Site Updates – February 2017

Last Modified: Mar 1, 2017 @ 7:13 am

To trigger RSS Feed, Mailing List, etc., here is an excerpt from the Detailed Change Log.

Director 7.13

Last Modified: Feb 28, 2017 @ 5:35 pm

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Director 7.13 on Standalone Server

If you are installing Director 7.13 on a standalone server, see Citrix CTX142260 Installing or Upgrading to Citrix Director 7.6.200

  1. If you intend to install Director on a standalone server, start with running AutoSelect.exe from the XenApp/XenDesktop 7.13 media.
  2. On the right, click Citrix Director.
  3. In the Licensing Agreement page, select I have read, understand, and accept the terms, and click Next.
  4. In the Core Components page, click Next.
  5. In the Delivery Controller page, it will ask you for the location of one Controller in the farm. Only enter one Controller per farm. If you have multiple Director servers, each Director server can point to a different Controller in the farm. From Citrix Docs: Director automatically discovers all other Controllers in the same Site and falls back to those other Controllers if the Controller you specified fails. Click Test Connection, and then click Add.
  6. In the Features page, click Next.
  7. In the Firewall page, click Next.
  8. In the Summary page, click Install.
  9. In the Finish page, click Finish.
  10. In IIS Manager, go to Default Web Site > Director > Application Settings, find Service.AutoDiscoveryAddresses, and make sure it points to one Controller in the farm, and not to localhost. From Citrix Docs: Director automatically discovers all other Controllers in the same Site and falls back to those other Controllers if the Controller you specified fails.

  11. If you built multiple Director servers, use NetScaler to load balance them.
  12. If you are upgrading Director, run C:\inetpub\wwwroot\Director\tools\DirectorConfig.exe /upgrade to complete the upgrade process.
  13. For info on the new monitoring features in Director 7.13 and older, see Use Director below.

Director Spinning Circle

If after login the spinning circle doesn’t go away:

Do the following to fix it:

  1. Edit the file C:\inetpub\wwwroot\Director\web.config using an elevated text editor.
  2. Search for <serviceHostingEnvironment (line 273).
  3. Add the following attribute:
    multipleSiteBindingsEnabled="true"

Also see CTX202564 Citrix Director Becomes Unresponsive after Submitting the Credentials when IIS X-Frame-Options is enabled

Director Tweaks

Prepopulate the domain field

From http://www.xenblog.dk/?p=33: On the Controllers having the Director role installed, locate and edit the ‘LogOn.aspx’ file. By default you can find it at C:\inetpub\wwwroot\Director\Logon.aspx

In line 450 you will have the following. To find the line, search for ID=”Domain”. Note: onblur and onfocus attributes were added in newer versions of Director.

<asp:TextBox ID="Domain" runat="server" CssClass="text-box" onfocus="showIndicator(this);" onblur="hideIndicator(this);"></asp:TextBox>

In the ID=”Domain” element, insert a Text attribute and set it to your domain name. Don’t change or add any other attributes. Save the file.

<asp:TextBox ID="Domain" runat="server" Text="Corp" CssClass="text-box" onfocus="showIndicator(this);" onblur="hideIndicator(this);"></asp:TextBox>

This will prepopulate the domain field text box with your domain name and still allow the user to change it, if that should be required. Note: this only seems to work if Single Sign-on is disabled.

Session timeout

By default the idle time session limit of the Director is 245 min. If you wish to change the timeout, here is how to do it.

  1. Log on to the Director Server as an administrator
  2. Open the ‘IIS Manager’
  3. Browse to ‘SitesDefault Web SiteDirector’ in the left hand pane.
  4. Open ‘Session State’ in the right hand pane
  5. Change the ‘Time-out (in minutes)’ value under ‘Cookie Settings’
  6. Click ‘Apply’ in the Actions list

SSL Check

From http://euc.consulting/blog/citrix-desktop-director-2-1: If you are not securing Director with an SSL certificate you will get this error at the logon screen.

To stop this:

  1. Log on to the Director Server as an administrator
  2. Open the ‘IIS Manager’
  3. Browse to ‘SitesDefault Web SiteDirector’ in the left hand pane.
  4. Open ‘Application Settings’ in the right hand pane
  5. Set UI.EnableSslCheck to false.

Disable Activity Manager

From Disable the visibility of running applications in the Activity Manager in Advanced Configuration at Citrix Docs: By default, the Activity Manager in Director displays a list of all the running applications and the Windows description in the title bars of any open applications for the user’s session. This information can be viewed by all administrators that have access to the Activity Manager feature in Director. For Delegated Administrator roles, this includes Full administrator, Delivery Group administrator, and Help Desk Administrator.

To protect the privacy of users and the applications they are running, you can disable the Applications tab from listing running applications.

  • On the VDA, modify the registry key located at HKLM\Software\Citrix\Director\TaskManagerDataDisplayed. By default, the key is set to 1. Change the value to 0, which means the information will not be displayed in the Activity Manager.
  • On the server with Director installed, modify the setting that controls the visibility of running applications. By default, the value is true, which allows visibility of running applications in the Applications Change the value to false, which disables visibility. This option affects only the Activity Manager in Director, not the VDA. Modify the value of the following setting:
    UI.TaskManager.EnableApplications = false

Large Active Directory / Multiple Forests

From CTX133013 Desktop Director User Account Search Process is Slow or Fails: By default, all the Global Catalogs for the Active Directory Forest are searched using Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP). In a large Active Directory environment, this query can take some time or even time out.

If multiple forests, see Citrix Blog Post Using Citrix Director in a MultiForest Environment.

  1. In Information Server (IIS) Management, under the Desktop Director site, select Application Settings and add a new value called ActiveDirectory.ForestSearch. Set it to False. This disables searching any domain except the user’s domain and the server’s domain.
  2. To search more domains, add the searchable domain or domains in the ActiveDirectory.Domains field.

Site Groups

From Citrix Blog Post Citrix Director 7.6 Deep-Dive Part 4: Troubleshooting Machines:

If there are a large number of machines, the Director administrator can now configure site groups to perform machine search so that they can narrow down searching for the machine inside a site group. The site groups can be created on the Director server by running the configuration tool via command line by running the command:

C:\inetpub\wwwroot\Director\tools\DirectorConfig.exe /createsitegroups

Then provide a site group name and IP address of the delivery controller of the site to create the site group.

Director Configuration Script  💡

Johan Greefkes at Script for configuring Director at Citrix Discussions was kind enough to provide a script that does the following:

  • Sets the XenDesktop Controllers that Director communicates with
  • Disables SSL Check
  • Sets Logon.aspx file to default to a domain name
  • Adds a footer that displays the name of the Director server

Director – Saved Filters

From Scott Osborne and Jarian Gibson at Citrix Discussions: In Director, you can create a filter and save it.

The saved filter is then accessible from the Filters menu structure.

The saved filters are stored on each Director server at C:\Inetpub\wwwroot\Director\UserData. Each user has their own saved filters. The saved filters are not replicated across Director servers.

You can instead configure multiple Director servers to store the filters on a shared UNC path: (h/t CTP Jarian Gibson)

  1. Create and share a folder (e.g. DirectorData).
  2. The Director server computer accounts need Modify permission to the share.
  3. On each Director server, run IIS Manager.
  4. Go to Sites > Default Web Site > Director. In the middle, double-click Application Settings.
  5. Change the Service.UserSettingsPath setting to the UNC path of the new share.
  6. Repeat this on other load balanced Director servers.

Director and HDX Insight

You can connect Director to NetScaler Management & Analytics System (NetScaler MAS) or Citrix Insight Center to add Network tabs to Director’s Trends and Machine Details views. Citrix Blog Post Configure Director with NetScaler Management & Analytics System (MAS).

Director and Self-Service Password Reset (SSPR)

If you have XenApp/XenDesktop Platinum Edition, it’s possible to install SSPR on the Director server. See George Spiers Citrix Self-Service Password Reset for a detailed implementation guide.

However this might break Director, and all you will see is a spinning circle.

To fix it, in IIS Manager (inetmgr), edit the bindings of the Default Web Site, and Remove the HTTP 8080 binding. Or implement the multisitebinding fix.

More info at Citrix Discussions Installing SSPR 1.0 appears to have broken Director 7.11 on same server.

Director Grooming

If XenDesktop is not Platinum Edition, then all historical Director data is groomed at 30 days.

For XenDesktop/XenApp Platinum Edition, by default, most of the historical Director data is groomed at 90 days. This can be adjusted up to 367 days by running a PowerShell cmdlet.

  1. On a XenDesktop Delivery Controller, run PowerShell and run asnp Citrix.*

  2. Run Get-MonitorConfiguration to see the current grooming settings.
  3. Run Set-MonitorConfiguration to change the grooming settings.

Director Single Sign-on

You can configure Director to support Integrated Windows Authentication (Single Sign-on). Note: there seem to be issues when not connecting from the local machine or when connecting through a load balancer.

  1. Run IIS Manager. You can launch it from Server Manager (Tools menu), or from the Start Menu, or by running inetmgr.
  2. On the left, expand Sites, expand Default Web Site, and click Director.
  3. In the middle, double-click Authentication in the IIS section.
  4. Right-click Windows Authentication, and Enable it.
  5. Right-click Anonymous Authentication, and Disable it.
  6. Pass-through auth won’t work from another computer until you set the http SPN for the Director server. See Director 7.7 Windows Authentication not working with NS LB at Citrix Discussions.
  7. If Director is not installed on a Controller then you’ll need to configure Kerberos delegation.
  8. If you are load balancing Director then additional config is required. See Director 7.7 Windows Authentication not working with NS LB at Citrix Discussions for more info.
    1. Create an AD service account that will be used as the Director’s ApplicationPoolIdentity.
    2. Create SPN and link it to the service account.
      setspn -S http/loadbalanced_URL domain\user
    3. Trust the user account for delegation to any service (Kerberos only) (trust the Director servers for delegation is not necessary in this case). You have to create the SPN before you can do this step.
    4. In IIS manager, on the Application Pools (Director), specify the Identity as user we have created in step 1.
    5. In IIS manager, select Default Web Site and open the Configuration Editor.
    6. Use the drop-down to navigate to the following section:

      system.webServer/security/authentication/windowsAuthentication
    7. Set useAppPoolCredentials = True and useKernelMode = False. Click Apply on the top right.

  9. When you connect to Director you will be automatically logged in. You can change the login account by first logging off.
  10. Then change the drop-down to User credentials.

Director – Multiple XenDesktop Sites

  1. Run IIS Manager. You can launch it from Server Manager (Tools menu) or from the Start Menu, or by running inetmgr.
  2. On the left, expand Sites, expand Default Web Site, and click Director.
  3. In the middle pane, double-click Application Settings.
  4. Find the entry for Service.AutoDiscoveryAddresses, and double-click it.
  5. If Director is installed on a Controller, localhost should already be entered.
  6. Add a comma, and the NetBIOS name of one of the controllers in the 2nd XenDesktop Site (farm). Only enter one Controller name. If you have multiple Director servers, you can point each Director server to a different Controller in the 2nd XenDesktop Site (farm). From Citrix Docs: Director automatically discovers all other Controllers in the same Site and falls back to those other Controllers if the Controller you specified fails.

Director Process Monitoring

Director 7.11 and newer have Process Monitoring, which is detailed in Citrix Blog Post Citrix Director: CPU, Memory Usage and Process Information.

Process Monitoring is disabled by default. To enable it, configure the Enable process monitoring setting in a Citrix Policy. For Citrix Policies in a GPO, find this setting in the computer half of the GPO. Note: this setting could significantly increase the size of the Monitoring database.

Director Alerts and Notifications

Director supports alert conditions and email notifications. This feature requires XenApp/XenDesktop to be licensed with Platinum Edition. See Citrix Blog Post Configuring & Managing Alerts and Notifications Using Director for more information.

Director 7.11 and newer have CPU, Memory, and ICT RTT alerts. Citrix Blog Post 7 New Categories in Director for Proactive Notifications & Alerts

To configure alerts:

  1. While logged into Director, at the top of the page, click the Alerts button.
  2. Switch to the Email Server Configuration tab.
  3. Enter your SMTP information, and click Send Test Message. Then click Save.

  4. Switch to the Citrix Alerts Policy tab.
  5. There are four high-level categories of alerts: Site Policy, Delivery Group Policy, Server OS Policy, and User Policy. Click whichever one you want to configure.
  6. Then click Create.
  7. Give the alert a name.
  8. On the bottom left, select a condition and enter thresholds.
  9. On the bottom right, in the Notifications preferences section, click Add.
  10. Enter an email address, and click Add.
  11. Click Save when done. Feel free to create more alerts and notifications.
  12. For Server OS and User Policy, there are new ICA RTT alerts. See Citrix Blog Post 7 New Categories in Director for Proactive Notifications & Alerts for details on the new alerts in 7.11 and newer.
  13. In Director 7.12 and newer, you can configure alerts to generate an SNMP trap. This is configured in PowerShell as described at Configure alerts policies with SNMP traps at Citrix Docs.
    Set-MonitorNotificationSnmpServerConfiguration        #see Docs for parameter details
    Set-MonitorNotificationPolicy -IsSnmpEnabled $true -Uid <Policy ID>
  14. Citrix has an experimental Desktop Notification Tool. See Citrix Blog Post Desktop Notification Tool For Citrix XenDesktop.
    ablogpic2

Director Alerts can be configured with a WebHook that allows Octoblu to perform actions when a Director Alert occurs. See Configure alerts policies with Octoblu webhooks at Citrix Docs for details.

