The personal vDisk feature retains the single image management of pooled and streamed desktops while allowing users to install applications and change their desktop settings. Unlike traditional Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) deployments involving pooled desktops, where users lose their customization and personal applications when the administrator changes the master image, deployments using personal vDisks retain those changes. This means administrators can easily and centrally manage their master images while providing users with a customized and personalized desktop experience.
Personal vDisks provide this separation by redirecting all changes made on the user’s VM to a separate disk (the personal vDisk), which is attached to the user’s VM. The content of the personal vDisk is blended at runtime with the content from the master image to provide a unified experience. In this way, users can still access applications provisioned by their administrator in the master image.
Personal vDisks have two parts, which use different drive letters and are by default equally sized:
- User profile - This contains user data, documents, and the user profile. By default this uses drive P: but you can choose a different drive letter when you create a catalog with machines using personal vDisks. The drive used also depends on the EnableUserProfileRedirection setting.
- Virtual Hard Disk (.vhd) file - This contains all other items, for example applications installed in C:\Program Files. This part is not displayed in Windows Explorer and, since Version 5.6.7, does not require a drive letter.
Personal vDisks support the provisioning of department-level applications, as well as applications downloaded and installed by users, including those that require drivers (except phase 1 drivers), databases, and machine management software. If a user’s change conflicts with an administrator’s change, the personal vDisk provides a simple and automatic way to reconcile the changes.
In addition, locally administered applications (such as those provisioned and managed by local IT departments) can also be provisioned into the user’s environment. The user experiences no difference in usability; personal vDisks ensure all changes made and all applications installed are stored on the vDisk. Where an application on a personal vDisk exactly matches one on a master image, the copy on the personal vDisk is discarded to save space without the user losing access to the application.
Physically, you store personal vDisks on the hypervisor but they do not have to be in the same location as other disks attached to the virtual desktop. This can lower the cost of personal vDisk storage.
During Site creation, when you create a connection, you define storage locations for disks that are used by VMs. You can separate the Personal vDisks from the disks used by the operating system. Each VM must have access to a storage location for both disks. If you use local storage for both, they must be accessible from the same hypervisor. To ensure this requirement is met, Studio offers only compatible storage locations. Later, you can also add personal vDisks and storage for them to existing hosts (but not machine catalogs) from Configuration > Hosting in Studio.
Back up personal vDisks regularly using any preferred method. The vDisks are standard volumes in a hypervisor’s storage tier, so you can back them up, just like any other volume.
What’s new in personal vDisk 7.6.1
The following improvements are included in this release:
- This version of personal vDisk contains performance improvements that reduce the amount of time it takes to apply an image update to a personal vDisk catalog.
The following known issues are fixed in this release:
- Attempting an in-place upgrade of a base virtual machine from Microsoft Office 2010 to Microsoft Office 2013 resulted in the user seeing a reconfiguration window followed by an error message; “Error 25004. The product key you entered cannot be used on this machine.” In the past, it was recommended that Office 2010 be uninstalled in the base virtual machine before installing Office 2013. Now, it is no longer necessary to uninstall Office 2010 when performing an in-place upgrade to the base virtual machine (#391225).
- During the image update process, if a higher version of Microsoft .NET exists on the user’s personal vDisk, it was overwritten by a lower version from the base image. This caused issues for users running certain applications installed on personal vDisk which required the higher version, such as Visual Studio (#439009).
- A Provisioning Services imaged disk with personal vDisk installed and enabled, cannot be used to create a non-personal vdisk machine catalog. This restriction has been removed (#485189).
About Personal vDisk 7.6
New in version 7.6:
- Improved personal vDisk error handling and reporting. In Studio, when you display PvD-enabled machines in a catalog, a “PvD” tab provides monitoring status during image updates, plus estimated completion time and progress. Enhanced state displays are also provided.
- A personal vDisk Image Update Monitoring Tool for earlier releases is available from the ISO media (ISO\Support\Tools\Scripts\PvdTool). Monitoring capabilities are supported for previous releases, however the reporting capabilities will not be as robust compared to the current release.
- Provisioning Services test mode allows you to boot machines with an updated image in a test catalog. After you verify its stability, you can promote the test version of the personal vDisk to production.
- A new feature enables you to calculate the delta between two inventories during an inventory, instead of calculating it for each PvD desktop. New commands are provided to export and import a previous inventory for MCS catalogs. (Provisioning Services master vDisks already have the previous inventory.)
