Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops

Install VDAs


If you’re upgrading, and your current version has the Personal vDisk or AppDisks software installed, see Removing PvD, AppDisks, and unsupported hosts.

There are two types of VDAs for Windows machines: VDA for multi-session OS and VDA for single-session OS. (For information about VDAs for Linux machines, see the Linux Virtual Delivery Agent documentation.)

Before starting an installation, review Prepare to install and complete all preparation tasks.

Before installing VDAs, install the core components. You can also create the site before installing VDAs.

This article describes the installation wizard sequence when installing a VDA. Command-line equivalents are provided. For details, see Install using the command line.

Step 1. Download the product software and launch the wizard

If you’re using the full-product installer:

  1. If you haven’t downloaded the product ISO yet:
    • Use your Citrix account credentials to access the Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops download page. Download the product ISO file.
    • Unzip the file. Optionally, burn a DVD of the ISO file.
  2. Use a local administrator account on the image or machine where you’re installing the VDA. Insert the DVD in the drive or mount the ISO file. If the installer does not launch automatically, double-click the AutoSelect application or the mounted drive.

    The installation wizard launches.

If you’re using a standalone package:

  1. Use your Citrix account credentials to access the Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops download page. Download the appropriate package:
    • VDAServerSetup.exe: Multi-session OS VDA version
    • VDAWorkstationSetup.exe: Single-session OS VDA version
    • VDAWorkstationCoreSetup.exe: Single-session OS Core Services VDA version
  2. Right-click the package and choose Run as administrator.

    The installation wizard launches.

Step 2. Choose which product to install

Product to install page in component installer

Click Start next to the product to install: Citrix Virtual Apps or Citrix Virtual Desktops. (If the machine already has a Citrix Virtual Apps or Citrix Virtual Desktops component installed, this page does not appear.)

Command-line option: /xenapp to install Citrix Virtual Apps. Citrix Virtual Desktops is installed if this option is omitted.

Step 3. Select the VDA

Component selection page in component installer

Select the Virtual Delivery Agent entry. The installer knows whether it’s running on a single-session or multi-session OS, so it offers only the appropriate VDA type.

For example, when you run the installer on a Windows Server 2016 machine, the VDA for multi-session OS option is available. The VDA for single-session OS option is not offered.

If you try to install (or upgrade to) a Windows VDA on an OS that is not supported for this Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops version, a message guides you to information about options.

Step 4. Specify how the VDA will be used

Environment page in VDA installer

On the Environment page, specify how you plan to use the VDA, indicating whether you’ll use this machine as an image to provision more machines.

The option you choose affects which Citrix provisioning tools are installed automatically (if any), and the default values on the Additional Components page of the VDA installer.

Several MSIs (provisioning and other) are installed automatically when you install a VDA. The only way to prevent their installation is with the /exclude option in a command-line installation.

Choose one of the following:

  • Create a master MCS image: Select this option to install a VDA on a VM image, if you plan to use Machine Creation Services to provision VMs. This option installs the Machine Identity Service. This is the default option.

    Command-line option: /mastermcsimage or /masterimage


The installation media or ISO image must be mounted locally. Mounting an ISO image off a network drive for the purposes of installing software is not supported.

  • Create a master image using Citrix Provisioning or third-party provisioning tools: Select this option to install a VDA on a VM image, if you plan to use either Citrix Provisioning or third-party provisioning tools (such as Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager) to provision VMs.

    Command-line option: /masterpvsimage

  • (Appears only on multi-session OS machines) Enable brokered connections to a server: Select this option to install a VDA on a physical or virtual machine that is not used as an image to provision other machines.

    Command-line option: /remotepc

  • (Appears only on single-session OS machines) Enable Remote PC Access: Select this option to install a VDA on a physical machine for use with Remote PC Access.

    Command-line option: /remotepc

Click Next.

This page does not appear:

  • If you’re upgrading a VDA
  • If you are using the VDAWorkstationCoreSetup.exe installer

Step 5. Select the components to install and the installation location

Core components page in VDA installer

On the Core components page:

  • Location: By default, components are installed in C:\Program Files\Citrix. This default is fine for most deployments. If you specify a different location, that location must have execute permissions for network service.
  • Components: By default, Citrix Workspace app for Windows is not installed with the VDA. If you are using the VDAWorkstationCoreSetup.exe installer, Citrix Workspace app for Windows is never installed, so this check box is not displayed.

Click Next.

