Category Archives: XenDesktop

Citrix Receiver Desktop Lock Demo


Why is a VDI Assessment a Good Idea?

I am going to start this off with a bit of a disclaimer.  I really am not trying to sell anything!  Just want to get the information out there, I highly recommend talking to your trusted advisor(s) before starting a PoC/Pilot just my two cents worth.

So you have most likely heard of a “VDI Assessment”, and may have even pondered the thought of having one done.  Well here are a few reasons to take the next step and get that Assessment.

Some of the main things I hear:

1. I want to go VDI but don’t have the resources…

2. I want to go VDI but it’s not “good” or doesn’t work well

3. I want to go VDI but it is to much over head NO ROI

I will just start right in…

1. Most likely you are half right about the resources. You most likely have the infrastrucure to support a VDI Environment, and you may even have the resources you just don’t know it, or you can “Exchange” one type of resource for another… I have seen many cases where we were able to get rid of OLD style VDI (RDP to Desktops) & (RDP one to one Servers) and move to a slimmer Thin Provisioned Style VDI Deployment. For example: Say you have 100 Desktop’s you want to Virtualize.  Windows 7 recommends you go no less then 24GB for a disk I recommend 30-50GB Depending on Application(s) needed. 2GB of RAM, and 2 vCPU’s (avg. config for win7). In theory, you would need 30GB x 100 Desktops in disc space alone!  This is not the case. You will only need 4GB x 100 Desktops as you will only need to account for the delta files (Cache Disk). Note: If you are running ESX you will also need to account for a SWAP file which is the same size as your machines RAM. In this example you would need 2GB x 100 extra disk space.

2. This is a common misconception, which in fact, is what most people see in self-deployed PoC’s and Pilots.  There are a number of tweaks your friendly Partner/VAR should know that will help improve performance and usability.  This is because “this is what we do”. We have ALOT of tricks up our sleeves. I have been involved with several Citrix Projects where “Citrix” was considered such a bad word that the Citrix team could hardly walk down the hall without getting mauled. In less then 6 months we had users asking to be moved to XenDesktop. Talk about a culture shift! Remote workers suddenly jumped by a good 15-20% because they could actually function while working remotely.  Everything roamed with them. (as advertised)  No more working in one environment while at work and a completely different environment while working remotely… Another common issue I see is a lot of people think going VDI also means going with some sort of application streaming, or thin-app.  This is not always the best solution, as it doesn’t necessarily save you all that much disk space in the long run. Using the example in Statement 1, the only thing you really need to be concerned about is your Delta (cache disks). So, in some cases, streamed or thin-apps can cause double the overhead.

3. Well this one is a fine line. Really, you can make VDI as simple or as complicated as you want :).  Most of the time I hear “My users won’t buy off on VDI.” Again, this is a false statement burnt into you from the Beginning of Statement 2.  With the proper configuration there is no reason users would complain and in most cases once the users logon they are hooked.  ROI really should be Return On Individual, if we can make our users (which in fact are our customers) happy and more Productive we have succeeded.  I have seen the cost estimation on the Individual’s time and that was staggering… We are talking 100’s of thousands of dollars a year in regained work and help desk calls.  I saw a customer where their computers would take roughly 10 minutes just to login, this was on top of the 10 minute boot time if you abide corporate policy and shutdown your machine which took 10 minutes… as you can see time was adding up in the NOT working area extremely fast. So for pretty much every HelpDesk call workers and the company where out about a half hour of actual work…  Now for the ROI part if you go with thin clients, and high capacity servers you can really start saving money just in power, then looking at the management of a VDI deployment this again saves money as everything is the Same! No guessing if a patch, update, or user screwed up the machine simply have them reboot and back to the Golden Desktop.

With all this being said, NOT every application, or use case is a “Good Fit” for VDI.  And this is one of the key discussion in having a VDI Assessment done, we can tell you whether or not going VDI is a good fit.

Thanks for reading.

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

Wyse Xenith and Citrix XenDesktop client drive mapping Issue

If you are receiving the following error: Network path not found. Have access with the UNC path. FTA generating error.  Then this should resolve the issue

1. Run Regedit.

2. Navigate to:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWARECitrixICA ClientEngineConfigurationAdvancedModulesClientDrive
3. Create the Reg Value: NativeDriveMapping
Reg Type: REG_SZ
Add the Value: True


Check out the following CTX for more details.


Thanks for reading

XenDesktop 5 and Windows 7 Default Profile

First, Create the base image, and base application installs.

Second, configure the applications, Desktop, Start menu and any other settings you want every new user to get.

Third, Create a new Local Administrator user account. Note that step two HAS to be done with a LOCAL user. Once everything is set the way you want, login with the new user account. Browse to C:Users Rename “Default” to “Default-OLD” or whatever makes sense to you. Then make a copy of the first Administrator’s account folder. Once it has successfully copied Rename it to “Default”.

Fourth, Run Sysprep… Yeah I know it is a pain, but so far this is the only way to really make this work every time. To run sysprep logout of the Second Administrator’s account and back in to the First. Disable the Second Admin account, and Delete the Users Profile. Now browse to c:windowssystem32sysprep Run sysprep leaving all defaults.

Fifth, Run back through the Windows 7 Setup wizard and you are all set, don’t forget to join it to the domain.

Now all you have to do is run the update wizard within XenDesktop 5.

Thanks for reading


Rough Data Map for XenDesktop 5

This is a rough draft Data Map for XenDesktop 5, it is a little on the Citrix bias but what can I say…


Just to note the XenServer cluster mainly is representing whatever subnet the VDA’s or Virtual Desktop Agents/Machines are running on.


Hope this helps, please comment if you have any questions.


Thanks for reading

XenDesktop 5 Agent Install

Sorry a little out of order but none the less the extremely easy install for Quick Deploy

Run Auto Select

Click Install Virtual Desktop Agent

Click Quick Deploy

Click Install

Leave Defaults and Click Close


Thanks for reading

Adding More Desktops to a Catalog and Assignment (Local SR)

When First Creating the Desktop Catalog this can take quite a while depending on how many “Local SR’s” you have in your Host connection. Once it is created it will fly, unless you add more storage because it has to copy the Base Image and Snapshots over to the new Storage Repository. Also you may have your XenCenter Disconnect depending on the network connection.


Desktop Host connection and Snapshot being used for the Current Catalog

Adding more Desktop’s to the Catalog

Add Desktop Wizard


Select the Correct Active Directory OU for the Desktops to be created in, as well as the naming convention Use “#” to represent numbering

Click Finish to start the Desktop Creation


You can check the status by hovering your mouse above the Catalog Name


Now we need to add the newly created Desktop’s to an Assignment/Desktop Group


Right Click and select Add Desktops

Select the amount desktop you want to add now


Click Finish and you are done


Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment if you have a question…

XenDesktop 5 Configuration (Local SR)

Just a quick and basic walk through of a Quick Deploy… Please comment if you would like to see more detailed, or deep dives into a specific area of XenServer/XenDesktop

Click Quick Deploy

Enter Site Name

Enter all above info… Click Next


Select the Correct Storage and Network Settings.

Select the Correct VM

Select the Correct OU, and Click next

Notice the type-o…


Thanks for reading

XenDesktop 5 Install

Just a very basic setup guide…

Download the latest install media from*

Extract the main Package and either Extract or Burn the XenDesktop 5 Media

Run AutoSelect

Select Install XenDesktop Server

Click “I accept the terms and conditions” only after reading and accepting the terms yourself

Click Next

Leave Defaults

Click Next

Click Next

Click Install

Click Close

New Console!

More to come on this…

Thanks for reading…

%d bloggers like this: