Profile Management best practice

A Windows user profile is a collection of folders, files, registry settings, and configuration settings that define the environment for a user who logs on with a particular user account. These settings can be customized by the user, depending on the administrative configuration.

Windows 10 compatibility

Citrix Profile Management maintains compatibility with the latest Windows 10 version. The following table summarizes the recommended Microsoft Windows 10 operating systems for different versions of Profile Management:

Profile Management Version Windows 10 version Notes
1906 Windows 10 1903 (RS6) Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 7 1906
1903 Windows 10 1809 (RS5) Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 7 1903
1811 Windows 10 1809 (RS5) Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 7 1811
1808 Windows 10 1803 (RS4) Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 7 1808
7.18 Windows 10 1803 (RS4) XenApp and XenDesktop 7.18
7.17 Windows 10 1709 (RS3) XenApp and XenDesktop 7.17
7.16 Windows 10 1703 (RS2) XenApp and XenDesktop 7.16
7.15 Long Term Service Release Windows 10 1703 (RS2) XenApp and XenDesktop 7.15 LTSR with the latest Cumulative Update

Windows 10 Start menu customization

Citrix recommends using a partial lockdown customization layout and deploying the customization through Group Policy. For more information about customizing the layout of the Start menu, see https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/customize/desktop/customize-start-layout.

Start menu roaming

Applications pinned to the Start menu might disappear on the following operating systems after several logons:

  • Windows 10 version 1607 and newer, 32- and 64-bit
  • Windows Server 2016 Standard and Datacenter editions
  • Windows Server 2019 Standard and Datacenter editions
  • Windows 10 Enterprise for Virtual Desktops

To ensure that Start menu roaming works properly on the operating systems above, complete the following configuration steps:

  1. Enable the Folders to mirror policy and then add the following folders to the list of folders to mirror:
    • Appdata\Local\Packages
    • Appdata\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Caches
  2. Enable the Files to synchronize policy and then add the following folder to the list of files to synchronize:
    • Appdata\Local\Microsoft\Windows\UsrClass.dat*

Personal document folders

Personal document folders can grow large. Therefore, Citrix recommends using the folder redirection feature to redirect the following folders:

  • Desktop

  • Documents

  • Downloads

  • Favorites

  • Links

  • Music

  • Pictures

  • Searches

  • Videos

After the folders are redirected, Citrix Profile Management no longer processes these folders during logon.

Outlook and Office 365

Microsoft recommends Cached Exchange Mode so that seamless online and offline Microsoft Outlook experience is enabled. You can turn on the Cached Exchange Mode from the Microsoft Outlook client. For more information, see https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/exchange/outlook/cached-exchange-mode.

When you use Cached Exchange Mode, there is always a copy of a user’s Exchange mailbox in an offline folder file (*.ost). The file can grow large.

Citrix recommends avoiding storing Microsoft Outlook data locally or on shared drives. Use the Enable native Outlook search experience feature instead. With this feature, the Outlook offline folder file (*.ost) and the Microsoft search database specific to the user roam along with the user profile. This feature improves the user experience when searching mail in Microsoft Outlook. For more information on using this feature, see Enable native Outlook search experience.

Configuring Profile Management from one location

There are three locations from which you can configure Profile Management. To configure Profile Management, you can use HDX policies in Citrix Studio, or use a GPO in Active Directory. You can also configure Profile Management using Workspace Environment Management.

Citrix recommends that you choose only one of the three locations to configure Profile Management.

Troubleshooting best practice

Always use the Profile Management configuration checker tool (UPMConfigCheck) to identify potential configuration errors. For more information on this tool, see Knowledge Center article CTX132805.

When Profile Management does not work, first validate whether the User Store configured is accessible.

Profile Management now supports deleting stale cookies for Internet Explorer 10 and Internet Explorer 11. You can use the “Process Internet cookie files on logoff” policy to delete stale cookies to avoid cookie folder bloat. In addition, add the following folders to the list of folders that you want to mirror:

  • AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCookies

  • AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\WebCache

  • AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Cookies

Profile streaming with Microsoft Credentials Roaming enabled

By default, the following folders in the configuration file are excluded from profile streaming:

  • AppData\Local\Microsoft\Credentials

  • Appdata\Roaming\Microsoft\Credentials

  • Appdata\Roaming\Microsoft\Crypto

  • Appdata\Roaming\Microsoft\Protect

  • Appdata\Roaming\Microsoft\SystemCertificates

If you configure profile streaming exclusion manually, ensure to add the folders above to “Profile streaming exclusion list–directories.”

Synchronizing profiles efficiently

Suboptimal synchronization of user profiles can result in an imperfect user experience, including slow logon, loss of user settings, and profile corruption. It can also necessitate excessive administrative efforts. To synchronize profiles efficiently, follow the recommendations described below.

Folder redirection

Folder redirection is a feature of Microsoft Windows that you can use with Profile Management. Folder redirection plays a key role in delivering a successful profile solution. To use folder redirection, ensure that the relevant users are in the OU that is managed by Profile Management. Citrix recommends that you configure folder redirection using a GPO in Active Directory. For example, you can redirect the following folders under User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Classic Administrative Templates (ADM) > Citrix > Profile Management > Folder Redirection:

  • AppData (Roaming)
  • Desktop
  • Start Menu
  • Documents
  • Pictures
  • Music
  • Videos
  • Favorites
  • Contacts
  • Downloads
  • Links
  • Searches
  • Saved Games

Redirect all applicable folders listed above. To exclude folders from redirection, add a policy that excludes those folders, for example, the Saved Games folder, from synchronization or roaming. After that, the Saved Games folder exists only on the users’ machines. If the machines are non-persistent, the folder is deleted on logoff.

Note:

  • Redirect the AppData folder where possible. Doing so improves network performance, eliminating the need to copy the data in those folders each time users log on.
  • Redirecting the AppData folder might cause issues in some applications.
  • The folders must be redirected to a file server that shares the same subnet as the Citrix servers.
  • