Horizon Mirage bootable USB media can assist you with recovery operations and system imaging. After it is created, the bootable USB key contains a clean install of Windows 7 Professional or Enterprise Edition, or Windows 8.1 Professional or Enterprise Edition. The Horizon Mirage client is also installed and pre-configured to connect to your Horizon Mirage server when the client machine restarts.


Horizon Mirage supports creating bootable USB keys for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 only.

You can customize the Bootable USB key to accommodate different hardware platforms and additional pre- and post-Windows installation actions, for example, joining the new system to the required domain or renaming the system. The following are the most common use scenarios:

Restoring a device which can no longer boot to Windows.

Restoring or reimaging a remote device in the field.

Provisioning or imaging a fresh Windows installation on an existing machine quickly.

Deploying the Windows image with the Horizon Mirage bootable USB key generally takes 15 to 30 minutes.

The following components are required:

Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 Professional or Enterprise Edition machine.

This is represented in this guide as Drive C.

Horizon Mirage bootable USB Scripts provided by VMware.

Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 Professional or Enterprise Edition DVD or ISO file.

This is represented in this guide as Drive D.

A USB Drive with at least 8 GB available disk space

This is represented in this guide as Drive U.

Horizon Mirage client MSI installer file x86 or x64 version.

You can find current clients on the Horizon Mirage support downloads page.

(Optional) Drivers for the end point hardware

Network drivers are highly recommended.


All other drivers are available through the Driver Library feature within the Horizon Mirage server.

The Windows installation is not activated and does not include a product key. Windows installation allows working with a non-activated machine for a few days. You can work around this limitation by editing the autounattend.xml file.

Some antivirus products (for example, Trend Micro) are known to prevent copying "autorun.inf" to removable disks. As the process of creating a bootable USB disk requires copying such a file, you must disable the antivirus application while creating the USB disk using this utility.

If you try to install Horizon Mirage with an SSL-enabled server, the newly deployed client machine might not be able to connect to the server, as it is not yet a member of the domain. In such a case, add a custom action on the USB disk to add the client machine to the domain.

Horizon Mirage does not officially support a bootable USB key for Windows XP. To restore a bare metal Windows XP device, use your Windows 7 Bootable USB Key, and then use Horizon Mirage to restore the device to a previous Windows XP snapshot.