Known issues from 7.1.3 fixed in version 7.6:
- Interrupting a personal vDisk installation upgrade can result in corrupting an existing personal vDisk installation. [#424878]
- A virtual desktop may become unresponsive if the personal vDisk runs for an extended period of time and a non-page memory leak occurs. [#473170]
New known issues in version 7.6:
- The presence of antivirus products can affect how long it takes to run the inventory or perform an update. Performance can improve if you add CtxPvD.exe and CtxPvDSvc.exe to the PROCESS exclusion list of your antivirus product. These files are located in C:\Program Files\Citrix\personal vDisk\bin. [#326735]
- Hard links between files inherited from the master image are not preserved in personal vDisk catalogs. [#368678]
- After upgrading from Office 2010 to 2013 on the Personal vDisk master image, Office might fail to launch on virtual machines because the Office KMS licensing product key was removed during the upgrade. As a workaround, uninstall Office 2010 and reinstall Office 2013 on the master image. [#391225]
- Personal vDisk catalogs do not support VMware Paravirtual SCSI (PVSCSI) controllers. To prevent this issue, use the default controller. [#394039]
- For virtual desktops that were created with Personal vDisk version 5.6.0 and are upgraded to 7, users who logged on to the master virtual machine (VM) previously might not find all their files in their pooled VM. This issue occurs because a new user profile is created when they log on to their pooled VM. There is no workaround for this issue. [#392459]
- Personal vDisks running Windows 7 cannot use the Backup and Restore feature when the Windows system protection feature is enabled. If system protection is disabled, the user profile is backed up, but the userdata.v2.vhd file is not. Citrix recommends disabling system protection and using Backup and Restore to back up the user profile. [#360582]
- When you create a VHD file on the base VM using the Disk Management tool, you might be unable to mount the VHD. As a workaround, copy the VHD to the PvD volume. [#355576]
- Office 2010 shortcuts remain on virtual desktops after this software is removed. To work around this issue, delete the shortcuts. [#402889]
- When using Microsoft Hyper-V, you cannot create a catalog of machines with personal vDisks when the machines are stored locally and the vDisks are stored on Cluster Shared Volumes (CSVs); catalog creation fails with an error. To work around this issue, use an alternative storage setup for the vDisks. [#423969]
- When you log on for the first time to a virtual desktop that is created from a Provisioning Services catalog, the desktop prompts for a restart if the personal vDisk has been reset (using the command ctxpvd.exe -s reset). To work around this issue, restart the desktop as prompted. This is a once-only reset that is not required when you log on again. [#340186]
- If you install .NET 4.5 on a personal vDisk and a later image update installs or modifies .NET 4.0, applications that are dependent on .NET 4.5 fail. To work around this issue, distribute .NET 4.5 from the base image as an image update.”
- See also the Known Issues documentation for the XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 release.
About Personal vDisk 7.1.3
Known issues from 7.1.1 fixed in version 7.1.3:
- Direct upgrades from personal vDisk 5.6.0 to personal vDisk 7.x may cause the personal vDisk to fail. [#432992]
- Users might only be able to connect intermittently to virtual desktops with personal vDisks. [#437203]
- If a personal vDisk image update operation is interrupted while personal vDisk 5.6.5 or later is upgraded to personal vDisk 7.0 or later, subsequent update operations can fail. [#436145]
About Personal vDisk 7.1.1
Known issues from 7.1 fixed in version 7.1.1:
- Upgrading to Symantec Endpoint Protection 12.1.3 through an image update causes symhelp.exe to report corrupt antivirus definitions. [#423429]
- Personal vDisk can cause pooled desktops to restart if Service Control Manager (services.exe) crashes. [#0365351]
New known issues in version 7.1.1: none
About Personal vDisk 7.1
New in version 7.1:
- You can now use Personal vDisk with desktops running Windows 8.1, and event logging has been improved.
- Copy-on-Write (CoW) is no longer supported. When upgrading from Version 7.0 to 7.1 of Personal vDisk, all changes to data managed by CoW are lost. This was a feature for evaluation in XenDesktop 7 and was disabled by default, so if you did not enable it, you are not affected.
Known issues from 7.0.1 fixed in version 7.1:
- If the value of the Personal vDisk registry key EnableProfileRedirection is set to 1 or ON, and later, while updating the image, you change it to 0 or OFF, the entire Personal vDisk space might get allocated to user-installed applications, leaving no space for user profiles, which remain on the vDisk. If this profile redirection is disabled for a catalog and you enable it during an image update, users might not be able to log on to their virtual desktop. [#381921]
- The Desktop Service does not log the correct error in the Event Viewer when a Personal vDisk inventory update fails. [#383331]
- When upgrading to Personal vDisk 7.x, modified rules are not preserved. This issue has been fixed for upgrades from Version 7.0 to Version 7.1. When upgrading from Version 5.6.5 to Version 7.1, you must first save the rule file and then apply the rules again after the upgrade. [#388664]
- Personal vDisks running Windows 8 cannot install applications from the Windows Store. An error message stating, “Your purchase couldn’t be completed,” appears. Enabling the Windows Update Service does not resolve this issue, which has now been fixed. However, user-installed applications must be reinstalled after the system restarts. [#361513]
- Some symbolic links are missing in Windows 7 pooled desktops with personal vDisks. As a result, applications that store icons in C:\Users\All Users do not display these icons in the Start menu. [#418710]
- A personal vDisk does not start if an Update Sequence Number (USN) journal overflow occurs due to a large number of changes made to the system after an inventory update. [#369846]
- A personal vDisk does not start with status code 0x20 and error code 0x20000028. [#393627]
- Symantec Endpoint Protection 12.1.3 displays the message “Proactive Threat Protection is malfunctioning” and this component’s Live Update Status is not available. [#390204]
New known issues in version 7.1: See the Known Issues documentation for the XenDesktop 7.1 release.