Set-MonitorNotificationPolicy –Uid 5 –Webhook <Webhook URL>

Director – SCOM Integration

Director 7.8 and newer can display alerts from System Center Operations Manager 2012 R2. This feature requires XenApp/XenDesktop Platinum Edition.

  1. See Configure SCOM integration at Citrix Docs for detailed configuration instructions. Also see Marius Sandbu Integrating Citrix XenDesktop 7.7 and System Center Operations Manager.
  2. If Director server or System Center Operations Manager server is 2008 R2, then login to the 2008 R2 server, open PowerShell and run Enable-PSRemoting. Yes to everything. This is not needed on Windows Server 2012 R2 servers.
  3. On Director server, run C:\inetpub\wwwroot\Director\tools\DirectorConfig.exe /configscom
  4. FYI, the DirectorConfig.exe /configscom command enables the following features on the Director server: /FeatureName:IIS-NetFxExtensibility45 /FeatureName:IIS-ASPNET45 /FeatureName:WCF-HTTP-Activation45
  5. FYI, the System Center Operations Manager server is listed in IIS Manager at Default Web Site > Director > Application Settings (middle pane) > Connector.SCOM.ManagementServer.
  6. On the System Center Operations Manager server, edit Remote Management Users local group, and add Citrix Admins, and other Director users.
  7. In System Center Operations Manager Console, go to Administration > User Roles, and edit Operations Manager Operators. Add the Citrix Admins, and other Director users.
  8. See Citrix Blog Post SCOM Alerts in Citrix Director for information on how to view System Center Operations Manager alerts in Director.

Director – Custom Reports

In Director 7.12 and newer, in the Trends view, there’s a Custom Reports tab that guides you through creating a custom OData Query. This tab only appears if you have XenApp/XenDesktop Platinum Edition.

The Monitoring database contains more data than is exposed in Director. To view this data, the Monitoring service has an OData Data Feed that can be queried.

Use Director

See Monitor deployments at Citrix Docs.

Citrix Director 7.13 and newer have an Application Instances tab on the Filters page that lets you filter published application sessions based on Session Idle Time (RDS sessions only), Application Name, and all other existing fields, like machine name, and so on. Requires Director 7.13, Controller 7.13, and VDA 7.13. See Citrix Blog Post Monitoring Idle Applications and Sessions in Citrix Director. See Troubleshooting applications at Citrix Docs.

If idle time column shows n/a, then you need to wait 10-15 minutes.

In Director 7.13 and newer, the Session Details panel can show if Enlightened Data Transport (EDT, aka HDX on UDP) is enabled in the user’s session. See Citrix Blog Post HDX Adaptive Transport Protocol Monitoring via Director.

George Spiers has a comprehensive guide of all Director 7.12 features at http://www.jgspiers.com/citrix-director/.

Director 7.12 and newer have Connection Failure Details, which is detailed in Citrix Blog Post Director 7.12: Easier Troubleshooting of Machine & Connection Failures.

Director 7.11 and newer have Process Monitoring, which is detailed in Citrix Blog Post Citrix Director: CPU, Memory Usage and Process Information.

Director 7.9 and newer have Logon Duration improvements.
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Citrix Blog Post Interactive Session of Logon Duration in Citrix Director – Explained: Interactive Session Duration = Desktop Ready Event Timestamp (EventId 1000 on VDA) – User Profile Loaded Event Timestamp (EventId 2 on VDA). More details in the Blog Post.

Citrix Blog Post Director 7.6 Failure Reasons Demystified lists possible failure reasons behind an Unregistered alert, and the true meaning of failure reasons such as Connection Refused and Communication Error. It details each failure reason, defines the meanings of these failures, and lists action items that serve as a starting point for troubleshooting the specific scenario. The list is based on Director 7.6.300.

EUC Weekly Digest – February 25, 2017

Last Modified: Feb 25, 2017 @ 8:56 am

Here are some EUC items I found interesting last week. For more immediate updates, follow me at http://twitter.com/cstalhood.

For a list of updates at carlstalhood.com, see the Detailed Change Log.

XenApp/XenDesktop downloads

XenApp/XenDesktop articles

VDA

HDX

Director/Monitoring

WEM/Profile Management

StoreFront

Receiver

NetScaler

XenMobile

XenServer

Other Citrix

VMware

Delivery Controller 7.13 and Licensing

Last Modified: Feb 25, 2017 @ 1:09 pm

Navigation

💡 = Recently Updated

Upgrade

If you are performing a new install of XenApp/XenDesktop Controller, then skip to the next section.

You can upgrade directly from any Delivery Controller version 5.6 or newer.

Before upgrading, if you have a standalone Citrix Licensing Server, upgrade it to 11.14.0.1 build 19005.

During the upgrade of Delivery Controller, be aware that a database upgrade is required. Either get a DBA to grant you temporary sysadmin permission, or use Citrix Studio to generate SQL scripts that a DBA must then run in SQL Studio.

  1. If StoreFront is installed on the Controller, and if the Citrix SCOM Agent for StoreFront is installed, stop the Citrix MPSF Agent service. See CTX220935 Cannot Perform a StoreFront Upgrade if Citrix SCOM Management Pack Agent Service is Running.
  2. Close PowerShell/Consoles. Make sure all Citrix Consoles and PowerShell consoles are closed. StoreFront won’t upgrade if any are running. If StoreFront fails, then the StoreFront configuration is wiped out.
  3. Snapshot. If StoreFront is on the Controller, take a snapshot before attempting the upgrade.
  4. Another option is to export the StoreFront configuration so you can restore it later if something goes wrong.
  5. Run AutoSelect.exe from the XenApp/XenDesktop 7.13 ISO.
  6. On the top left, click Studio and Server Components.
  7. In the Licensing Agreement page, select I have read, understand, and accept the terms, and click Next.
  8. In the Ensure Successful Upgrade page, read the steps, check the box next to I’m ready to continue, and click Next.
  9. In the Firewall page, click Next.
  10. In the Summary page, click Upgrade.
  11. If you see a Running Processes window, close the listed programs, and click Continue.
  12. Click Close if prompted to restart.
  13. If you see a window asking you to Locate XenDesktop installation media, click Cancel.
  14. Mount the XenApp_and_XenDesktop_7_13.iso.
  15. Run AutoSelect.exe.
  16. Click Delivery Controller and installation will resume.
  17. In the Call Home page, make a selection. If participating, click Connect, login, and then click Next.
  18. In the Finish page, check the box next to Launch Studio, and click Finish.
  19. After Citrix Studio launches, if you have sysadmin permissions on SQL, then click Start the automatic Site upgrade. If you don’t have full permission, then get a DBA to help you, click Manually upgrade this site, and follow the instructions.

  20. If you choose to Manually upgrade this site, and if you are upgrading from 7.11, then note that there’s no upgrade for the Logging Database schema, so there won’t be any SQL script for the Logging database.

  21. After all Controllers and VDAs are upgraded, right-click the Catalogs, and click Upgrade Catalog. Note: 7.9 is the newest minimum functional level. You won’t see an option for 7.13. If your Catalogs are already set to VDA version 7.9, then no upgrade is needed.


  22. Then do the same for the Delivery Groups. Note: 7.9 is the newest minimum functional level. You won’t see an option for 7.13. If your Delivery Groups are already set to VDA version 7.9, then no upgrade is needed.


Other XenApp/XenDesktop components can also be in-place upgraded:

  • StoreFront
  • Director
  • VDAs
  • AppDNA
  • Provisioning Services
  • SCOM Management Packs
  • Session Recording
  • Federated Authentication Service

New Install Preparation

Citrix Licensing – If you are going to use an existing Citrix Licensing Server, upgrade it to 11.14.0.1 build 19005.

SQL Databases

  • Citrix CTX209080 Database Sizing Tool for XenDesktop 7
  • Citrix article CTX114501 – Supported Databases for XenApp and XenDesktop Components
  • There are typically three databases: one for the Site (aka farm), one for Logging (audit log) and one for Monitoring (Director).
    • The name of the monitoring database must not have any spaces in it. See CTX200325 Database Naming Limitation when Citrix Director Accesses Monitoring Data Using OData APIs
    • If you want Citrix Studio to create the SQL databases automatically, then the person running Studio must be a sysadmin on the SQL instances. No lesser role will work. sysadmin permissions can be granted temporarily and revoked after installation.
    • As an alternative, you can use Citrix Studio to create SQL scripts and then run those scripts on the SQL server. In that case, the person running the scripts only needs the dbcreator and securityadmin roles.
    • It is possible to create the databases in advance. However, you must use the non-default Latin1_General_100_CI_AS_KS collation. Then use Citrix Studio to configure the database tables.
  • If SQL 2016 or newer, create a Basic Availability Group.
  • If SQL 2014 or older, Citrix recommends SQL Mirroring because it has the fastest failover.
    • SQL Mirroring requires two SQL Standard Edition servers and one SQL Express for the witness server.
    • You can setup SQL Mirroring either before installing XenDesktop or after installing XenDesktop. If after, then see Citrix CTX140319 to manually change XenDesktop’s database connection strings How to Migrate XenDesktop Database to New SQL Server.
    • To setup SQL Mirroring, see Rob Cartwright: Configure SQL Mirroring For Use With XenDesktop, XenApp, and PVS Databases.
    • If you try to stretch the mirror across datacenters, the SQL witness must be placed in a third datacenter that has connectivity to the other two datacenters. However, stretching a single XenApp/XenDesktop site/farm and corresponding SQL mirror across datacenters is not recommended.
  • AlwaysOn Availability Groups and SQL Clustering are also supported. However, these features require the much more expensive SQL Enterprise Edition.

Windows Features

  • Installing Group Policy Management on the Delivery Controller lets you edit GPOs and have access to the Citrix Policies node in the GPO Editor. Or you can install Citrix Studio on a different machine that has GPMC installed.

vSphere

  • Create a role in vSphere Client. Assign a service account to the role at the Datacenter or higher level.

Delivery Controller Install

  1. A typical size for the Controller VMs is 2-4 vCPU and 8 GB of RAM.
  2. From Local Host Cache sizing and scaling at Citrix Docs:
    1. For LHC LocalDB, assign the Controller VMs a single socket with multiple cores.
    2. Add two cores for LHC.
    3. Add at least three more Gigs of RAM and watch the memory consumption.
    4. Since there’s no control over LHC election, ensure all Controllers have the same specs.
  3. Make sure the User Right Log on as a service includes NT SERVICE\ALL SERVICES or add NT SERVICE\CitrixTelemetryService to the User Right.
  4. On two Delivery Controllers, install the Delivery Controller software from the XenApp/XenDesktop 7.13 ISO. Go to the extracted ISO and run AutoSelect.exe.
  5. Click Start next to either XenApp or XenDesktop. The only difference is the product name displayed in the installation wizard.
  6. On the left, click Delivery Controller.
  7. In the Licensing Agreement page, select I have read, understand, and accept, and click Next.
  8. In the Core Components page, you can install all components on one server, or on separate servers. Splitting them out is only necessary in large environments, or if you have multiple farms and want to share the Licensing, StoreFront, and Director components across those farms.
  9. In the Features page, uncheck the box next to Install Microsoft SQL Server 2014 SP2 Express, and click Next.
  10. In the Firewall page, click Next.
  11. In the Summary page, click Install.
  12. In the Call Home page, make a selection, click Connect, enter your MyCitrix credentials, and then click Next.
  13. In the Finish page, click Finish. Studio will automatically launch.
  14. Ensure the two Controller VMs do not run on the same hypervisor host. Create an anti-affinity rule.

Create Site

There are several methods of creating the databases for XenApp/XenDesktop:

  • If you have sysadmin permissions to SQL, let Citrix Studio create the databases automatically.
  • If you don’t have sysadmin permissions to SQL, then use Citrix Studio to generate SQL scripts, and send them to a DBA.

Use Studio to Create Database Scripts

  1. Launch Citrix Studio. After it loads, click Deliver applications and desktops to your users.
  2. In the Introduction page, select An empty, unconfigured site. This reduces the number of pages in this Setup wizard. The other pages will be configured later.
  3. Enter a Site Name (aka farm name), and click Next. Only administrators see the farm name.
  4. In the Databases page, if you are building two Controllers, click Select near the bottom of the same page.
  5. Click Add.
  6. Enter the FQDN of the second Controller and click OK. Note: the Delivery Controller software must already be installed on that machine.
  7. Then click Save.
  8. If you don’t have sysadmin permissions, change the selection to Generate scripts to manually set up databases on the database server. Change the database names if desired, and click Next.
  9. In the Summary page, click Generate scripts.
  10. A folder will open with six scripts. Edit each of the scripts.
  11. Near the top of each script are two lines to create the database. Uncomment both lines (including the go line). Then save and close the file.

  12. Once all of the scripts are edited, you can send them to your DBA.
  13. On the Principal SQL Server, open the file Site_Principal.sql.

