Category Archives: Provisioning Services

PVS Capture Issue

So after many hours of Trouble shooting thinking I was battling a VMWare 5.5 Hardware Version 10 issue.  Became a super easy Partition layout issue.  So here the run down.

I was trying to capture a Golden image, had everything setup and working.  I was giving a new Base Build image to capture and started having problems when I tried to run through the Image Wizard… This would run through without issues until the reboot, it would come up attach the vDisk but wouldn’t capture the image.  I tried every combo I could think of going to an E1000 instead of the VMXNET3, still got the same results.

Now for the good news, I found that it was a simple Partition issue, the Wizard hard codes the small windows 300mb partitions to the first volume, however I found running the P2PV tool under the Provisioning Services folder, selecting This machine to VHD, and manually moving the 300mb partition to the last part of the Drive and moving the Data Volume to the front resolved the issue.  Granted you have to point the saved VHD to the PVS Server, and you will have to manually import the VHD after it is captured.  

Anyways thought I would share this, thanks for reading.


Citrix Provisioning Service 6.1 and ESX

So after a few hours of beating my head against the desk, and reading a few dozen articles, this is what I have found.

Well First I was going to go on how you had to down grade your Target agent to 5.6 Sp2 to make things work and how you would have to piss off your ESX guys by having to use the E1000 driver, but all that has changed.  Earlier this month, Citrix released a “Hot Fix” CPVS61E001 for PVS 6.1 basically it is PVS 6.2 from what I can tell 🙂  anyways it is about 700Mb and you have to completely remove the existing install and re-install the core software, you will be asked to upgrade the Database so make sure you have a good backup.  Then install the New target Agent.  Now for the wrinkle this is all fine if you are Running ESX5 if you are still on 4.1 like a lot of people, you will need to apply Hot fix CPVS56SP1E011 (Don’t ask)  Now you can use ESX4.1 and the VMXNET3 Driver.


Hope this helps, thanks for reading.

Provisioning Service’s 6 Target Agent Install

Select Target Device Installation

And Select Target Device Installation again…

Click No, you will be restarting later

Again Select No you will be restarting shortly

Type in the Server name or IP Address

We are going to create a new vDisk

Give it a name and for this example we are going to use Dynamic VHD type.

Just click Yes if you receive a warning

Give the New Target a Name Note: this cannot be the same name you assigned to this Server…

Now go ahead and click Yes to reboot. Make sure you either have the BDM ISO or The VM set to boot to Network with DHCP Options enabled.

Once you log back into the VM you should see this window.

Provisioning Server 6 Install Guide

First we are going to install the Console Snap-in’s

You will get this if you didn’t have .Net 3.5 Installed first. Follow the below few screens to install it via Server Manger.

Ok now that we have .Net Installed we can continue the Snap-in install

So now that we have the Console Snap-in’s installed, time to install the Server Components.

We are assuming DHCP Services are running on a different server.

We are going to use either BDM (Boot ISO) or DHCP Options

Enter a new Database Name, Enter a Farm Name, Enter a Site Name, and Give a Collection Name. I usually use builtin Administrators

I recommend using a Domain Service Account that is Local Administrator to the Provisioning Server(s) And I always Check the Configure the Database for the account, I have had issues in the past if I didn’t check this box.

Leave Defaults

Leave Defaults

Check the Box and Leave Defaults

I highly recommend Disabling the Windows Firewall on the Provisioning Servers

Got to love UAC

Provisioning Service’s 6.0 Image update (Versioning Document)

First login to your Provisioning Service’s Console, drill down to the vDisk Store you are wanting to manage. In this example we only have one store. Right Click on the vDisk you are wanting to update, and select Versions…

Notice this vDisk already has one Version Plus the Base image. Also note that the one version is in “Test” Mode (we will get to this later). Click New

Now we have a new Version in “Maintenance” Mode. Click Done

Now within the Provisioning Service’s console, Under Device Collections… Select the Base/Golden image, Right Click and Select Properties, under Type Select Maintenance

Under your Hyper Visor Console… XenServer is being used in this example, Select the Base/Golden Machine

Notice we now get a few option’s when we boot up our base machine now

We are going to select Option 1, which is the new Version in Maintenance Mode.

Once the Machine boots up all the way and we login, we can verify the state of our image/Version by double clicking on the Provisioning Virtual Disk status agent.

Notice the Mode is in Read/Write now.

So here is the break down of the differences between Versions

Maintenance = Read/Write

Test = Read Only, Without affecting any other device using the base image

Production = Read Only, Pushes all changes to any device using the base image on next reboot

So to change the version, simply go back to your vDisk store, select the correct vDisk, Right Click on the vDisk and Select Versions. Click on Promote, and select Test, I highly recommend Setting to test and log back into the Base Machine, and test all applications.