Command-line options: /installdir, /components vda,plugin to install the VDA and the Citrix Workspace app for Windows

Step 6. Install additional components

Additional Components page in VDA installer

The Additional Components page contains checkboxes to enable or disable installation of other features and technologies with the VDA. In a command-line installation, you can use the /exclude or /includeadditional option to expressly omit or include one or more available components.

The following table indicates the default setting of items on this page. The default setting depends on the option that you selected on the Environment page.

Additional Components page Environment page: “Master image with MCS” or “Master image with Citrix Provisioning” selected Environment page: “Enable brokered connections to server” (for multi-session OS) or “Remote PC Access” (for single-session OS) selected
Workspace Environment Management Not selected Not selected
Citrix Personalization for App-V Not selected Not selected
User Personalization Layer Not selected Not shown because it’s not valid for this use case.
Citrix Supportability tools Selected Not selected
Citrix Profile Management Selected Not selected
Citrix Profile Management WMI Plug-in Selected Not selected
Citrix VDA Upgrade Agent Not selected Not selected
Citrix Files for Windows Not selected Not selected
Citrix Files for Outlook Not selected Not selected
MCSIO writes cache for storage optimization Not selected Not selected
Rendezvous protocol configuration Not selected Not selected

This page does not appear if:

  • You are using the VDAWorkstationCoreSetup.exe installer. Also, the command-line options for the additional components are not valid with that installer.
  • You are upgrading a VDA and all the additional components are already installed. If some of the additional components are already installed, the page lists only components that are not installed.

Select or clear the following check boxes. (The components might appear in a different order in the installer.)

  • Workspace Environment Management: Install this component if your deployment uses Citrix Workspace Environment Management. For details, see Workspace Environment Management.

    Command-line options: /includeadditional "Citrix WEM Agent" to enable component installation, /exclude "Citrix WEM Agent" to prevent component installation

  • Citrix Personalization for App-V: Install this component if you use applications from Microsoft App-V packages. For details, see App-V.

    Command-line option: /includeadditional "Citrix Personalization for App-V – VDA" to enable component installation, /exclude "Citrix Personalization for App-V – VDA" to prevent component installation

  • Citrix User Personalization Layer: Installs the MSI for the user personalization layer. For details, see User personalization layer.

    This component appears only when installing a VDA on a single-session Windows 10 machine.

    Command-line option: /includeadditional "User Personalization Layer" to enable component installation, /exclude "User Personalization Layer" to prevent component installation

  • Citrix Supportability Tools Installs the MSI that contains Citrix supportability tools, such as the Citrix Health Assistant.

    Command-line option: /includeadditional "Citrix Supportability Tools" to enable component installation, /exclude "Citrix Supportability Tools" to prevent component installation

  • Citrix Profile Management: This component manages user personalization settings in user profiles. For details, see Profile Management.

    Excluding Citrix Profile Management from the installation affects the monitoring and troubleshooting of VDAs with Citrix Director. On the User details and End Point pages, the Personalization panel and the Logon Duration panel fail. On the Dashboard and Trends pages, the Average Logon Duration panel display data only for machines that have Profile Management installed.

    Even if you are using a third-party user profile management solution, Citrix recommends that you install and run the Citrix Profile Management Service. Enabling the Citrix Profile Management Service is not required.

    Command-line option: /includeadditional "Citrix Profile Management" to enable component installation, /exclude "Citrix Profile Management" to prevent component installation

  • Citrix Profile Management WMI plug-in: This plug-in provides Profile Management runtime information in WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation) objects (for example, profile provider, profile type, size, and disk usage). WMI objects provide session information to the Director.

    Command-line option: /includeadditional "Citrix Profile Management WMI Plugin" to enable component installation, /exclude "Citrix Profile Management WMI Plugin" to prevent component installation

  • VDA Upgrade Agent: Applicable only to Citrix DaaS (formerly Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops service) deployments. Enables the VDA to participate in the VDA Upgrade feature. You can use that feature to upgrade a catalog’s VDAs from the management console, immediately or at a scheduled time. If this agent is not installed, you can upgrade a VDA by running the VDA installer on the machine.

    Command-line options: /includeadditional "Citrix VDA Upgrade Agent" to enable component installation, /exclude "Citrix VDA Upgrade Agent" to prevent component installation

  • Citrix Files for Windows: This component enables users to connect to their Citrix Files account. They can then interact with Citrix Files through a mapped drive in the Windows file system (without requiring a full sync of their content). For more information, see Content Collaboration.

