Cleaning up “Already used” desktops in VMware View

The “Already used” error is a common problem that exists with using floating (non-persistent) desktops in a completely stateless way (i.e you have assigned the pool desktops to refresh on log-off)

However, a user can (in some circumstances) shutdown or reset their floating desktop and this does not give the View Management server a chance to refresh the desktop back to its “known good” internal disk ready for another user.

This leaves the desktop in an error state, which required manual admin intervention or scheduled scripts to handle the issue.


Of course you should be using AD group policy, you can then remove the ability of the user to shutdown the PCoIP windows desktop leaving them with just the ability to log-off.

But in reality I have still seen the “Already used” error crop up due to administrators haphazardly and incorrectly resetting floating desktops and power or individual server issues causing pools on local disk to come up in this state.

With View 5.1.2, VMware have added a an LDAP attribute called pae-DirtyVMPolicy

This is a per pool setting that allows the administrator to control how “Already used” desktops are treated.

There are three policy settings:

pae-DirtyVMPolicy=0 – This is the default behavior of leaving the desktop in the error state and not available for use.

pae-DirtyVMPolicy=1 – This allows desktops that were not cleanly logged off to be available without being refreshed. The desktop is available in the pool for another user.

pae-DirtyVMPolicy=2 – This setting will automatically refresh a desktop in the “already used” state and make it available again in the pool.

To change the setting on a pool, fire up ADSI Edit on a View Connection server and connect to dc=vdi, dc=vmware, dc=int (see screenshot)


Browse down to Server Groups and you will see your desktop pools on the right pane


Double click a pool name to edit the attributes


Find the LDAP attribute pae-DirtyVMPolicy in the list and change its value from <not set> to 1 or 2 (depending on your requirement)

Hopefully this can help ease some of the administrative burden of large floating desktop pools and the small issues they can have.

For more information on VMware View 5.1.2, see the release notes here:

4 thoughts on “Cleaning up “Already used” desktops in VMware View

  1. The installer should add the attribute if it’s not present, but if you find it’s not there, it can be added manually without issue. If it’s unset or not present, the default behavior <5.1.1 will be observed.

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  3. Please add the following based on VM kb.

    Note: When you are manually updating the ADAM database, the pae-DirtyVmPolicy attribute may not be visible if the properties filter is set to hide attributes without value. To find the attribute, change the filter to show all attributes irrespective of whether they have a value or not.

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