Once you are satisfied with new Version following the same steps as above, Click on Promote and now we have two options, either Push this image immediate (Next reboot) or you can schedule to release the version for next reboot on a scheduled day.

So how does this look and how do I keep my vDisks in sync between local Provisioning Servers Drives.

So if you notice we have a new file type “.avhd” instead of the standard “.vhd” basically all this is doing is creating “Snapshots” and “Delta Files. So now instead of having to copy the full Flat VHD, all we have to do now is copy the Delta files too the other Provisioning Servers. So take for example the latest Version Win7_V1.3 we now only have a 320Mb file to copy across the wire instead of another 9Gb file.

XenDesktop 5.5 and Provisioning Services 6.0

If you are planning on deploying XenDesktop 5.5 and Provisioning Services (PVS) 6.0 with a XenServer or ESX infrastructure you may want to check out the following Citrix KB This is the fix/work around for the famous “Black Screen” issue.

Just in case you are impatient like me you just have to run the VDA installer manually as follows:

XenDesktopVdaSetup.exe /NOCITRIXWDDM
This can be found under the XenDesktop 5.5 Installer DVD

Provisioning Service’s 6

So they final got versioning of images right. Plus they now put what they call replication status into the console. Don’t mistake this as built in replication for those of us that use local pvs storage. It is simply a nice tool to check if all your vDisks are the same across all pvs servers. I hope they find a way to integrate this feature one of these days.

Updating and Testing new releases of images has never been easier. I should have a full write up pretty soon.

Anyways just wanted to give my quick opinion that this is one update you should go with! Still playing with all the new features introduced in Provisioning services 6.0.

Thanks for reading

More tweaks to PVS

Here are some more tweaks to PVS… If running 5.1 SP2 or 5.6 you will want to disable Offline Database Support as this can cause some major issues, mainly being Target Devices “Freezing”.  Also nice tweak to increase performance is Enable intermediate Buffering, there is HotFix for PVS5.1 SP2 I believe the number is CTX124016… This gave about 150% increase in performance even where the Disk was larger then the vDisk.  Also if streaming apps using the lastest Client here is a nice reg tweak to speed up the Office apps:


KEY: Dword

Name: Hookmsi


KEY: Dword Name: HookmsiValue=0

Citrix Provisioning Server Notes:

So here are a few notes I have been working on for deploying XenApp via Citrix Provisioning Services. Some Docs say order doesn’t matter, some say they do… I have found it does matter and this is the order that has been working great for me… Obviously every environment is different and these may have to be altered a bit…

  • Install Citrix – (Install to C:) -> Need this for streaming apps
    • Update Citrix to latest rollup and hotfix to match your current environment
  • Install PVS Target Agent
    • Reboot
  • Change the following Registry Keys

Target Device:
DWORD = EnableOffload
Value “0”

Provisioning Server and Target Device:

Key: “DisableTaskOffload” (dword)
Value: “1″

  • Reboot
  • Install XenApp Offline Plugin
  • Install XenApp Prep
    • C:Program Files (x86)CitrixXenAppPrep>
    • Run XenAppPrep.exe /Pvs
  • Convert to vDisk
    • Run Optimization
  • Boot to vDisk into Private Mode
    • Test
    • Change C:Temp permissions…
      • Add Domain Users
        • Set to Modify
    • Change Pagefile to C: set to 4092mb (You most likely want this to match the amount of Physical RAM you have)
    • Change Radecache size accordingly.
    • Shutdown
  • Set image in standard mode…
    • And Deploy!…  Almost
      • For All new Turn up you will want to verify the following:
    • First login to the Provisioning Server Console:
      • Create the new Device(s) that will be using this image
      • Create the Active Directory Machine Accounts
      • Login to New Provisioned Servers verify all services are running correctly
      • Open Disk Manager, and Format the New Drive as NTFS
      • Reboot server
    • You will have to change the Following:
      • Login into the Citrix Access Management Console
      • Citrix Presentation Server Edition, à Change to Platinum Edition
      • Change Load evaluator
      • Move to correct Folder location
      • Go to the Servers Properties and Click Trust XML Request
      • Assign Correct Applications
    • Login to Citrix Presentation Server Console
      • Click on Policies
        • Right Click on “Enable Password Manager policy”
        • Select Apply this policy to…
        • Click on Servers
        • Locate the New Server(s) and enable them

As Promised updated from “And Deploy”

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