    Command-line options: /includeadditional "Citrix Files for Windows" to enable component installation, /exclude "Citrix Files for Windows" to prevent component installation

  • Citrix Files for Outlook: Citrix Files for Outlook allows you to bypass file size restrictions and add security to your attachments or emails by sending them through Citrix Files. You can provide a secure file upload request for co-workers, customers, and partners directly in your email. For more information, see Content Collaboration.

    Command-line options: /includeadditional "Citrix Files for Outlook" to enable component installation, /exclude "Citrix Files for Outlook" to prevent component installation

  • MCSIO write cache for storage optimization: Installs the Citrix MCS IO driver. For more information, see Storage shared by hypervisors and Configure cache for temporary data.

    Command-line options: /includeadditional "Citrix MCS IODriver" to enable component installation, /exclude "Citrix MCS IODriver" to prevent component installation

  • Rendezvous Proxy Configuration: Install this component if you plan to use the Rendezvous protocol with the Citrix Gateway Service in your environment, and you have a non-transparent proxy in your network for outbound connections. Only HTTP proxies are supported.

    If you install this component, specify the address of the proxy or PAC file path on the Rendezvous Proxy Configuration page. For feature details, see Rendezvous protocol.

    Command-line option: /includeadditional "Citrix Rendezvous V2" to enable component installation, /exclude "Citrix Rendezvous V2" to prevent component installation

Step 7. Workspace Environment Management

The Workspace Environment Management (WEM) page appears only when you enable the corresponding check box on the Additional Components page.

  1. Select whether you have a WEM on-premises or WEM cloud (service) deployment.
  2. Add an FQDN or IP address. Special characters are ignored.
    • For WEM on-premises: Address of WEM Infrastructure Server

      Specifying WEM Infrastructure Server in VDA installer


      You might see the following error message when you test a WEM server connection: Unable to establish connection with "<the address you entered>". If the address is correct and the server is contactable, you can dismiss the message.

    • For WEM service: Address of Cloud Connector

      Specifying Cloud Connectors for WEM in VDA installer

  3. Click Test Connection. The port must be open in the firewall.
  4. After a successful connection test, click Add.
  5. For a WEM service deployment, repeat steps 2-4 for other Cloud Connectors.
  6. Click Next.

Command-line options: /wem_server, /wem_cloud_connectors

More WEM agent configuration options are available in the command-line interface. See command-line installation options.

Step 8. Delivery Controller addresses

Delivery Controller page in VDA installer

On the Delivery Controller page, choose how you want to enter the addresses of installed Controllers. Citrix recommends that you specify the addresses while you’re installing the VDA (Do it manually). The VDA cannot register with a Controller until it has this information. If a VDA cannot register, users cannot access applications and desktops on that VDA.

  • Do it manually: (default) Enter the FQDN of an installed Controller and then click Add. If you’ve installed more Controllers, add their addresses.
  • Do it later (Advanced): If you choose this option, the wizard asks you to confirm that’s what you want to do before continuing. To specify addresses later, you can either rerun the installer or use the Citrix Group Policy. The wizard also reminds you on the Summary page.
  • Choose locations from Active Directory: Valid only when the machine is joined to a domain and the user is a domain user.
  • Let Machine Creation Services do it automatically: Valid only when using MCS to provision machines.

Click Next. If you selected Do it later (Advanced), you are prompted to confirm that you will specify Controller addresses later.

Other considerations:

  • The address cannot contain non-alphanumeric characters.
  • If you specify addresses during VDA installation and in Group Policy, the policy settings override the settings provided during installation.
  • Successful VDA registration requires that the firewall ports used to communicate with the Controller are open. That action is enabled by default on the Firewall page of the wizard.
  • After you specify Controller locations (during or after VDA installation), you can use the auto-update feature to update the VDAs when Controllers are added or removed. For details about how VDAs discover and register with Controllers, see VDA registration.

Command-line option: /controllers

Step 9. Rendezvous Proxy Configuration

Rendezvous Proxy Configuration page in VDA installer

The Rendezvous Proxy Configuration page appears only if you enabled the Rendezvous Proxy Configuration check box on the Additional Components page.

  1. Select whether you will specify the proxy source by proxy address or PAC file path.
  2. Specify the proxy address or PAC file path.

    • Proxy address format: http://<url-or-ip>:<port>
    • PAC file format: http://<url-or-ip>:<port>/<path>/<filename>.pac

The firewall for the proxy port must be open for the connection test to succeed. If a connection cannot be made to the proxy, you can choose whether to continue with the VDA installation.