  14. Open the Query menu, and click SQLCMD Mode.
  15. Then execute the script.
  16. If SQLCMD mode was enabled properly, then the output should look something like this:
  17. If you have a mirrored database, run the second script on the mirror SQL instance. Make sure SQLCMD mode is enabled.
  18. Repeat for the Logging_Principal.sql script.
  19. You’ll have to enable SQLCMD Mode for each script you open.


  20. Repeat for the Monitoring_Principal.sql script.
  21. Once again enable SQLCMD Mode.


  22. The person running Citrix Studio must be added to the SQL Server as a SQL Login, and granted the public server role.

  23. Back in Citrix Studio, click the Continue database configuration and Site setup button.
  24. In the Databases page, enter the SQL server name, and instance name, and click Next.

  25. On the Licensing page, enter the name of the Citrix License Server, and click Connect. If you installed Licensing with your Delivery Controller, then simply enter localhost.
  26. XenApp/XenDesktop 7.13 requires the newest Licensing Server. If your server isn’t compatible, leave it set to localhost and fix it later.
  27. If the Certificate Authentication appears, select Connect me, and click Confirm.
  28. Then select your license, and click Next.
  29. In the Summary page, if your databases are mirrored, each database will show high availability servers, and the name of the Mirror server. Click Finish.

  30. It will take some time for the site to be created.

Verify Database Mirroring

If your database is mirrored, when you run asnp citrix.* and then run get-brokerdbconnection, you’ll see the Failover Partner in the database connection string.

Second Controller

When building the first Delivery Controller, the scripts might have already included the second Delivery Controller. Thus no special SQL permissions are needed. If the second Delivery Controller has not already been added to the SQL databases, then there are several methods of adding a second Controller to the databases for XenApp/XenDesktop:

  • If you have sysadmin permissions to SQL, let Citrix Studio modify the databases automatically.
  • If you don’t have sysadmin permissions to SQL then use Citrix Studio to generate SQL scripts and send them to a DBA.

To use Citrix Studio to create the SQL Scripts:

  1. On the first Delivery Controller, if StoreFront is installed, delete the default StoreFront store (/Citrix/Store) and recreate it with your desired Store name (e.g. /Citrix/CompanyStore).
  2. On the 2nd Delivery Controller, install XenDesktop as detailed earlier.
  3. After running Studio, click Connect this Delivery Controller to an existing Site.
  4. Enter the name of the first Delivery Controller, and click OK.
  5. If you don’t have elevated SQL permissions, click No when asked if you want to update the database automatically.
  6. Click Generate scripts.
  7. A folder will open with six scripts. If not mirroring, then the top three scripts need to be sent to a DBA. If mirroring, send all six.
  8. On the SQL Server, open one of the .sql files.

  9. Open the Query menu and click SQLCMD Mode.
  10. Then execute the XenDesktop script.
  11. If SQLCMD mode was enabled properly then the output should look something like this:
  12. Repeat for the remaining script files.
  13. Back in Citrix Studio, click OK.
  14. In Citrix Studio, under Configuration > Controllers, you should see both controllers.
  15. You can also test the site again if desired.

Studio – Slow Launch

From B.J.M. Groenhout at Citrix Discussions: The following adjustments can be made if Desktop Studio (and other Citrix management Consoles) will start slowly:

  • Within Internet Explorer, go to Tools – Internet Options – Tab Advanced – Section Security and uncheck the option Check for publisher’s certificate revocation

After adjustment Desktop Studio (MMC) will be started immediately. Without adjustment it may take some time before Desktop Studio (MMC) is started.

Registry setting (can be deployed using Group Policy Preferences):

  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WinTrust\Trust Providers\Software Publishing
    • State“=dword:00023e00

Local Host Cache

If you have 5,000 or fewer VDAs, you can enable Local Host Cache (LHC) instead of Connection Leasing. LHC allows new sessions to be started even if SQL database is unavailable.

From Local Host Cache sizing and scaling at Citrix Docs:

  1. For LHC LocalDB, assign the Controller VMs a single socket with multiple cores.
  2. Add two cores for LHC.
  3. Add at least three more Gigs of RAM and watch the memory consumption.
  4. Since there’s no control over LHC election, ensure all Controllers have the same specs.
  5. The Docs article has scripts for monitoring LHC performance.

For Windows Server 2008 R2 Controllers, PowerShell 3, or newer, is required. See LHC XD 7.12 and W2K8SR2 SP1 at Citrix Discussions.

Local Host Cache can be enabled by running some PowerShell commands.

asnp citrix.*
Set-BrokerSite -ConnectionLeasingEnabled $false
Set-BrokerSite -LocalHostCacheEnabled $true

George Spiers Local Host Cache XenApp & XenDesktop 7.12 shows the Event Log entries when LHC is enabled.

Database Maintenance

Enable Read-Committed Snapshot

The XenDesktop Database can become heavily utilized under load in a large environment. Therefore Citrix recommends enabling the Read_Committed_Snapshot option on the XenDesktop databases to remove contention on the database from read queries. This can improve the interactivity of Studio and Director. It should be noted that this option may increase the load on the tempdb files. See Citrix article CTX137161 How to Enable Read-Committed Snapshot in XenDesktop for configuration instructions.

Change Database Connection Strings

Sometimes the database connection strings need to be modified:

  • When moving the SQL databases to a different SQL server
  • For AlwaysOn Availability Groups, to add MultiSubnetFailover to the SQL connection strings
  • For SQL mirroring, to add Failover Partner to the SQL connection strings

CTX140319 How to Migrate XenDesktop Database to New SQL Server has the correctly ordered list of PowerShell commands to change the database connection strings. Make sure PowerShell is running as administrator before running these commands.

Here are the DB Connections that must be changed. This list might be longer than the article. When using the article, make sure you include all of the DB Connections shown below. You can get the full list of database commands by running Get-Command Set-*DBConnection. When changing the DB connections, AdminDBConnection must be the last to be set to NULL, and the first to be configured with the new connection string.

Set-ConfigDBConnection -DBConnection $null
Set-AppLibDBConnection –DBConnection $null    #7.8 and newer
Set-OrchDBConnection –DBConnection $null      #7.11 and newer
Set-TrustDBConnection –DBConnection $null     #7.11 and newer
Set-AcctDBConnection -DBConnection $null
Set-AnalyticsDBConnection -DBConnection $null
Set-HypDBConnection -DBConnection $null
Set-ProvDBConnection -DBConnection $null
Set-BrokerDBConnection -DBConnection $null
Set-EnvTestDBConnection -DBConnection $null
Set-SfDBConnection -DBConnection $null
Set-MonitorDBConnection -DataStore Monitor -DBConnection $null   #Monitoring Database
Set-MonitorDBConnection -DBConnection $null                      #Site Database
Set-LogDBConnection -DataStore Logging -DBConnection $null       #Logging Database
Set-LogDBConnection -DBConnection $null                          #Site Database
Set-AdminDBConnection -DBConnection $null -force

Director Grooming

If XenDesktop is not Platinum Edition, then all historical Director data is groomed at 30 days.

For XenDesktop/XenApp Platinum Edition, by default, most of the historical Director data is groomed at 90 days. This can be adjusted up to 367 days by running a PowerShell cmdlet.

  1. On a Delivery Controller, run PowerShell and run asnp Citrix.*

  2. Run Get-MonitorConfiguration to see the current grooming settings.
  3. Run Set-MonitorConfiguration to change the grooming settings.

View Logging Database

To view the contents of the Logging Database, in Studio, click the Logging node. On the right is Create Custom Report. See Citrix article CTX138132 Viewing Configuration Logging Data Not Shown for more info.

Maintain Logging Database

Citrix CTX215069 Troubleshooting and managing Oversized Configuration Logging database: The article’s queries can be used to determine the number of configuration operation types performed by XenDesktop Administrator, and to analyze the content of the Configuration Logging database when it is considered oversized. A grooming query is also provided to delete data older than a specified date.

Export/Import Configuration

Ryan Butler has a PowerShell script that can export configuration from one XenDesktop farm and import it to another.

Studio Administrators

Full Administrators

  1. In the Studio, under Configuration, click the Administrators node. The first time you access the node you’ll see a Welcome page. Feel free to check the box to Don’t show this again, and then click Close.
  2. On the Administrators tab, right-click, and click Create Administrator.
  3. In the Administrator and Scope page, Browse to a group (e.g. Citrix Admins) that will have permissions to Studio and Director. These groups typically have access to all objects so select the All scope. Alternatively, you can create a Scope to limit the objects. Click Next.
  4. On the Role page, select a role, and then click Next. For example:
    • Full Administrator for the Citrix Admins group
    • Help Desk Administrator for the Help Desk group
    • Machine Catalog Administrator for the desktop team
  5. In the Summary page, click Finish.

Help Desk

  1. In the Studio, under Configuration, click the Administrators node. On the Administrators tab, right-click, and click Create Administrator.
  2. In the Administrator and Scope page, Browse to a Help Desk group that will have permissions to Studio and Director. Select the All scope. And click Next.
  3. On the Role page, select the Help Desk Administrator role, and then click Next.
  4. In the Summary page, click Finish.
  5. When administrators in the Help Desk role log into Director, all they see is this.

    To jazz it up a little, add the Help Desk group to the read-only role.
  6. Right-click the Help Desk Administrator, and click Edit Administrator.
  7. Click Add.
  8. In the Scope page, select a scope, and click Next.
  9. In the Role page, select Read Only Administrator, and click Next.
  10. In the Summary page, click Finish.
  11. Then click OK. Now Director will display the dashboard.

Provisioning Services w/Personal vDisk

From Considerations: Provisioning Services at Configure and manage Personal vDisk at Citrix Docs: The Provisioning Services Soap Service account must be added to the Administrator node of Studio and must have the Machine Administrator or higher role. This ensures that the PvD desktops are put into the Preparing state when the Provisioning Services (PVS) vDisk is promoted to production.

Customer Experience Improvement Program

XenApp/XenDesktop 7.13 enables CEIP by default. If desired, you can disable it in Citrix Studio:

  1. On the left, go to the Configuration node.
  2. On the right, switch to the Product Support tab.
  3. Click End.
  4. Click Yes.

vCenter Connection

XenDesktop uses an Active Directory service account to log into vCenter. This account needs specific permissions in vCenter. To facilitate assigning these permissions, create a new vCenter role and assign it to the XenDesktop service account. The permissions should be applied at the datacenter or higher level.

Hosting Resources

A Hosting Resource = vCenter + Cluster (Resource Pool) + Storage + Network. When you create a machine catalog, you select a previously defined Hosting Resource, and the Cluster, Storage, and Network defined in the Hosting Resource object are automatically selected. If you need some desktops on a different Cluster+Storage+Network then you’ll need to define more Hosting Resources in Studio.

  1. In Studio, expand Configuration and click Hosting. Right-click it, and click Add Connection and Resources.
  2. In the Connection page, for Connection type, select VMware vSphere.
  3. Notice there’s a Learn about user permissions blue link to an article that describes the necessary permissions.
  4. Enter https://vcenter01.corp.local/sdk as the vCenter URL. The URL must contain the FQDN of the vCenter server.
  5. Enter credentials of a service account that can log into vCenter.
  6. In the Connection name field, give the connection a name. Typically, this matches the name of the vCenter server.
  7. If you are not using Machine Creation Services, and instead only need the vCenter connection for machine power management, change the Create virtual machines using selection to Other Tools. If you intend to use MCS, leave it set to Studio Tools.
  8. Click Next.
  9. If you see a message about the vCenter certificate, check the box next to Trust certificate, and click OK.
  10. Note: this vCenter certificate thumbprint is stored in the XenDesktop database, and is not updated when the vCenter certificate changes. See CTX217415 Cannot connect to the VCenter server due to a certificate error for instructions on manually updating the database with the new certificate thumbprint.
  11. In the Storage Management page, click Browse, and select a vSphere cluster.
  12. Select Use storage shared by hypervisors.
  13. If you have sufficient disk space on each ESXi host, also select Optimize temporary data on available local storage. From Mark Syms at XA 7.9 MCS with RAM Caching at Citrix Discussions: “If you use just MCS caching to local storage then the VM is not agile at all and cannot be moved even when powered off as it has a virtual disk permanently associated with a single host.”
  14. From Martin Rowan at XA 7.9 MCS with RAM Caching at Citrix Discussions: for the temporary cache disk, “Don’t format it, the raw disk is what MCS caching uses.”
  15. Click Next.
  16. In the Storage Selection page, OS and Personal vDisk must be selected on at least one datastore. For maximum flexibility, only select one datastore. To select additional datastores, run this wizard again to create a separate Hosting Resource.
  17. If you selected the temporary data on local storage option, on the bottom, click Select, and choose the datastores you want to use for disk caching. By default, all local datastores are selected. Click Next when done.
  18. In the Network page, enter a name for the hosting resource. Since each hosting resource is a combination of vCenter, Cluster, Network, and Datastores, include those names in this field (e.g. vCenter01-Cluster01-Network01-Datastore01).
  19. Select a network and click Next.
  20. In the Summary page, click Finish.
  21. If you have multiple datastores for your VDAs, run the wizard again.
  22. You can use the existing vCenter connection.
  23. This time, select a different datastore.
  24. Give it a name that indicates the chosen datastore.
  25. When you create a Catalog, select the Hosting Resource for the datastore where you want the VDAs to be placed. Create additional Catalogs for each datastore. You can then combine the Catalogs into a single Delivery Group.
  26. Later in the Catalog wizard, you’re given an option to enable caching and select a cache size. This is similar to Provisioning Services option “Cache in RAM with overflow to disk”.