About Personal vDisk 7.0.1
New in version 7.0.1: Personal vDisk is now more robust to environment changes. Virtual desktops with personal vDisks now register with the Delivery Controller even if image updates fail, and unsafe system shutdowns no longer put the vDisks into a permanently disabled state. In addition, using rules files you can now exclude files and folders from the vDisks during a deployment.
Known issues from 5.6.13 fixed in version 7.0.1:
- Changes to a group’s membership made by users on a pooled virtual desktop might be lost after an image update. [#286227]
- Image updates might fail with a low disk space error even if the personal vDisk has enough space. [#325125]
- Some applications fail to install on virtual desktops with a personal vDisk, and a message is displayed that a restart is required. This is due to a pending rename operation. [#351520]
- Symbolic links created inside the master image do not work on virtual desktops with personal vDisks. [#352585]
- In environments that use Citrix Profile management and personal vDisk, applications that examine user profiles on a system volume might not function properly if profile redirection is enabled. [#353661]
- The inventory update process fails on master images when the inventory is bigger than 2GB. [#359768]
- Image updates fail with error code 112 and personal vDisks are corrupted even if the vDisks have enough free space for the update. [#363003]
- The resizing script fails for catalogs with more than 250 desktops. [#363365]
- Changes made by users to an environment variable are lost when an image update is performed. [#372295]
- Local users created on a virtual desktop with a personal vDisk are lost when an image update is performed. [#377964]
- A personal vDisk may fail to start if an Update Sequence Number (USN) journal overflow occurred due to a large number of changes made to the system after an inventory update. To avoid this, increase the USN journal size to a minimum of 32 MB in the master image and perform an image update. [#369846]
- An issue has been identified with Personal vDisk that prevents the correct functioning of AppSense Environment Manager registry hiving actions when AppSense is used in Replace Mode. Citrix and AppSense are working together to resolve the issue, which is related to the behavior of the RegRestoreKey API when Personal vDisk is installed.[#0353936]
Release-independent known issues
If Windows Store and Metro Apps are updated on the master image, it may cause conflicts for PvD enabled target devices after the vDisk is upgraded to test or production. In addition, Metro Apps may fail to launch while triggering application event log errors. Citrix recommends that you disable Windows Store and Metro Apps for PvD enabled target devices.
When an application installed on a personal vDisk (PvD) is related to another application of the same version that is installed on the master image, the application on the PvD could stop working after an image update. This occurs if you uninstall the application from the master image or upgrade it to a later version, because that action removes the files needed by the application on the PvD from the master image. To prevent this, keep the application containing the files needed by the application on the PvD on the master image.
For example, the master image contains Office 2007, and a user installs Visio 2007 on the PvD; the Office applications and Visio work correctly. Later, the administrator replaces Office 2007 with Office 2010 on the master image, and then updates all affected machines with the updated image. Visio 2007 no longer works. To avoid this, keep Office 2007 in the master image. [#320915]
When deploying McAfee Virus Scan Enterprise (VSE), use version 8.8 Patch 4 or later on a master image if you use personal vDisk. [#303472]
If a shortcut created to a file in the master image stops working (because the shortcut target is renamed within PvD), recreate the shortcut. [#367602]
Do not use absolute/hard links in a master image. [#368678]
The Windows 7 backup and restore feature is not supported on the personal vDisk. [#360582]
After an updated master image is applied, the local user and group console becomes inaccessible or shows inconsistent data. To resolve the issue, reset the user accounts on the VM, which requires resetting the security hive. This issue was fixed in the 7.1.2 release (and works for VMs created in later releases), but the fix does not work for VMs that were created with an earlier version and then upgraded. [#488044]
When using a pooled VM in an ESX hypervisor environment, users see a restart prompt if the selected SCSI controller type is “VMware Paravirtual.” For a workaround, use an LSI SCSI controller type. [#394039]
After a PvD reset on a desktop created through Provisioning Services, users may receive a restart prompt after logging on to the VM. As a workaround, restart the desktop. [#340186]
Windows 8.1 desktop users might be unable to log on to their PvD. An administrator might see message “PvD was disabled due to unsafe shutdown” and the PvDActivation log might contain the message “Failed to load reg hive [\Device\IvmVhdDisk00000001\CitrixPvD\Settings\RingCube.dat].” This occurs when a user’s VM shuts down unsafely. As a workaround, reset the personal vDisk. [#474071]