VMware OS Optimization Tool is a free program for devices running Windows designed to optimize those devices for running VMWare Horizon View.
While that is the main purpose, it is an optimization software that has its uses even if VMware Horizon View is not installed on the computer.
First the basics: the program is available for Windows 7 and newer versions of Window including Windows 10.
You can run the program right after you have downloaded and unpacked on your system. Please note though that it requires the Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0.
VMware OS Optimization Tool
The program runs a quick scan of the system on start. It displays information about it on the start screen afterwards that include core information about the system's hardware and system information.
Next to that are statistics about the number of optimizations that are applied and not applied on the system. These are further divided into mandatory, optional, and recommended optimizations.
Below that is the list of modifications. These are taken from template files that are provided for every major version of Windows that is supported by the optimization tool.
If things went well during the initial scan, the right template should have been loaded automatically.
While you can hit the optimize button right away to perform all suggested optimizations on the computer, it is suggested to go through the list of tweaks first before they are applied. This enables you to verify that they are indeed beneficial, and don't remove or change functionality that you depend on or like.
Modifications are sorted into groups, e.g. disable Services or Scheduled Tasks, disable Features, or remove apps. These may differ depending on the operating system you run the software on. Remove Apps is not an option on Windows 7 for instance.
The program uses icons to indicate optimization levels which you may use as suggestions. Mandatory items are listed in red, recommended items in yellow, optional items in blue, and items that don't need any modification in green.
All items expect for green ones are selected by default. These may include features that are critical for operation such as disabling IPv6 (optional), disabling Windows Store (yellow), disabling File History (yellow), or disabling SSDP Discovery (red).
It is interesting to note that you cannot re-enable green items marked in the program.
The left sidebar lists all available tweaks and the groups they are sorted in. While that is handy, there is no option to interact with that group. You cannot click on an item to jump to it for instance, or on a group to do the same.
All interaction with tweaks happens on the right of the listing. Since there is no option to remove checkmarks from groups, the only option you have is to go through the list of nearly 300 optimizations to uncheck those that you don't want applied to your system.
Tweaks are listed with their name and a description. While that is often enough to determine whether you should apply the tweak, it sometimes may require further research on your part.
For instance, should you disable WIM-Hash-Management, the pro-active Checkdisk scan, or firewall on all profiles?
One of the interesting features of VMware OS Optimization Tool is that you can create your own custom templates, or download additional templates from the VMware Labs website.
Custom templates are copies of existing templates. You may then remove items from them, add new modifications, or modify settings to match your needs.
You may use existing tweaks as templates for new ones. The data that you enter is quite extensive, and divided into details and actions.
Details are displayed in the list of tweaks. They include the name and description, category (which determines the icon), and whether it is selected by default.
Actions on the other hand define the operation that is carried out when the system is optimized. This may include a Registry key name, command and file name, or shell execution.
You may also download templates from the VMware website instead of creating your own custom optimization template.
These templates are either from VMware, or from users of the service. It needs to be noted that it is important that you verify downloaded templates before applying them as they get full reign on the system.
You may export the analysis to an HTML file for record keeping. The history tab lists all operations that were performed in the past. It features a rollback option to restore the system to a previous state.
Remote analysis allows you to analyze remote desktop systems that you have access to. The tool cannot be used however to optimize remote systems, as it works only locally.
A PDF manual is available here.
VMware OS Optimization Tool is a general purpose program for all recent versions of Windows to run optimizations. While it has been designed with VMWare products in mind, it runs equally fine on systems without any VMware products installed.
It takes some time to go through the initial listing of tweaks as suggested by VMware, and more time if you plan on adding your own to the list.
It may be worth it in the long run however, as you may run those templates on other machines as well. (via Into Windows)