Citrix Licensing Server

Upgrade

XenApp/XenDesktop 7.13 comes with 11.14.0.1 build 19005

If you have a standalone Licensing Server, upgrade it to Citrix Licensing 11.14.0.1 build 19005 if it isn’t already.

  1. Go to the downloaded Citrix Licensing 11.14.0.1 build 19005 and run CitrixLicensing.exe.
  2. If you see the Subscription Advantage Renewal page, make a selection, and click Next.
  3. In the Upgrade page, click Upgrade.
  4. Click Finish.
  5. If you go to Programs and Features, it should now show version 13.0.0.19005.
  6. If you login to the license server web console, on the Administration tab, it shows it as version 11.14.0 build 18001.
  7. You can also view the version in the registry at HKLM\Software\Wow6432Node\Citrix\LicenseServer\Install.

License Server CEIP

11.14.0.1 build 19005 and newer enables CEIP by default. This can be disabled in the Citrix Licensing Manager (https://localhost:8083) by clicking the gear icon.

Scroll down to Share usage statistics with Citrix and make a selection.

Citrix License Management Service

New in 11.14.0.1 is the Citrix License Management Service. This service helps you avoid prohibited practices:

  • Duplication of licenses outside a Disaster Recovery (DR) environment
  • Use of legacy licenses for new product versions
  • Use of rescinded licenses

Licensing Server HA using GSLB

From Dane Young – Creating a Bulletproof Citrix Licensing Server Infrastructure using NetScaler Global Server Load Balancing (GSLB) and CtxLicChk.ps1 PowerShell Scripts. Here is a summary of the configuration steps. See the blog post for detailed configuration instructions.

  1. Build two License Servers in each datacenter with identical server names. Since server names are identical, they can’t be domain-joined.
  2. Install identical licenses on all License Servers.
  3. Set the DisableStrictNameChecking registry key on all Citrix Licensing servers.
  4. Synchronize the certificate files located at C:\Program Files (x86)\Citrix\Licensing\WebServicesForLicensing\Apache\conf. They must be identical on all Licensing Servers.
  5. Download CtxLicChk.exe from http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX123935 and place on all Licensing Servers.
  6. Schedule the PowerShell script CtxLicChk.ps1 on all Licensing Servers. Get this script from the blog post linked above.
  7. Configure NetScaler:
    1. Configure GSLB ADNS services.
    2. Add wildcard Load Balancing service for each Citrix Licensing Server.
    3. Configure service TCP monitoring for ports 27000, 7279, 8082, and 8083.
    4. Create Load Balancing Virtual Server for each Licensing Server.
    5. Set one Load Balancing Virtual Server as backup for the other.
    6. Repeat in second datacenter.
    7. Configure GSLB Services and GSLB Monitoring.
    8. Configure GSLB Virtual Servers. Set one GSLB Virtual Server as backup for the other.
  8. Delegate the Citrix Licensing DNS name to the ADNS services on the NetScaler appliances.
  9. Configure Citrix Studio to point to the GSLB-enabled DNS name for Citrix Licensing.

Citrix License Server Monitoring

Citrix Licensing 11.13.1 and newer has historical usage reporting:

  1. Run Citrix Licensing Manager from the Start Menu. Or use a browser to connect to https://MyLicenseServer:8083
  2. Use the drop-down menus to select a license type, select dates, and export to a .csv file.
  3. The Update Licenses tab lets you check for renewals and download them.
  4. On the top right is a gear icon where you can set the historical retention period and configure SA license auto-renewal.

Jonathan Medd Monitor Citrix License Usage With PowerShell.

Lal Mohan – Citrix License Usage Monitoring Using Powershell

Jaroslaw Sobel – Monitoring Citrix Licenses usage – Graphs using WMI, Powershell and RRDtool. This script generates a graph similar to the following:

Remote Desktop Licensing Server

Install Remote Desktop Licensing Server

Do the following on your XenDesktop Controllers:

  1. In Server Manager, open the Manage menu, and click Add Roles and Features.
  2. In the Installation Type page, select Role-based or feature-based installation.
  3. Click Next until you get to the Server Roles page. Check the box next to Remote Desktop Services, and click Next.
  4. Click Next until you get to the Role Services page. Check the box next to Remote Desktop Licensing, and click Next.
  5. Click Add Features if prompted.
  6. Then finish the wizard to install the role service.

Activate Remote Desktop Licensing

  1. After RD Licensing is installed, in Server Manager, open the Tool menu, expand Terminal Services (or Remote Desktop Services), and click Remote Desktop Licensing Manager.
  2. The tool should find the local server. If it does not, right-click All servers, click Connect, and type in the name of the local server.
  3. Once the local server can be seen in the list, right-click the server and click Activate Server.
  4. In the Welcome to the Activate Server Wizard page, click Next.
  5. In the Connection Method page, click Next.
  6. In the Company Information page, enter the required information, and click Next.
  7. All of the fields on the Company Information page are optional, so you do not have to enter anything. Click Next.
  8. In the Completing the Activate Server Wizard page, uncheck the box next to Start Install Licenses Wizard now, and click Finish. Since the session hosts will be configured to pull Per User licenses, there is no need to install licenses on the RD Licensing Server.
  9. In RD Licensing Manager, right-click the server, and click Review Configuration.
  10. Ensure you have green check marks. If the person installing Remote Desktop Licensing does not have permissions to add the server to the Terminal Server License Servers group in Active Directory, ask a domain admin to do it manually. If you have the proper permissions, click Add to Group.
  11. Click Continue when prompted that you must have Domain Admins privileges.
  12. Click OK when prompted that the computer account has been added.
  13. Click OK to close the window.

XenApp/XenDesktop Health Check

Sacha Tomet Finally 1.0 – but never finalized!: XenApp & XenDesktop 7.x Health Check script has now Version 1.0.

Andrew Morgan – New Free Tool: Citrix Director Notification Service: The Citrix Director Notification service sits on an edge server as a service (or local to the delivery controller) and periodically checks the health of:

  • Citrix Licensing.
  • Database Connections.
  • Broker Service.
  • Core Services.
  • Hypervisor Connections.

And if any of these items fall out of bounds, an SMTP alert is sent to the mailbox of your choice for action. The tool will also send “All Clear” emails when these items are resolved, ensuring you are aware when the service has resumed a healthy state.

Matt Bodholdt XenDesktop 7.x Controller Service Status Script at CUGC – PowerShell script that checks the following:

  • Lists Controllers with boot time
  • Licensing status
  • Service status on each Controller
  • DB Connections
  • Controller Available Memory
  • Hypervisor Connections Status

Related Pages

Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA) 7.13

Last Modified: Feb 26, 2017 @ 2:00 pm

Navigation

💡 = Recently Updated

Hardware

  1. For virtual desktops, give the virtual machine: 2+ vCPU and 2+ GB of RAM
  2. For Windows 2008 R2 RDSH, give the virtual machine 4 vCPU and 12-24 GB of RAM
  3. For Windows 2012 R2 RDSH, give the virtual machine 8 vCPU, and 24-48 GB of RAM
  4. If using RAM caching (MCSIO or PvS), add more RAM for the cache
  5. Remove the floppy drive
  6. Remove any serial or LPT ports
  7. If vSphere:
    1. To reduce disk space, reserve memory. Memory reservations reduce or eliminate the virtual machine .vswp file.
    2. The NIC should be VMXNET3.
  8. If this VDA will boot from Provisioning Services:
    1. Do not enable Memory Hot Plug
    2. For vSphere, the NIC must be VMXNET3.
    3. For vSphere, configure the CD-ROM to boot from IDE instead of SATA. SATA comes with VM hardware version 10. SATA won’t work with PvS.
  9. Install the latest version of drivers (e.g. VMware Tools).
    1. If Windows 7 on vSphere, don’t install the VMware SVGA driver. For more details, see CTX201804 Intermittent Connection Failures/Black Screen Issues When Connecting from Multi-Monitor Client Machines to Windows 7 VDA with VDA 7.x on vSphere/ESXi.

If vSphere, disable NIC Hotplug

  1. Users could use the systray icon to Eject the Ethernet Controller. Obviously this is bad.
  2. To disable this functionality, power off the virtual machine.
  3. Once powered off, right-click the virtual machine and click Edit Settings.
  4. On the VM Options tab, expand Advanced and then click Edit Configuration.
  5. Click Add Row.
  6. On the left, enter devices.hotplug. On the right, enter false.
  7. Then click OK a couple times to close the windows.
  8. The VM can then be powered on.

Windows Preparation

  1. If RDSH, disable IE Enhanced Security Configuration in Server Manager > Local Server.
  2. Optionally, go to Action Center (Windows 8.1 or 2012 R2) or Control Panel > Security and Maintenance (Windows 10/2016) to disable User Account Control and enable SmartScreen .
  3. Run Windows Update.

  4. Add your Citrix Administrators group to the local Administrators group on the VDA. Computer Management.
  5. The Remote Desktop Services “Prompt for Password” policy prevents Single Sign-on to the Virtual Delivery Agent. Check registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows NT\Terminal Services. If fPromptForPassword = 1 then you need to fix group policy. The following GPO setting will prevent Single Sign-on from working.
    Computer Configuration | Policies | Administrative Templates | Windows Components | Remote Desktop Services | Remote Desktop Session Host | Security | Always prompt for password upon connection
    Or set the registry value HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Citrix\PorticaAutoLogon (DWORD) = 0x10.
  6. For Windows 7/2008 R2 VDAs that will use Personal vDisk, or AppDisk, or any other layering technology, install Microsoft hotfix 2614892 A computer stops responding because of a deadlock situation in the Mountmgr.sys driver. This hotfix solved a Personal vDisk Image update issue detailed at Citrix Discussions.
  7. If this VDA is Windows Server 2008 R2, see http://www.carlstalhood.com/windows-server-2008-r2-post-sp1-hotfixes/.
  8. To remove the built-in apps in Windows 10, see Robin Hobo How to remove built-in apps in Windows 10 Enterprise.
  9. For Remote Assistance in Citrix Director, configure the GPO setting Computer Configuration | Policies | Administrative Templates | System | Remote Assistance | Offer Remote Assistance. See Jason Samuel – How to setup Citrix Director Shadowing with Remote Assistance using Group Policy for more details.
  10. If you intend to use Citrix’s SCOM Management Packs for XenApp/XenDesktop, make sure WinRM is enabled on the VDA by running winrm quickconfig. Or you can enable WinRM using Group Policy.

Install Virtual Delivery Agent 7.13

  1. For virtual desktops, make sure you are logged into the console. The VDA won’t install if you are connected using RDP.
  2. Make sure .NET Framework 4.5.2 or newer is installed.

CLI Install:

Command Line Install Options are detailed at Install using the command line at Citrix Docs.

The Citrix Telemetry Service seems to cause problems. You can use the Command Line Installer to exclude Telemetry Service as detailed at VDA upgrade cmdlet at Citrix Discussions.

XenDesktopVDASetup.exe /quiet /noreboot /masterimage /Enable_HDX_PORTS /enable_framehawk_port /Enable_REAL_TIME_TRANSPORT /optimize /controllers "xdc01.corp.local xdc02.corp.local" /Exclude "Citrix Telemetry Service"

GUI Install:

  1. Go to the downloaded XenDesktop 7.13 .iso file and run AutoSelect.exe.

  2. Alternatively, you can download the standalone VDA package and run that instead. Go the main XenDesktop 7.13 download page. Expand the section labelled Components that are on the product ISO but also packaged separately to download the Standalone VDA installers. 7.13 has a VDA installer called Desktop OS Core Services that is designed for Remote PC deployments.
  3. Click Start next to either XenApp or XenDesktop. The only difference is the product name displayed in the installation wizard.
  4. Click Virtual Delivery Agent for Windows Desktop OS or Windows Server OS depending on which type of VDA you are building.

  5. In the Environment page, select Create a Master Image, and click Next.
  6. For virtual desktops, in the HDX 3D Pro page, click Next.
  7. In the Core Components page, if you don’t need Citrix Receiver installed on your VDA, then uncheck the box. Receiver is usually only needed for double-hop connections (connect to 1st VDA, and then from there, connect to 2nd VDA). Click Next.
  8. In the Additional Components page, select the features

  9. In the Delivery Controller page, select Do it manually. Enter the FQDN of each Controller. Click Test connection. And then make sure you click Add. Click Next when done.
  10. In the Features page, check boxes. In 7.12 and newer, only the top box is checked by default. If you want to use the other features, check the boxes. If this is a virtual desktop, you can leave Personal vDisk unchecked now and enable it later. Then click Next.
  11. In the Firewall page, click Next.
  12. In the Summary page, click Install.
  13. For RDSH, click Close when you are prompted to restart.
  14. After the machine reboots twice, login and installation should continue.
  15. If you see a Local ‘XenApp’ installation media window, click Cancel.
  16. Mount the XenApp_and_XenDesktop_7_13.iso.
  17. Run AutoSelect.exe.
  18. Click the Virtual Desktop Agent box.
  19. Installation will continue automatically.
  20. Note: NT SERVICE\CitrixTelemetryService needs permission to login as a service.
  21. In the Call Home page, click Connect, enter your MyCitrix credentials, and then click Next.