Command-line option: /proxyconfig

Step 10. Enable or disable features

Features page in VDA installer

On the Features page, use the check boxes to enable or disable the features you want to use.

  • Use Windows Remote Assistance: When this feature is enabled, Windows Remote Assistance is used with the user shadowing feature of Director. Windows Remote Assistance opens the dynamic ports in the firewall. (Default = disabled)

    Command-line option: /enable_remote_assistance

  • Use Real-Time Audio Transport for audio: Enable this feature if voice-over-IP is widely used in your network. The feature reduces latency and improves audio resilience over lossy networks. It allows audio data to be transmitted using RTP over UDP transport. (Default = disabled)

    Command-line option: /enable_real_time_transport

  • Use screen sharing: When enabled, ports used by screen sharing are opened in the Windows firewall. (Default = disabled)

    Command-line option: /enable_ss_ports

  • Is this VDA installed on a VM in a cloud: This setting helps Citrix to correctly identify resource locations for on-premises and service (Citrix Cloud) VDA deployments for telemetry purposes. This feature has no impact on customer-side utilization. Enable this setting if your deployment uses Citrix DaaS (Default = disabled).

    Command-line option: /xendesktopcloud

If this page contains a feature named MCS I/O, do not use it. The MCS IO feature is configured on the Additional Components page.

Click Next.

Step 11. Firewall ports

Firewall page in VDA installer

On the Firewall page, by default, the ports are opened automatically if the Windows Firewall Service is running, even if the firewall is not enabled. This default setting is fine for most deployments. For port information, see Network ports.

Click Next.

Command-line option: /enable_hdx_ports

Step 12. Review prerequisites and confirm installation

Summary page in VDA installer

The Summary page lists what will be installed. Use the Back button to return to earlier wizard pages and change selections.

(Single-session VDAs only) Select the Enable automatic restore if update fails check box to enable the restore on failure feature. For details, see Restore on install or upgrade failure.

When you’re ready, click Install.

If the prerequisites aren’t already installed or enabled, the machine might restart once or more times. See Prepare to install.

Step 13. Diagnostics

Diagnostics page in VDA installer

On the Diagnostics page, choose whether to participate in Citrix Call Home. If you choose to participate (the default), click Connect. When prompted, enter your Citrix account credentials.

After your credentials are validated (or if you choose not to participate), click Next.

When using the full product installer, if you click Connect on the Diagnostics page without first selecting Collect diagnostic information, after you close the Connect to Citrix Insight Services dialog the Next button is disabled. You cannot move to the next page. To reenable the Next button, select and immediately deselect Collect diagnostic information.

For more information, see Call Home.

Step 14. Complete this installation

Finish Installation page in VDA installer

The Finish page contains green check marks for all prerequisites and components that installed and initialized successfully.

Click Finish. By default, the machine restarts automatically. Although you can disable this automatic restart, the VDA cannot be used until the machine restarts.

Next steps

Repeat the procedure above to install VDAs on other machines or images, if needed.

After you install all VDAs, launch Studio. If you haven’t created a site yet, Studio automatically guides you to that task. After that’s done, Studio guides you to create a machine catalog and then a delivery group. See:

Citrix Optimizer

Citrix Optimizer is a tool for Windows OS that helps Citrix administrators optimize VDAs by removing and optimizing various components.

After installing a VDA and completing the final restart, download and install Citrix Optimizer. See CTX224676. The CTX article contains the download package, plus instructions about installing and using Citrix Optimizer.

Customize a VDA

To customize an installed VDA:

  1. From the Windows feature for removing or changing programs, select Citrix Virtual Delivery Agent or Citrix Remote PC Access/VDI Core Services VDA. Then right-click and select Change.
  2. Select Customize Virtual Delivery Agent Settings. When the installer launches, you can change:

    • Controller addresses
    • TCP/IP port to register with the Controller (default = 80)
    • Whether to open Windows Firewall ports automatically


  • For information about how Citrix reports the result of component installations, see Citrix installation return codes.

  • In the Studio display for a delivery group, the Installed VDA version entry in the Details pane might not be the version installed on the machines. The machine’s Windows Programs and Features display shows the actual VDA version.

  • After a VDA is installed, it cannot deliver apps or a desktop to users until it registers with a Delivery Controller.

    To learn about VDA registration methods and how to troubleshoot registration issues, see VDA registration.