Microsoft Office and VDI – Performance tips

By | February 20, 2014


A couple of months back, during a recent engagement, I was trouble-shooting end user performance problems.  To keep it short and sweet, Microsoft Office (Outlook and Word), were monopolizing the CPU.  The virtual desktop just became unresponsive.

Note: Microsoft Office 2013 had been deployed in the parent image.

Platform: vSphere 5.1 and Horizon View 5.2

Whilst investigating and searching for a solution, I came across many articles with tweaks\tips which I put together in a quick Word document.  However, I thought it would be useful for others, as I searched Google extensively for ‘microsoft office vdi performance’

Known Performance Issues

Microsoft Office 2013 needs 20 percent more capacity to maintain VDI performance

Office Pro 2013 on Terminal Server, slows server down 

Windows related settings

Microsoft Office 2013 (some apply to Office 2010)

  • Disable Office 2013 animations via registry

  • Check and ensure latest patches are applied
      • MS Word>File>Account>Update Options

  • Use Office customization tool to disable unnecessary settings
  • Install Office 2013 with only necessary applications and features (not all defaults are required)


  • Set to Online mode (no Cached mode)

  • Ensure no OST file being created or stored in user profile on network
  • Disable ‘Reading Pane’ view
  • Disable ‘Live Preview’
  • Disable ‘Hardware Graphics Acceleration’
  • Manage ‘COM Add Ins’ and disable unnecessary add-in’s, if necessary

Microsoft Word

  • Disable ‘Reading View’ aka Reading Pane
  • Set the following:-

Note: The above certainly isn’t a comprehensive list of all tips\tweaks to cure to all issues!  However, it’s a good ’round up’ from my research, whether some of the above are effective or not, it’s a case of picking out the tweaks which best suit the environment and test, test, test and measure the results!

In this instance, because some of the above tweaks didn’t make a major difference for Office 2013 (results with Office 2010 could vary), Office 2010 was re-installed due to growing pressure from the user base, and the virtual desktop performance was much improved.

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