  22. In the Finish page, click Finish to restart the machine again.

Connection Quality Indicator

The Connection Quality Indicator tells the user the quality of the connection. For example:

Position of the indicator is configurable by the user. Thresholds are configurable through group policy.

Download it from CTX220774 Connection Quality Indicator and install it. The article is very detailed.

Group Policy templates are located at C:\Program Files (x86)\Citrix\Connection Quality Indicator\Configuration. Copy the files and folder to <Sysvol>\Policies\PolicyDefinitions, or C:\Windows\PolicyDefinitions.

Find the settings under Computer Config | Policies | Admin Templates | Citrix Components | Virtual Desktop Agent | CQI

Adaptive Transport  💡

A new feature in XenApp/XenDesktop 7.13 is Adaptive Transport, which uses EDT protocol, which uses UDP Ports 1494/2598 on the VDA. The UDP ports should already be open in the Windows Firewall.

Adaptive Transport is disabled by default, but can be enabled in the Citrix Policy setting HDX Adaptive Transport.

Slow Logons

Citrix Discussions Xenapp 7.9: Wait for local session manager: “I have a Xenapp 7.9 environment on Windows 2012 R2. When logging in through Citrix I got message “Wait for local session manager” for 20-30 seconds. When logging in to the server with RDS, I do not have to wait for this.”

“Add the following 2 registry keys to your 7.9 VDA server – then try connecting to it using ICA to see if the issue still occurs:

Add reg keys in “HKLM\SOFTWARE\Citrix\GroupPolicy”
Dword: “CacheGpoExpireInHours” – Value = 5-24 (# of Hours) ***start with value of 5***
Dword: “GpoCacheEnabled” – Value = 1

Restart the machine after adding these registry keys and attempt an ICA connection (at least twice) to see if that helps the Login delay.”

 

Mark DePalma at XenApp slow logon times, user get black screen for 20 seconds at Citrix Discussions says that pushing Tile Refresh to a background task speeds up logons.

  1. Regedit:
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
     
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Active Setup\Installed Components\DisableUPMResetCache]
    @="DisableUPMResetCache"
    "Version"="1,1,1,1"
    "StubPath"="REG ADD HKCU\\Software\\Microsoft\\Windows\\CurrentVersion\\ImmersiveShell\\StateStore /v ResetCache /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f"
    "Locale"="*"
  2. UPM Exclusions:
    Directory - '!ctx_localappdata!\Microsoft\Windows\Caches'
    Registry - 'SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Active Setup\Installed Components\DisableUPMResetCache'

 

For additional logon delay troubleshooting, see Alexander Ollischer XenApp/XenDesktop – “Please Wait For Local Session Manager” message when logging into RDS. He found some Windows Updates that caused a logon delay.

 

XenApp recalculates WMI filters on every reconnect. CTX212610 Session Reconnect 30 sec Delay – DisableGPCalculation – WMI Filters indicates that recalculation can be disabled by setting HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Citrix\Reconnect\DisableGPCalculation (DWORD) to 1.

 

CTX212439 Desktop Session Stuck in Pre-Logon State with Message “Please wait for the Local Session Manager”:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Lsa\Kerberos\Parameters\MaxTokenSize (DWORD) = 48000
  • Delete HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server\RCM\GracePeriod\L$RTMTIMEBOMB

Controller Registration Port

Some environments will not accept the default port 80 for Virtual Delivery Agent registration, even though registration is authenticated and encrypted on port 80. To change the port, do the following on the Virtual Delivery Agent:

  1. Open Programs and Features.
  2. Find Citrix Virtual Delivery Agent, and click Change.
  3. Click Customize Virtual Delivery Agent Settings.
  4. Edit the Delivery Controllers, and click Next.
  5. On the Protocol and Port page, change the port number, and click Next.
  6. In the Summary page, click Reconfigure.
  7. In the Call Home page, configure as desired, and then click Next.
  8. In the Finish Reconfiguration page, click Finish.
  9. You must also change the VDA registration port on the Controllers by running BrokerService.exe /VDAPort.

Controller Registration – Verify

  1. If you restart the Virtual Delivery Agent machine or restart the Citrix Desktop Service
  2. In Windows Logs Application log, you should see an event 1012 from Citrix Desktop Service saying that it successfully registered with a controller. If you don’t see this then you’ll need to fix the ListOfDDCs registry key.
  3. You can also run Citrix’s Health Assistant on the VDA.
  4. See CTX220772 Technical Primer: VDA Registration for a very detailed explanation of the VDA Registration process.

Citrix PDF Printer 7.11.0 for Receiver for HTML5/Chrome

  1. To allow printing from Receiver for HTML5/Chrome, install Citrix PDF Printer. Get it from the Receiver for HTML5 download page in the Additional Components section. Note: this PDF Printer is only used by Receiver for HTML5 and Receiver for Chrome.
  2. Go to the extracted CitrixPDFPrinter_7.11.0 and run CitrixPDFPrinter64.msi.
  3. In the Please read the Citrix PDF printer License Agreement page, check the box next to I accept the terms, and click Install.
  4. In the Completed the Citrix PDF Universal Driver Setup Wizard page, click Finish.
  5. In Programs and Features, it is shown as version 7.11.0.11.
  6. Configure a Citrix Policy to enable the PDF printer. The setting is called Auto-create PDF Universal Printer in the user half of a Citrix Policy GPO.

Citrix File Access 2.0.3 for Receiver for Chrome

  1. If you support Receiver for Chrome (Chromebook) and want to open files on Google Drive using published applications, install Citrix File Access on the VDAs. Get it from the Receiver for Chrome download page, in the Additional Components section.
  2. Go to the extracted Citrix_File_Access_2.0.3, and run FileAccess.msi.
  3. In the Please read the File Access License Agreement page, check the box next to I accept the terms and click Install.
  4. In the Completed the File Access Setup Wizard page, click Finish.
  5. File Access is listed in Programs and Features as version 2.0.3.33.
  6. File Access has a default list of supported file extensions. The list can be expanded by editing the registry on the VDA. See CTX219983 Receiver for Chrome Error: Invalid command line arguments: Unable to open the file as it has an unsupported extension.
  7. To open a file from Google Drive, right-click and and open the file using Citrix Receiver.

Framehawk Configuration

To enable Framehawk, see http://www.carlstalhood.com/citrix-policy-settings/#framehawkconfig

Remote Desktop Licensing Configuration

On 2012 R2 and newer RDSH, the only way to configure Remote Desktop Licensing is using group policy (local or domain). This procedure also works for 2008 R2 RDSH. This procedure is not needed on virtual desktops.

  1. For local group policy, run gpedit.msc. Alternatively, you can configure this in a domain GPO.
  2. Go to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Remote Desktop Services > Remote Desktop Session Host > Licensing.
  3. Double-click Use the specified Remote Desktop license servers. Change it to Enabled, and enter the names of the RDS Licensing Servers (typically installed on XenDesktop Controllers). Click OK.
  4. Double-click Set the Remote Desktop licensing mode. Change it to Enabled and select Per User. Click OK.
  5. Optionally, you can install the Remote Desktop Licensing Diagnoser Tool. In the Server Manager > Add Roles and Features Wizard, on the Features page, expand Remote Server Administration Tools, expand Role Administration Tools, expand Remote Desktop Services Tools, and select Remote Desktop Licensing Diagnoser Tool. Then Finish the wizard.
  6. If it won’t install from Server Manager, you can install it from PowerShell by running Install-WindowsFeature rsat-rds-licensing-diagnosis-ui.
  7. In Server Manager, open the Tools menu, expand Remote Desktop Services (or Terminal Services), and click Remote Desktop Licensing Diagnoser.

  8. The Diagnoser should find the license server, and indicate the licensing mode. If you’re configured for Per User licenses, then it’s OK if there are no licenses installed on the Remote Desktop License Server.

Several people in Citrix Discussions reported the following issue: If you see a message about RD Licensing Grace Period has expired even though RD Licensing is properly configured, see Eric Verdumen No remote Desktop Licence Server availible on RD Session Host server 2012. The solution was to delete the REG_BINARY in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server\RCM\GracePeriod only leaving the default. You must take ownership and give admin users full control to be able to delete this value.

C: Drive Permissions

This section is more important for shared VDAs like RDSH Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 R2, and Windows Server 2016.

The default permissions allow users to store files on the C: drive in places other than their profile.

  1. Open the Properties dialog box for C:.
  2. On the Security tab, click Advanced.
  3. If UAC is enabled, click Change permissions.
  4. Highlight the line containing Users and Create Folders, and click Remove.
  5. Highlight the line containing Users and Create files (or Special), and click Remove. Click OK.
  6. Click Yes to confirm the permissions change.
  7. If you see any of these Error Applying Security windows, click Continue. This window should appear multiple times.
  8. Click OK to close the C: drive properties.

Pagefile

If this image will be converted to a Provisioning Services vDisk, then you must ensure the pagefile is smaller than the cache disk. For example, if you allocate 20 GB of RAM to your Remote Desktop Session Host, and if the cache disk is only 15 GB, then Windows will have a default pagefile size of 20 GB, and Provisioning Services will be unable to move it to the cache disk. This causes Provisioning Services to cache to server instead of caching to your local cache disk (or RAM).

  1. Open System. In 2012 R2 and newer, you can right-click the Start button, and click System.
  2. Click Advanced system settings.
  3. On the Advanced tab, click the top Settings button.
  4. On the Advanced tab, click Change.
  5. Uncheck the box next to Automatically manage paging file size for all drives. Then either turn off the pagefile, or set the pagefile to be smaller than the cache disk. Don’t leave it set to System managed size. Click OK several times.

Direct Access Users

When Citrix Virtual Delivery Agent is installed on a machine, non-administrators can no longer RDP to the machine. A new local group called Direct Access Users is created on each Virtual Delivery Agent. Add your non-administrator RDP users to this local group so they can RDP directly to the machine.

Windows Profiles v3/v4/v5/v6

Roaming Profiles are compatible only between the following client and server operating system pairs. The profile version is also listed.

  • v6 = Windows 10 (1607) and Windows Server 2016
  • v5 = Windows 10 (1511 and older)
  • v4 = Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2
  • v3 = Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012
  • v2 = Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2
  • v2 = Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008

For Windows 2012 R2, install Microsoft hotfix 2890783, and set the UseProfilePathExtensionVersion registry value to 1.

Registry

HDX Flash

From Citrix Knowledgebase article CTX139939 – Microsoft Internet Explorer 11 – Citrix Known Issues: The registry key value IEBrowserMaximumMajorVersion is queried by the HDX Flash service to check for maximum Internet Explorer version that HDX Flash supports. For Flash Redirection to work with Internet Explorer 11 set the registry key value IEBrowserMaximumMajorVersion to 11 on the machine where HDX flash service is running. In case of XenDesktop it would be the machine where VDA is installed.

  • Key = HKLM\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Citrix\HdxMediaStreamForFlash\Server\PseudoServer
    • Value = IEBrowserMaximumMajorVersion (DWORD) = 00000011 (Decimal)

From Citrix Discussions: Add the DWORD ‘FlashPlayerVersionComparisonMask=0′ on the VDA under HKLM\Software\Wow6432Node\Citrix\HdxMediaStreamForFlash\Server\PseudoServer.  This disables the Flash major version checking between the VDA and Client Device.

Published Explorer

This section applies if you intend to publish apps from this VDA.

From Citrix Knoweldgebase article CTX128009 Explorer.exe Fails to Launch: When publishing the seamless explorer.exe application, the session initially begins to connect as expected. After the loading, the dialog box disappears and the explorer application fails to appear. On the VDA, use the following registry change to set the length of time a client session waits before disconnecting the session:

  • Key = HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Citrix\wfshell\TWI
    • Value = LogoffCheckerStartupDelayInSeconds (DWORD) = 10 (Hexadecimal)

Logon Disclaimer Window Size

From XenApp 7.8 – Session Launch Security/Warning Login Banner at Citrix Discussions: If your logon disclaimer window has scroll bars, set the following registry values:

HKLM\Software\Wow6432node\Citrix\CtxHook\AppInit_DLLS\Multiple Monitor Hook\LogonUIWidth = DWORD:300
HKLM\Software\Wow6432node\Citrix\CtxHook\AppInit_DLLS\Multiple Monitor Hook\LogonUIHeight = DWORD:200

Login Timeout

Citrix CTX203760 VDI Session Launches Then Disappears: XenDesktop, by default, only allows 180 seconds to complete a logon operation. The timeout can be increased by setting the following:

HKLM\SOFTWARE\Citrix\PortICA

Add a new DWORD AutoLogonTimeout and set the value to decimal 240 or higher (up to 3600).

Also see Citrix Discussions Machines in “Registered” State, but VM closes after “Welcome” screen.

