 is enabled

To verify that RDP 8.0 is enabled on a remote computer that is running Windows 7 SP1, connect to the computer from a computer that is running Windows 8 or that is running Windows 7 SP1 by using Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) 8.0. After you connect to the computer, follow these steps to verify that RDP 8.0 is enabled:

  1. If RDP 8.0 is enabled, the connection quality button will be displayed in the connection bar.
  2. Click the connection quality button to open an information dialog box that resembles the following.



The presence of the connection quality button and of the connection quality dialog box confirms the availability of RDP 8.0 for the remote connection.

Download and Install the Lync VDI Plug-in

Microsoft Lync VDI 2013 plugin (32 bit):

Microsoft Lync VDI 2013 plugin (64 bit): 

Supported Operating Systems:

Windows 7 Service Pack 1, Windows 8, Windows Embedded Standard 7

Minimum drive space required for installation:

  • 32 bit: ~700 MB
  • 64 bit: ~900 MB

Some of the thin clients that meet this set of requirements are: Dell Wyse Z90D7, Dell Wyse R90L7, Dell Wyse X90m7, HP t610 and HP t5740e. The Lync VDI plugin is supported by Microsoft on these devices.

You should install the same bit version of the plug-in as the version of Windows on which you are installing the plug-in. If you run 64-bit Windows use the 64-bit installer, and for 32-bit Windows use the 32-bit installer, or your Lync client will not successfully load the plug-in.

Another known installation failure occurs when trying to install the plug-in on a computer where Office 2013 (or only Lync 2013) is already installed in 32-bit mode on a 64-bit Windows version. In this case, you will need to uninstall Office and then install the version that matches your version of Windows. This happens because Lync Client 2013 and also the Lync VDI Plug-in are included with Office 2013. When tis error occurs, you will see the following Setup Error dialog:



Install the Lync 2013 Client on you Virtual Desktop

We recommend that you always use the latest version of the applications available, including Lync client, the VDI Plug-in, and Virtual Desktop.

When you install the Lync 2013 client, the following happens:

  1. User starts Lync 2013 Client on the Virtual Desktop
  2. Lync detects that the VDI Plug-in is available
  3. Lync prompts the user to re-enter his or her credentials for pairing, as shown in the following image (this is not necessary if the local computer is domain joined):

  4. Lync begins to pair with the local computer

  5. After pairing is successful the icon change to green

  6. Now you can use the available devices on your local computer and can place calls as usual.


I hope that the information in this article about deployment and configuring of Lync Client 2013 in a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), with the Lync VDI Plug-in is helpful for you and simplify your deployment. 

Additional Information

To learn more, check out the following articles:


Comments (18)
  1. Gilbo Baggins says:

    I am wondering if there is any plans for supporting the Lync VDI plug-in on Windows 8RT Surface devices? As it stands the only supported Citrix Receiver client is the "Metro" flavour one. When trying to install the VDI Plug-in it bombs out with an error.
    Please advise the supported road map (if any)?

  2. Raquel says:

    I am using a machine on the domain, however I am still receiving the prompt for my credentials. How do I deactivate this?

  3. ML49448 says:

    Hello – are there any plans to avoid the thin client having to talk directly to Lync pool infrastructure? This is a real problem for when thin clients are used by offshore partners that sit behind a firewall, who go through authentication to access their
    virtual machines. We’d need to open up un-authenticated traffic from the thin client all the way through the network to the Lync servers.

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