We have a number of functional expectations to test prior to Upgrading to Citrix Receiver 4.2. It is imperative that things as simple as ‘desktop shortcuts’, appropriate start menu integration and XenApp session sharing work to keep the end users happy and prevent the “same ole service calls being logged again”.
- A 100% dynamic client start menu (locally or in the XA/XD sessions – built based on the apps published to them) and support for XenApp6.5 session sharing
- Ideally one storefront “store” and one receiver version if possible deployed across the organisation (if support for all features exists)
- We would prefer not to rely on web interface servers if it can be helped.
- Simple desktop and start menu shortcut management with filtering based on device or platform (presently we use separate web interface sites)
- Support for File type association and Prelaunch.
Nice to haves / Things to test.
Company Laptop & desktops: Selective or filtered apps on the clients desktops (to avoid conflict with citrix published apps like Citrix outlook vs local outlook) to XenApp 4.5, XenApp 6.5 and XenDesktop 7.6.
Citrix desktop: End user ‘refresh’ on the XenApp desktop (without logging off)
Issues Encountered with Citrix Receiver 4.2
Session Sharing still broken: Whilst the configuration is not officially supported running the receiver via a published XA6.5 desktop and launching a Citrix app would start a brand new session even launching it on the same server.
Receiver Disconnects: During opening, launching or refreshing of the receiver (inside a Citrix session) the local Citrix session would disconnect http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX136339
Shortcut refresh slow: In selfservicemode=false or with user subscriptions disabled (effectively making all apps mandatory) the initial log into receiver would deploy the apps to the start menu under 2 minutes (which is slow compared to pnagent and depending on how many apps were available for your login) following this Citrix article we also set the InitialRefreshMinMs and MaxMs to 1 http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX200337
Receiver not started automatically for new users logging onto the workstation:
We had to set a shortcut in the users startup folder or regrun keys for the receiver to open.
We decided against recommending the selfservicemode=false option in combination with receiver deployments script to end user devices (as its much more difficult to reverse) rather we’d recommend to use the group policy ADM that comes with the new client to manage the selfservicemode so you can easily change it later if desired.
GPO Location: C:\Program Files(x86)\Citrix\ICA Client\Configuration\icaclient.adm
Kiosk Users: if you have a generic desktop login and people each use their own credentials just for citrix its best to just use storefrontweb as the receiver shortcut deployment to the start menu and even in the receiver window constantly got confused between the different logged on users and was definitely too slow to be a usable solution. Possibly this could be fixed with the GPO ‘Remove Apps on Logoff’
Storefront Filtering is per store: If we filtered an application (by its keyword: description) it was effectively hidden from all parts of that store including
- Storefront web
- Legacy Config xml receiver
- Regardless of any other store settings (new subscriptions enabled or disabled or the app set to mandatory)
See here how to configure Storefront Filtering
Mandatory Apps Ignore Start Menu Directory:
Via GPO we tried forcing the Start Menu directory (different to what the app has published) which worked for all applications except some instances of mandatory apps refused to move. This was most obvious when the user had already synced their apps to the start menu then the start menu directory was forced via GPO.
XA6.5 Published App Start Menu Folder property name is ignored:
Receiver only uses the “Client Application folder” varilable for the shortcut publication.
This makes more sense however when looking at application publication in the Citrix Studio for XenApp 7.6.
Changing the Start menu Path left all the old shortcuts initially unusable:
Changing the start menu path after a user had already sync with the store resulted in all the shortcuts being completely recreated under the new folder hierarchy, whilst the old path was left (during the sync) intact, but unusable.
Running the old shortcuts resulted in the fun message:
After the initial sync completed again (took over 2-3 minutes as I had heaps of published shortcuts) the old folder ‘Citrix’ was eventually removed.
Desktop shortcuts delivered in folders: If an application is published in the XA6.5 console with a Client Application folder, and the app is published to the desktop as well the Client application folder is also created.
Shortcuts doubled up: If there was an application with the same name locally as remote, we would end up with 2 – making it confusing for the end users – Citrix’s solution to this is the “keyword: Prefer” in the application description – which we found continued to only launch the Citrix application.
See here for an excellent explanation of the supported Storefront and Receiver Keywords: http://www.martijnhs.com/2014/05/08/citrix-storefront-keywords-explained/
The deployment method we have had most success with (so far) has been:
- The Citrix Receiver 4.2 packaged and deployed simply with “CitrixReceiver4.2.100.exe /includeSSON” (no other commands or calls)
- The actual storefront Store configured via GPO
- The SSO option enabled via GPO
- The storefront site added to trusted or intranet sites
- The SSO options/passthrough setting enabled in the storefront servers / site
- We enabled The Shortcut managment options to stop confusion for end users (all citrix apps delivered in a start menu sub folder)
- We also disabled the selfservicemode via gpo rather than forcing it during the installation in the 4.2 receiver.
- We forced the receiver to connect to the store asap by: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Citrix\Dazzle]
- We placed the receiver in the Startup Folder of the local machine, so it would launch automatically
This configuration would also mean that ALL the application shortcut are all delivered to the users start menu, but people connecting via the ‘storefront web’ page can still have subscriptions enabled so they don’t see things like the accessories published apps ‘calc, or snipping tool or magnifier etc’ from the ‘storefront web’.
*Additional Note: If upgrading existing users devices, you may find it useful to set the legacy web interface to delete / remove all shortcuts on logoff / exit – that way you can be 99% sure that there there should be no remnants of the legacy clients shortcuts on the desktop or star menu etc for the end users
Windows Desktops / Clients
The 4.2 Citrix receiver is an absolute must have for 3D Pro / HDX graphics, the improvements are numerous for graphics display and the smoothness of 3D apps. When deploying 4.2 locally with self service it grants the users that little bit of flexibility and control over their own start menu and the customisable GPO can help you easily change your mind later should the need arise.
On a XenApp published desktop where session sharing is still broken with Receiver 4.2 we are going to stick with Citrix Receiver 3.4 enterprise Cumulative Update 4 and have it pointing to the storefront legacy config.xml file for now – which delivers the full dynamic Citrix start menu and still supports session sharing.
It is incredibly frustrating as an integrator and even as an end user to see ‘similar’ issues that Citrix has previously fixed in prior versions of their ICA Client reappearing all over again in the new Receiver, it certainly does nothing for their reputation.
We are very interested to hear how other people are managing their upgrades and end user shotcuts. Does anyone have a simpler, quicker, inexpensive and truly dynamic way to manage end user shortcuts whilst still conglomerating the users application experience from all their platforms (i.e local client apps, Citrix apps, Microsoft SCCM, VMWare thinapp and Microsoft App-V to name a few) and still support things like true session sharing and access gateway filtering??? Drop us a line.
Also please see this excellent article to address or workaround some of the problems described above.