Receiver for HTML5/Chrome Enhanced Clipboard

From About Citrix Receiver for Chrome 1.9 at Citrix Docs: To enable enhanced clipboard support, create a REG_SZ registry value HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Citrix\wfshell\Virtual Clipboard\Additional Formats\HTML Format\Name=”HTML Format”. Create any missing registry keys. This applies to both virtual desktops and Remote Desktop Session Hosts.

Receiver for HTML5/Chrome Upload Folder

The Receiver for HTML5 (or Chrome) lets upload files.

By default, the user is prompted to select a upload location. If you use the Upload feature multiple times, the last selected folder is not remembered.

Citrix CTX217351 How to Customize File Upload and Download Using Receiver for HTML5 and Receiver for Chrome. You can specify a default uploads location by editing HKLM\Software\Citrix\FileTransfer\UploadFolderLocation on the VDA. Environment variables are supported. When this value is configured, users are no longer prompted to select an upload location. The change takes effect at next logon.

Note: HTML5/Chrome Receiver also adds a Save to My Device location to facilitate downloads.

4K Monitors

From Citrix Knowledgebase article CTX218217 Unable to span across multiple monitors after upgrade to 7.11 VDA, Black/Blank screen appears on the monitors while connecting to ICA session: .

  1. For VDA 7.11 and newer, calculate the video memory that is required for monitors using the following formula:
    SumOfAllMons (Width * Height) * 4 / 0.3, where width and height are resolution of the monitor. Note: There is no hard and fast rule that will work for all cases.
    Example: Consider the resolution of monitor 1 is 1920*1200 and monitor 2 is 1366*768. Then SumOfAllMons will be (1920*1200 + 1366*768)
  2. CTX115637 Citrix Session Graphics Memory Reference describes how multi-monitor resolution is determined.
  3. Open the registry (regedit) and navigate to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\vd3v
  4. Increase the value of “MaxVideoMemoryBytes” REG_DWORD value to the above calculated memory.
  5. Reboot the VDA.

Citrix Policies also control graphics performance.

COM Port Threads

CTX212090 COM Port Intermittently Inaccessible During ICA Sessions: increase the default value of “MaxThreads” under the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\picaser\Parameters from 20 to a value greater than the number of COM port connections you want to support. For example, if a XenApp server supports 100 sessions and each session opens two COM ports, the value of “MaxThreads” should be greater than 200.

Legacy Client Drive Mapping

Citrix CTX127968 How to Enable Legacy Client Drive Mapping Format on XenApp: Citrix Client Drive Mapping no longer uses drive letters and instead they appear as local disks. This is similar to RDP drive mapping.

The old drive letter method can be enabled by setting the registry value:

  • Key = HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Citrix\UncLinks (create the key)
    • Value = UNCEnabled (DWORD) = 0

When you reconnect, the client drives will be mapped as drive letters (starts with V: and goes backwards).

Print Driver for Non-Windows Clients

This section applies to Windows 8.1/2012 and newer VDAs.

From CTX139020 Mac Client Printer Mapping Fix for Windows 8/8.1 and Windows Server 2012/2012R2. By default, Non-Windows clients cannot map printers due to a missing print driver on the VDA machine.

  1. Requirements:
    • Internet Access
    • Windows Update service enabled
  2. Click Start, and run Devices and Printers.
  3. In the Printers section, highlight a local printer (e.g. Microsoft XPS Document Writer). Then in the toolbar, click Print server properties.
  4. Switch to the Drivers tab. Click Change Driver Settings.
  5. Then click Add.
  6. In the Welcome to the Add Printer Driver Wizard page, click Next.
  7. In the Processor Selection page, click Next.
  8. In the Printer Driver Selection page, click Windows Update. The driver we need won’t be in the list until you click this button. Internet access is required.
  9. Once Windows Update is complete, highlight HP on the left, and then select HP Color LaserJet 2800 Series PS (Microsoft) on the right. Click Next.
  10. In the Completing the Add Printer Driver Wizard page, click Finish.
  11. Repeat these instructions to install the following additional drivers:
    • HP LaserJet Series II
    • HP Color LaserJet 4500 PCL 5

SSL for VDA

If you intend to use HTML5 Receiver internally, install certificates on the VDAs so the WebSockets (and ICA) connection will be encrypted. Internal HTML5 Receivers will not accept clear text WebSockets. External users don’t have this problem since they are SSL-proxied through NetScaler Gateway. Notes:

  • Each Virtual Delivery Agent needs a machine certificate that matches the machine name. This is feasible for a small number of persistent VDAs. For non-persistent VDAs, you’ll need some automatic means for creating machine certificates every time they reboot.
  • As detailed in the following procedure, use PowerShell on the Controller to enable SSL for the Delivery Group. This forces SSL for every VDA in the Delivery Group, which means every VDA in the Delivery Group must have SSL certificates installed.

The Citrix blog post How To Secure ICA Connections in XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 using SSL has a method for automatically provisioning certificates for pooled virtual desktops by enabling certificate auto-enrollment and setting up a task that runs after the certificate has been enrolled. Unfortunately this does not work for Remote Desktop Session Host.

The following instructions can be found at Configure SSL on a VDA using the PowerShell script at Citrix Docs.

  1. On the VDA machine, run mmc.exe.
  2. Add the Certificates snap-in.
  3. Point it to Local Computer.
  4. Request a certificate from your internal Certificate Authority. You can use either the Computer template or the Web Server template.

    You can also use group policy to enable Certificate Auto-Enrollment for the VDA computers.
  5. Browse to the XenApp/XenDesktop 7.13 ISO. In the Support\Tools\SslSupport folder, shift+right-click the Enable-VdaSSL.ps1 script and click Copy as path.
  6. Run PowerShell as administrator (elevated).
  7. Run the command Set-ExecutionPolicy unrestricted. Enter Y to approve.
  8. In the PowerShell prompt, type in an ampersand (&), and a space.
  9. Right-click the PowerShell prompt to paste in the path copied earlier.
  10. At the end of the path, type in -Enable
  11. If there’s only one certificate on this machine, press Enter.
  12. If there are multiple certificates, you’ll need to specify the thumbprint of the certificate you want to use. Open the Certificates snap-in, open the properties of the machine certificate you want to use, and copy the Thumbprint from the Details tab.

    In the PowerShell prompt, at the end of the command, enter ‑CertificateThumbPrint, add a space, and type quotes (").
    Right-click the PowerShell prompt to paste the thumbprint.
    Type quotes (") at the end of the thumbprint. Then remove all spaces from the thumbprint. The thumbprint needs to be wrapped in quotes.
  13. If this VDA machine has a different service already listening on 443 (e.g. IIS), then the VDA needs to use a different port for SSL connections. At the end of the command in the PowerShell prompt, enter -SSLPort 444 or any other unused port.
  14. Press <Enter> to run the Enable-VdaSSL.ps1 script.
  15. Press <Y> twice to configure the ACLs and Firewall.
  16. You might have to reboot before the settings take effect.
  17. Login to a Controller, and run PowerShell as Administrator (elevated).
  18. Run the command asnp Citrix.*
  19. Enter the command:
    Get-BrokerAccessPolicyRule -DesktopGroupName '<delivery-group-name>' | Set-BrokerAccessPolicyRule ‑HdxSslEnabled $true

    where <delivery-group-name> is the name of the Delivery Group containing the VDAs.

  20. You can run Get-BrokerAccessPolicyRule -DesktopGroupName '<delivery-group-name>' to verify that HDX SSL is enabled.
  21. Also run the following command:
    Set-BrokerSite –DnsResolutionEnabled $true

You should now be able to connect to the VDA using the HTML5 Receiver from internal machines.

Anonymous Accounts

If you intend to publish apps anonymously then follow this section.

  1. Anonymous accounts are created locally on the VDAs. When XenDesktop creates Anon accounts it gives them an idle time as specified at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Citrix\AnonymousUserIdleTime. The default is 10 minutes. Adjust as desired.
  2. You can pre-create the Anon accounts on the VDA by running “C:\Program Files\Citrix\ICAConfigTool\CreateAnonymousUsersApp.exe”. If you don’t run this tool then Virtual Delivery Agent will create them automatically when users log in.
  3. You can see the local Anon accounts by opening Computer Management, expanding System Tools, expand Local Users and Groups and clicking Users.
  4. If you open one of the accounts, on the Sessions tab, notice that idle timeout defaults to 10 minutes. Feel free to change it.

Group Policy for Anonymous Users

Since Anonymous users are local accounts on each Virtual Delivery Agent, domain-based GPOs will not apply. To work around this limitation, you’ll need to edit the local group policy on each Virtual Delivery Agent.

  1. On the Virtual Delivery Agent, run mmc.exe.
  2. Open the File menu, and click Add/Remove Snap-in.
  3. Highlight Group Policy Object Editor, and click Add to move it to the right.
  4. In the Welcome to the Group Policy Wizard page, click Browse.
  5. On the Users tab, select Non-Administrators.
  6. Click Finish.
  7. Now you can configure group policy to lockdown sessions for anonymous users. Since this is a local group policy, you’ll need to repeat the group policy configuration on every Virtual Delivery Agent image. Also, Group Policy Preferences is not available in local group policy.

Antivirus

Install antivirus using your normal procedure. Instructions vary for each Antivirus product.

Microsoft’s virus scanning recommendations (e.g. exclude group policy files) – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/822158.

Citrix’s Recommended Antivirus Exclusions

Citrix Blog Post Citrix Recommended Antivirus Exclusions: the goal here is to provide you with a consolidated list of recommended antivirus exclusions for your Citrix virtualization environment focused on the key processes, folders, and files that we have seen cause issues in the field:

  • Set real-time scanning to scan local drives only and not network drives
  • Disable scan on boot
  • Remove any unnecessary antivirus related entries from the Run key
  • Exclude the pagefile(s) from being scanned
  • Exclude Windows event logs from being scanned
  • Exclude IIS log files from being scanned

See the Blog Post for exclusions for each Citrix component/product including: StoreFront, VDA, Controller, and Provisioning Services. The Blog Post also has links to additional KB articles on antivirus.

Symantec

Symantec links:

Trend Micro

Trend Micro Slow login on Citrix environment after installing OfficeScan (OSCE): The following registries can be used to troubleshoot the issue. These registries will allow a delay on the startup procedure of OSCE until the system has launched successfully. This avoids deadlock situations during login.

Citrix CTX136680 – Slow Server Performance After Trend Micro Installation. Citrix session hosts experience slow response and performance more noticeable while users try to log in to the servers. At some point the performance of the servers is affected, resulting in issues with users logging on and requiring the server to be restarted. This issue is more noticeable on mid to large session host infrastructures.

Trend Micro has provided a registry fix for this type of issue. Create the following registry on all the affected servers. Add new DWORD Value as:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\TmFilterParameters] “DisableCtProcCheck”=dword:00000001

Trend Micro Links:

Sophos

Best Practice for running Sophos on virtual systems: we’ve amassed the following practical information about how you can optimize our software to work with this technology.

Sophos Anti-Virus for Windows XP+: Installation and configuration considerations for Sophos Anti-Virus on a Remote Desktop Services server: It maybe desirable to disable the Sophos AutoUpdate shield icon

Sophos Anti-Virus for Windows 2000+: incorporating current versions in a disk image, including for use with cloned virtual machines: This procedure will make sure that the produced target/cloned computers:

  • Get their distinct identity with Enterprise Console, under which they can be subsequently managed.
  • Have the desired version of Sophos Anti-Virus already installed and configured on the created image.

Optimize Performance

VDA Optimizer

Installation of the VDA might have already done this but there’s no harm in doing it again. This tool is only available if you installed VDA in Master Image mode.

  1. On the master VDA, go to C:\Program Files\Citrix\PvsVm\TargetOSOptimizer and run TargetOSOptimizer.exe.
  2. Then click OK. Notice that it disables Windows Update.

Windows 10 / Windows 2012 R2 / Windows 2016 and newer

Optimization Notes:

  • If this machine is provisioned using Provisioning Services, do not disable the Shadow Copy services.
  • Windows 8 detects VDI and automatically disables SuperFetch. No need to disable it yourself.
  • Windows 8 automatically disables RSS and TaskOffload if not supported by the NIC.

RDSH 2008 R2

Citrix CTX131577 XenApp 6.x (Windows 2008 R2) – Optimization Guide is a document with several registry modifications that are supposed to improve server performance. Ignore the XenApp 6 content and instead focus on the Windows content.

Citrix CTX131995 User Cannot Launch Application in Seamless Mode in a Provisioning Services Server when XenApp Optimization Best Practices are Applied. Do not enable NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation.

Citrix CTX213540 Unable To View Printers In Devices And Printers Win 2012 R2 – don’t disable Device Setup Manager Service

Norskale has Windows 2008 R2 Remote Desktop and XenApp 6 Tuning Tips Update.

Windows 7

Microsoft has compiled a list of links to various optimization guides.

It’s a common practice to optimize a Windows 7 virtual machine (VM) template (or image) specifically for VDI use. Usually such customizations include the following.

  • Minimize the footprint, e.g. disable some features and services that are not required when the OS is used in “stateless” or “non-persistent” fashion. This is especially true for disk-intensive workloads since disk I/O is a common bottleneck for VDI deployment. (Especially if there are multiple VMs with the same I/O patterns that are timely aligned).
  • Lock down user interface (e.g. optimize for specific task workers).

