Can I set up a VDI with 1 server and many thin clients without setting up Active Directory with a domain controller?

I want to make the thin client setup as easy as possible, i.e. get any Windows PC to remote desktop into my VDI environment without changing the configuration on the thin client.

I am using Windows Server 2012, but I could opt for any operating system if you'd care to answer for another.

  • Are you asking if you can run the server without active directory, or if the clients who are connecting to the computer need to be members of the directory (but you don't care if the server is in AD or not)? May 16, 2013 at 14:42
  • I'm asking both really, but mostly interested in the latter question.
    – ericosg
    May 18, 2013 at 4:33

1 Answer 1


"Yes, it does."

In order to setup a VDI using RDS the server requires a domain to be joined to. In my case, since it's a standalone server I needed to add the AD role and features and promote the machine as the DC.

The connecting client however, did not require to be joined to the domain and could just use the domain credentials when remotting into the VDI.

Windows Server 2012 makes VDI a piece of cake, as it has it's very own wizard and it clearly states that it needs a domain to join/connect to.

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