Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops service

Get started: Install and configure

If you’re not familiar with the components and terminology used with this service, see Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops service.

For a customer journey perspective, go to the Citrix Success Center. The Success Center provides guidance for the five key stages of your Citrix journey: plan, build, rollout, manage, and optimize.

  • The Success Center information is an essential partner to this product documentation.
  • Success Center articles and guides offer a broad solution-based perspective. They also contain links to service-specific details in this product documentation.

How to use this article

To set up your Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops service deployment, complete the following tasks.

Review the entire process before starting the deployment, so you know what to expect. This article also links to other helpful information sources.


If you plan to use the Quick Deploy interface to provision machines using Microsoft Azure, follow the setup guidance in Quick Deploy.

Plan and prepare

Use the Success Center Plan guidance to help establish goals, define use cases and business objectives, identify potential risks, and create a project plan.

In the Citrix Tech Zone documentation, see a step-by-step proof of concept guide for this service.

Sign up

Sign up for a Citrix account and request a Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops service demo.

Set up a resource location (Connect to infrastructure)

Create a resource location and add Cloud Connectors.

More information:

If you’re using the Quick Deploy interface to provision Azure VMs, Citrix creates the resource location and Cloud Connectors for you.

Create a connection to the resource location

After you add a resource location and Cloud Connectors, create a connection from the service’s control plane to the resource location.

This step isn’t necessary in either of the following cases:

  • You’re building a simple proof of concept deployment
  • You’re using the Quick Deploy interface to provision Azure VMs.

More information:

Install VDAs (Register resources)

Each machine that delivers applications and desktops to users must have a Citrix Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA) installed on it.

  • For a simple proof of concept deployment, download and install a VDA on one machine.
  • If you’re using an image to provision VMs, install a VDA on the image.
  • For a Remote PC Access deployment, install the core version of the VDA for single-session OS on each physical office PC.

How-to and more information:

Create a catalog (Create a collection of resources)

After you create a connection to your resource location (if needed), you create a catalog. If you’re using the service’s full configuration Manage interface, the workflow guides you automatically to this step.

How-to and more information:

Create a delivery group (Assign users)

After you create your first catalog, the Manage workflow guides you to create a delivery group.

This step isn’t necessary if you’re using the Quick Deploy interface to provision Azure VMs.

How-to and more information:

Launch applications and desktops

After you complete the preceding tasks, publishing occurs automatically. Applications and desktops that you configured are available to users in their Citrix workspace. A user simply navigates to their workspace URL and selects an application or desktop, which launches immediately.

Send the Workspace URL to your users. The workspace URL is available in two places:

  • From the Citrix Cloud console, select Workspace Configuration from the menu in the upper left corner. The Access tab contains the Workspace URL.
  • From the Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops service Overview page, the workspace URL appears near the bottom of the page.

More information:

  • Video about launching applications and desktops from your workspace:

    Video of launching applications and desktops

What’s next

After you complete the tasks above that set up the Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops deployment, follow the guidance in the Build area of the Citrix Success Center. You’ll find information about provisioning and configuring other components and technologies in the Citrix solution, such as:

  • Citrix policies
  • App Layering
  • Workspace Environment Management (WEM) Service
  • Citrix ADC
  • Citrix Gateway

Complete other tasks that might apply to your configuration.

Other considerations

Complete the following tasks, if they apply to your deployment.

Configure a Microsoft RDS License Server for Windows Server workloads

This section applies when you are delivering Windows Server workloads.

This service accesses Windows Server remote session capabilities when delivering a Windows Server workload, such as Windows 2016. This typically requires a Remote Desktop Services client access license (RDS CAL). The VDA must be able to contact an RDS license server to request RDS CALs. Install and activate the license server. For more information, see the Microsoft document Activate the Remote Desktop Services License Server. For proof of concept environments, you can use the grace period provided by Microsoft.

With this method, you can have this service apply the license server settings. You can configure the license server and per user mode in the RDS console on the image. You can also configure the license server using Microsoft Group Policy settings. For more information, see the Microsoft document License your RDS deployment with client access licenses (CALs).

To configure the RDS license server using Group Policy settings:

  1. Install a Remote Desktop Services License Server on an available VM. The VM must always be available. The Citrix service workloads must be able to reach this license server.
  2. Specify the license server address and per-user license mode using Microsoft Group Policy. For details, see the Microsoft document Specify the Remote Desktop Licensing Model for an RD Session Host Server.

Windows 10 workloads require appropriate Windows 10 license activation. We recommend that you follow Microsoft documentation to activate Windows 10 workloads.