With that said the certain practices are quite debatable and vary between actual real-world deployments. Exact choices whether to disable this or that particular component depend on customer requirements and VDI usage patterns. E.g. in personalized virtual desktop scenario there’s much less things to disable since the machine is not completely “stateless”. Some customers rely heavily on particular UI functions and other can relatively easily trade them off for the sake of performance or standardization (thus enhance supportability and potentially security). This is one of the primary reasons why Microsoft doesn’t publish any “VDI Tuning” guide officially.

Though there are a number of such papers and even tools published either by the community or third parties. This Wiki page is aimed to serve as a consolidated and comprehensive list of such resources.

Daniel Ruiz XenDesktop Windows 7 Optimization and GPO’s Settings

Microsoft Whitepaper Performance Optimization Guidelines for Windows 7 Desktop Virtualization

Seal and Shut Down

If this session host will be a master image in a Machine Creation Services or Provisioning Services catalog, after the master is fully prepared (including applications), do the following:

  1. Go to the properties of the C: drive and run Disk Cleanup.
  2. If Disk Cleanup is missing, you can run cleanmgr.exe instead.
  3. On the Tools tab, click Optimize to defrag the drive.
    `
  4. Run slmgr.vbs /dlv and make sure it is licensed with KMS and has at least one rearm remaining. It is no longer necessary to manually rearm licensing. XenDesktop will do it automatically.
  5. Run Delprof2 to clean up local profiles. Get it from http://helgeklein.com/download/.
  6. Machine Creation Services and Provisioning Services require DHCP.

Session hosts commonly have DHCP reservations.

Shut down the master image. You can now use Studio or Provisioning Services to create a catalog of linked clones.

Troubleshooting – Graphics

If Windows 7 on vSphere, don’t install the VMware SVGA driver. For more details, see CTX201804 Intermittent Connection Failures/Black Screen Issues When Connecting from Multi-Monitor Client Machines to Windows 7 VDA with VDA 7.x on vSphere/ESXi.

For Citrix Policies that control graphics codecs, see http://www.carlstalhood.com/citrix-policy-settings/#graphics

Citrix Blog post – Optimising the performance of HDX 3D Pro – Lessons from the field

From Citrix Knowledgebase article CTX218217 Unable to span across multiple monitors after upgrade to 7.11 VDA, Black/Blank screen appears on the monitors while connecting to ICA session:

  1. For VDA 7.11 and newer, calculate the video memory that is required for monitors using the following formula :
    SumOfAllMons (Width * Height) * 4 / 0.3, where width and height are resolution of the monitor. Note: There is no hard and fast rule that will work for all cases.
    Example: Consider the resolution of monitor 1 is 1920*1200 and monitor 2 is 1366*768. Then SumOfAllMons will be (1920*1200 + 1366*768)
  2. CTX115637 Citrix Session Graphics Memory Reference describes how multi-monitor resolution is determined.
  3. Open the registry (regedit) and navigate to:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\vd3d
  4. Increase the value of “MaxVideoMemoryBytes” REG_DWORD value to the above calculated memory.
  5. Reboot the VDA

From Citrix Discussions: To exclude applications from Citrix 3D rendering, create a REG_DWORD registry value “app.exe” with value 0 or a registry value “*” with value 0.

  • XD 7.1 and XD 7.5:
    • x86: reg add hklm\software\citrix\vd3d\compatibility /v * /t REG_DWORD /f /d 0
    • x64: reg add hklm\software\Wow6432Node\citrix\vd3d\compatibility /v * /t REG_DWORD /f /d 0
  • XD 7.6/7.7/7.8/7.9/7.11 both x86 and x64:
    • reg add hklm\software\citrix\vd3d\compatibility /v * /t REG_DWORD /f /d 0

Wildcards are not supported. The asterisk * here has a special meaning “all apps” but is not a traditional wildcard. To blacklist multiple apps e.g. both appa.exe and appb.exe must be done by creating a registry value for each app individually.

This is most problematic in Remote PC since most physical PCs have GPUs. I recently had to blacklist Internet Explorer to prevent lockup issues when switching back to physical.

Uninstall VDA

Uninstall the VDA from Programs and Features.

Then see CTX209255 VDA Cleanup Utility.

To run the VDA Cleanup Tool silently:

  1. Execute VDACleanupUtility.exe /silent /noreboot to suppress reboot.
  2. Once the VDACleanupUtility has finished executing, setup Auto logon for the current user.
  3. Reboot.
  4. After reboot, tool will launch automatically to continue Cleanup.

Another option is to delete CitrixVdaCleanup value under HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce. Then after reboot, run VDACleanupUtility.exe /silent /reboot to indicate that it’s running after the reboot.

Related Pages

EUC Weekly Digest – Februrary 18, 2017

Last Modified: Feb 18, 2017 @ 7:23 am

Here are some EUC items I found interesting last week. For more immediate updates, follow me at http://twitter.com/cstalhood.

For a list of updates at carlstalhood.com, see the Detailed Change Log.

VDA

Unidesk

HDX

Receiver

NetScaler

NetScaler MAS

NetScaler Gateway

XenMobile

ShareFile

XenServer

Citrix Cloud

EUC Weekly Digest – February 11, 2017

Last Modified: Feb 11, 2017 @ 5:55 am

Here are some EUC items I found interesting last week. For more immediate updates, follow me at http://twitter.com/cstalhood.

For a list of updates at carlstalhood.com, see the Detailed Change Log.

XenApp/XenDesktop

WEM/Profile Management

Provisioning Services

NetScaler

NetScaler MAS

NetScaler Gateway

  • CTX200066, Disable Auth on NetScaler, only works internally, and only for web browsers – Citrix KB article

NetScaler SD-WAN

XenMobile

VMware

Microsoft

Other

EUC Weekly Digest – February 4, 2017

Last Modified: Feb 4, 2017 @ 6:57 am

Here are some EUC items I found interesting last week. For more immediate updates, follow me at http://twitter.com/cstalhood.

For a list of updates at carlstalhood.com, see the Detailed Change Log.

Citrix:

XenApp/XenDesktop

MCS

Director/Monitoring/Licensing

WEM/Profile Management

Provisioning Services

Unidesk

Receiver

NetScaler

NetScaler MAS

NetScaler Gateway

XenMobile

ShareFile

XenServer

VMware

Other

Unidesk App Layers, Image Templates, and Publishing

Last Modified: Jan 28, 2017 @ 3:49 pm

Navigation

Create App Layer

  1. In the Unidesk ELM Management Console, go to the Layers tab.
  2. Right-click in the grey, and click Create App Layer.
  3. In the Layer Details page, give the layer a name and version. Since the App Layer is tied to the OS Layer, it’s a good idea to include the OS Layer name in the App Layer name.
  4. Give the layer a Max Size. The layer disk created for the vSphere Packaging Machine is Thick Provisioned. Click Next.
  5. In the OS Layer page, select an OS Layer. An App Layer created for one OS Layer cannot be used with another OS Layer. Click Next.
  6. In the Prerequisite Layers page, you can select additional layers to include in your packaging machine. If there are no dependent layers, just click Next.
  7. In the Connector page, select a vSphere connector, and click Next.
  8. In the Platform Layer page, if you are creating the App Layer on a different hypervisor than originally used for the OS Layer, you can select the Platform Layer for the new hypervisor. If the hypervisor has not changed, just click Next. The hypervisor can also be changed when publishing the Image Template later.
  9. In the Packaging Disk page, give the .vmdk file a name, and click Next.
  10. In the Icon Assignment page, select an icon, or upload a new one, and click Next.
  11. In the Confirm and Complete page, click Create Layer.
  12. At the bottom of the page, open the Tasks panel.
  13. Click the information icon next to the running task.
  14. Eventually the task will finish deploying the Packaging Machine.
  15. In vSphere Web Client, find the new Packaging Machine (in the PackagingVMs folder in the Unidesk VM folder), open its console, and install your app normally. See Layering Recipes for some application install instructions.
  16. When you are done installing your app, double-click the Shutdown for Finalize icon on the desktop.
  17. It will tell you any issues it finds. After correcting them, double-click the icon again to shutdown the machine.
  18. After the machine is shutdown, in Unidesk ELM Management Console, go to Layers > App Layers.
  19. Right-click the Layer that is currently being Edited, and click Finalize.
  20. In the Script Path page, if you embedded any scripts in the layer, specify the path. Otherwise, just click Next.
  21. In the Confirm and Complete page, click Finalize.
  22. You can view the running tasks in the bottom window pane.
  23. It will eventually finish and say Deployable.

Image/Template

  1. In the Unidesk Management Console, go to the Images tab.
  2. Right-click in the grey, and click Create Template.
  3. In the Name and Description page, give the Template a Name that indicates the OS Layer, Platform Layer, and App Layers. Then click Next.
  4. In the OS Layer page, select an OS Layer, and click Next.
  5. In the Application Assignment page, select zero or more applications. Any App Layer you select here will be merged into the machine pre-boot. Elastic Layers are assigned later. Click Next.
  6. Note: if you find that App Layers are conflicting with each other, you can adjust the App Layer priority by using the Unidesk 4 Layer Priority Utility — Experimental tool.
  7. In the Connector page, select a Connector for the platform you want to push this image to. If publishing to MCS, select a vSphere Connector, and click Next.
  8. If you are publishing to PvS, and if you don’t have a PvS Connector, click New.

    1. From Connector Configuration & Optional Script (PVS) at Unidesk.com.
    2. In the Choose a Connector Type window, select Citrix PVS, and click New.
    3. A new tab opens.
    4. Give the Connector a name. This Connector points to one PvS server, and one vDisk store, so the name should reflect that.
    5. The Console field contains the list of registered Unidesk Agents running on PvS Servers.
    6. Enter credentials of a service account that is an administrator in PvS. Click Check Credentials.
    7. Scroll down. Use the drop-downs to select the vDisk store and other vDisk settings. Click Test.
    8. On the bottom, click Save.
    9. Then click Close.
    10. Back in the Connector page, select the PvS connector, and click Next.
  9. In the Platform Layer page, select one Platform Layer, and click Next. For PvS, make sure the Platform Layer includes both VDA and PvS Target Device Software.
  10. In the Layered Image Disk page, give the .vmdk file a name, specify a size, and decide if you want Sysprep to run or not. You typically don’t need to Sysprep the image if you’re using MCS, PvS, Composer, or Instant Clone.
  11. If you wish to enable Elastic Layering, select it here. Assignment of Elastic Layers to users is described later. Click Next.

    1. Notice that PvS does not have a SysPrep option.
  12. In the Confirm and Complete page, click Create Template.
  13. The Image is then displayed as Publishable.

Publish Image

  1. Right-click a publishable image, and click Publish Layered Image.
  2. In the Confirm and Complete page, click Publish Layered Image.
  3. Open the Tasks pane, and click the information icon to view details of the running task.
  4. If publishing to MCS (vSphere):
    1. In the vSphere Web Client, you’ll find the Template VM under the TemplateVMs folder under the Virtual Machine folder you selected for the Connector.
    2. Citrix MCS creates VMs in the same Folder as the Master Image. You might want to move the Template VM to a different virtual machine folder.
    3. If you edit the VM’s hardware, you’ll see that the disk is Thick Provisioned.
    4. Power on the machine.
    5. If doing Citrix Machine Creation Services, there is no need to join it to the domain. Some other provisioning platforms might require the machine to be joined to the domain, which you can do now.
    6. Shut down the Template VM.
    7. For MCS, in Citrix Studio, create a Machine Catalog using the Template VM as the Master Image.
    8. Notice that MCS creates VMs in the same Virtual Machine folder as the Master Image.
  5. If publishing to PvS:
    1. The image is uploaded to the vDisk Store as a .VHD file (not .VHDX).
    2. And it’s automatically added to the vDisk Store in the PvS Console. You can now assign it to your Target Devices.

Elastic Layers

  1. In the Unidesk Management Console, go to Layers > App Layers.
  2. Right-click a Deployable App Layer, and click Add Assignments.
  3. In the Select Version page, select an App Layer version, and click Next.
  4. In the Image Template Assignment page, don’t select anything. This page lets you assign this App Layer to a Image Template for pre-boot merging. For Elastic merging/mounting, just click Next.
  5. In the Elastic Assignment page, note any issues that Elastic Fit discovered that would prevent the app from merging elastically correctly. If you’re OK with the issues, click the Assign Elastically button.
  6. Search for a user group you want to assign this Layer to, and check the box next to the group. Click Next when done.
  7. In the Confirm and Complete page, click Assign Layer.
  8. Open the Tasks pane to see the progress while it copies the App Layer to the remote SMB share.
  9. When it’s done, go to the SMB share to see the files it uploaded, including the .json files that contain Layer assignments.
  10. To enable Elastic Layers in machines created from a Unidesk Image Template, edit the Template (Images), and make sure Elastic Layers is enabled in the Layered Image Disk page.

  11. Note: if you find that App Layers are conflicting with each other, you can adjust the App Layer priority by using the Unidesk 4 Layer Priority Utility — Experimental tool.

Update Layers

  1. Right-click an App Layer, and click Add Version.
  2. In the Version Details page, enter a new version, and click Next.
  3. In the OS Layer page, click Next.
  4. In the Prerequisites Layers page, click Next.
  5. In the Connector page, select a Connector, and click Next.
  6. In the Platform Layer page, click Next.
  7. In the Packaging Disk page, click Next.
  8. In the Confirm and Complete page, click Add Version.
  9. The task details shows the current progress.
  10. When the Packaging Machine is deployed, you can connect to its console and perform any desired updates. When you are done performing updates, double-click the Shutdown for Finalize icon on the desktop.
  11. When done updating the Packaging Machine, right-click the App Layer that is marked as Editing, and click Finalize.
  12. In the Script Path page, click Next.
  13. In the Confirm and Complete page, click Finalize.
  14. View the task details to see the current progress.
  15. To confirm that you have a new version, right-click the App Layer, and click Delete Versions.
  16. You can only delete versions that are not assigned to any Image.
  17. There are two methods of assigning a new version: one image at a time, or multiple images.
  18. To edit one image:
    1. Go to the Images tab. Right-click an Image, and click Edit Template.
    2. Click the Application Assignment page.
    3. Click the plus arrow next to a Layer and select the new version. Then complete the wizard.
  19. To update multiple images:
    1. Right-click the updated layer, and click Update Assignments.
    2. In the Select Version page, select the version you want to assign, and click Next.
    3. In the Image Template Assignment page, select the templates you want to update, and click Next.
    4. In the Elastic Assignment page, if this App Layer is assigned to users, you can update them too. Click Next.
    5. In the Confirm and Complete page, click Update Assignments.
  20. Once an image has a new version assigned, you must republish it.

Unidesk OS Layer and Platform Layer

Last Modified: Feb 1, 2017 @ 8:45 am

Navigation

This topic assumes the Unidesk Enterprise Layer Manager has already been imported and configured. See Create and update the OS Layer in Unidesk 4.0.8 by George Spiers for Hyper-V and PvS focused instructions.  💡

Layers Overview

Unidesk uses several types of layers:

  • Operating System Layer
  • Platform Layer
  • Application Layer
  • Image Template
  • User Layer

The master versions of all Layers are stored on the Enterprise Layer Manager virtual appliance.

 

Operating System Layer is just the base OS (with patches) and VMware Tools. There’s usually no need to install anything else.

The remaining layers (Platform and Application) are created from an OS Layer. These layers are linked to one OS Layer, and can’t be used on any other OS Layer.

Any application that creates local users (e.g. XenApp 6.5) should be installed in the OS Layer.

 

Platform Layer contains the following:

  • Citrix Virtual Delivery Agent, or VMware Horizon Agent.
  • Citrix Provisioning Services Target Devices Software
  • Hypervisor Tools – if packaging or publishing to a different hypervisor than originally used to create the OS Layer.

An Image Template (the composed machine that is published to the hypervisor) can contain only one Platform Layer. If you are creating a Platform Layer for Citrix Provisioning Services, then that one Platform Layer should include both the Citrix VDA, and the Citrix PvS Target Device Software.

 

Application Layers contain anything not in the OS Layer or Platform Layer, including the following:

  • Applications
  • Antivirus
  • Print Drivers
  • Citrix WEM Agent
  • SCCM Client

When creating a Unidesk Machine, there are two methods of merging the Application Layers:

  • Pre-boot – Unidesk merges the App Layer with the OS Layer and Platform Layer to create a single monolithic disk file. This method provides the greatest application compatibility. Use this method for Apps with boot time services or drivers.
  • Elastic – When the user logs into a Unidesk machine, a service looks in a file share for any Elastic Layers assigned to the user, and merges (mounts) them as the user logs in. Different users can have different Elastic Layers, even on multi-user Remote Desktop Session Host (XenApp) machines. However, Elastic Layering doesn’t work for apps that need boot-time services/drivers.

A single App Layer can be merged using either of these methods. If the App Layer doesn’t work Elastically, then you can mount it Pre-boot (Image Template) instead. There is no need to create separate App Layers for each mounting method.

Elastic App Layers are stored in a SMB file share. You can use any desired method to provide High Availability for this file share including: Scale Out File Server, DFS Namespace/Replication, etc.

 

Image Template contains one OS Layer, one Platform Layer, and zero or more App Layers. The App Layers assigned in the Image Template are merged pre-boot.

You then Publish the Image Template to your hosting platform.

  • For MCS, the Template is pushed to a hypervisor (e.g. vSphere) virtual machine, which becomes the master image for an MCS Catalog.
  • For PvS, Unidesk creates a VHD file, and pushes it to a PvS vDisk Store, so you can assign it to Target Devices.

 

User Layers allow users to install their own applications. This Layer Type is not yet available in Unidesk 4.0.8, but is coming soon.

User Layers require additional consideration for backup, replication, and recovery.

Operating System Preparation

Unidesk has several Test drives, which are complete procedures for creating layers for various platforms.

  1. Create a virtual  machine.
  2. If vSphere, make sure your OS Layer creation machine has VMXNET3 NIC.
  3. Install an operating system and patch it.
  4. Install VMware Tools.
  5. Don’t join the template machine to the domain. Leave it in a workgroup.
  6. Disable Automatic Updates on the template machine. You can use layers to install updates. An easy method to disable it is in Group Policy > Computer Configuration > Policies > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update > Configure Automatic Updates. Disable the setting.
  7. If PvS, George Spiers says IPv6 should be disabled.  💡
  8. Go to the downloaded Unidesk files, right-click the unidesk_os_machine_tools.exe file, and click Run as Administrator.
  9. Click Install.
  10. Go to C:\Windows\Setup, and create the Scripts folder.
  11. You can optionally configure an unattend file to join the Unidesk machines to the domain. If MCS, you can skip this step and MCS will do it for you. For PvS, you can manually join the domain when creating a Platform Layer. Or you can use PowerShell for Advanced Domain Join Operations. The unattend file is more appropriate for full clone VMs.
    1. To create an unattend file, in C:\Windows\Setup\Scripts, right-click Unattend.exe, and run as administrator.
    2. At the top of the page, select the correct operating system.
    3. When choosing to join the domain, note that Domain join credentials are stored in the unattend.xml file in plain text.
    4. Continue to scroll down and enter configuration settings.
    5. At the bottom of the window, click Save File
    6. The tool creates the SetupComplete.cmd file.
  12. In C:\Windows\Setup\Scripts, run Optimize64.exe as administrator.
  13. At the top, select your operating system.
  14. Scroll down. As you scroll, review the changes it’s going to make. Then click Save File.
  15. Click OK when Optimizations have been saved. Then close the optimization tool.
  16. Run setup_x64.exe from C:\Windows\Setup\scripts. Make sure you run it elevated.
  17. In the Welcome to the InstallShield Wizard for the Unidesk Image Preparation Utility page, click Next.
  18. In the Specify your answer file page, click Next.
  19. In the InstallShield Wizard Completed page, click Finish.
  20. Shut down the machine.

Export OVF Template

  1. Make sure popup blocker is disabled for this vSphere Web Client website.
  2. In vSphere Web Client, right-click the OS Image machine, expand Template, and click Export OVF Template.
  3. In the Export OVF Template window, click OK.
  4. Eventually, you’ll see a Save As dialog box. This process is much quicker if the VM has no snapshots.
  5. Save the OVF file to the Unidesk file share so Unidesk ELM can access it later.
  6. You’ll be prompted to save multiple files to the same location.

Import OS Layer

  1. In the Unidesk ELM Management Console, go to the Layers tab.
  2. Right-click in the grey area, and click Create OS Layer.
  3. In the Layer Details page, give the OS Layer a name and version.
  4. Specify a Max Layer Size. Note: the packaging machine is thick provisioned using the size specified here.
  5. Click the down arrow to proceed to the next page.
  6. In the Connector page, the file share should already be selected. Click Next (down arrow).
  7. In the OS Disk Details page, click Browse, and select the .vmdk file. Click Next.
  8. In the Icon Assignment page, select an icon or upload a new one. Then click Next.
  9. In the Confirm and Complete page,  you can enter a Comment to indicate who created this layer and when. Then click Create Layer.
  10. At the bottom of the screen, click the up chevron to display the Tasks pane.
  11. You’ll see a Running task. Click the information icon to view more details.

Platform Layer

  1. In the Layers tab, right-click in the grey area, and click Create Platform Layer.
  2. In the Layer Details page, give the layer a name and version. Note: Platform Layers are linked to OS Layers, so it’s best to indicate which OS Layer this Platform Layer is based on. You can’t use a Platform Layer created on one OS Layer on a different OS Layer.
  3. Specify a Max Layer Size. Note: the packaging machine is thick provisioned using the size specified here, plus the size of the OS Layer.
  4. Click Next (down button).
  5. In the OS Layer page, select the OS Layer this Platform Layer will be based on, and click Next.
  6. In the Connector page, if you already have a vSphere connector, select it, and click Next. If you don’t already have a vSphere connector, then click New.

    1. To create the vSphere connector, in the Choose a Connector Type window, select VMware vSphere, and click New.
    2. A new tab opens.
    3. Give the Connector a name (e.g. vCenter name). The Connector specification includes specific storage, so you might want the Connector name to indicate the storage name.
    4. Enter the vCenter FQDN and service account credentials. The vCenter permissions needed by the service account are detailed at Unidesk Prerequisites (vSphere) at unidesk.com.
    5. Click Check Credentials.
    6. Scroll down and use the drop downs to select where you want Packaging VMs and Published Templates to be created. Published Templates are later used by MCS to create more machines.
    7. The Packaging VMs and Published Templates will be created under the Virtual Machine Folder that you specify here.
    8. Click Test.
    9. When the Test is successful, click Save.
    10. Then click Close.
  7. Back in the Connector page, select the vSphere connector, and click Next.
  8. In the Platform Types page, change the selection to This platform layer will be used for publishing Layered Images. The other selection is if you want to deploy the vSphere OS Layer on a different hypervisor (e.g. Azure).
  9. Use the drop downs to select the Hypervisor, Provisioning Method, and Connection Broker. These can be changed later. Click Next.
  10. In the Packaging Disk page, enter a name for the .vmdk disk that will be created in vSphere. Click Next.
  11. In the Icon Assignment page, select an icon, or upload a new one. Click Next.
  12. In the Confirm and Complete page, click Create Layer.
  13. On the bottom of the screen, open the Tasks pane.
  14. Click the information icon to view what the task is doing.
  15. Eventually it will say Pending (Action Required), meaning it’s waiting for you to perform the packaging in vSphere.
  16. In vSphere Web Client, in the VMs and Templates view, expand the Unidesk folder, expand Packaging VMs, and click the new Packaging Machine.
  17. If you edit the VM’s hardware, notice that the disk is Thick Provisioned.
  18. You can now access the console of the Packaging VM and install VDA software.
  19. Feel free to reboot the Packaging VM.
  20. If PvS:
    1. Join the machine to the domain. MCS does this automatically during Image Prep.
    2. Install the PvS Target Device Software. The Unidesk Templates only allow one Platform Layer per template, so you’d need to install both VDA and PvS Target Device components in a single Platform Layer.
    3. Rearm KMS licensing (slmgr /rearm). MCS does this automatically during Image Prep.
  21. When you are done installing VDA (and optionally PvS Target Device Software), double-click the Shutdown for Finalize icon on the desktop. If it finds issues, it will tell you what to do (e.g. reboot needed). Otherwise, it will shut down the VM.
  22. Back in the Unidesk ELM Management Console, in Layers > Platform Layers, right-click the Editing layer, and click Finalize.
  23. In the Confirm and Complete page, click Finalize.
  24. You can click the information icon next to the running task to see what it’s doing.
  25. Eventually the icon will say Deployable.
  26. You can click the information icon on the Platform Layer to view its details.

Next Steps

Update OS or Platform Layers

  1. Right-click an OS Layer or a Platform Layer, and click Add Version.
  2. In the Version Details page, enter a new version, and click Next.
  3. In the OS Layer page, click Next.
  4. In the Connector page, select a Connector, and click Next.
  5. In the Platform Types page, click Next.
  6. In the Packaging Disk page, click Next.
  7. In the Confirm and Complete page, click Add Version.
  8. The task details shows the current progress.
  9. When the Packaging Machine is deployed, you can connect to its console and perform any desired updates. When you are done performing updates, double-click the Shutdown for Finalize icon on the desktop.
  10. When done updating the Packaging Machine, right-click the Layer that is marked as Editing, and click Finalize.
  11. In the Confirm and Complete page, click Finalize.
  12. View the task details to see the current progress.
  13. To confirm that you have a new version, right-click the Layer, and click Delete Versions.
  14. You can only delete versions that are not assigned to any Image.
  15. There are two methods of assigning a new version: one image at a time, or multiple images.
  16. To edit one image:
    1. Go to the Images tab. Right-click an Image, and click Edit Template.
    2. Click the OS Layer or Platform Layer page.
    3. Click the plus arrow next to a Layer and select the new version. Then complete the wizard.
  17. To update multiple images:
    1. Right-click the updated layer, and click Update Assignments.
    2. In the Select Version page, select the version you want to assign, and click Next.
    3. In the Image Template Assignment page, select the templates you want to update, and click Next.
    4. In the Confirm and Complete page, click Update Assignments.
  18. Once an image has a new version assigned, you must republish it.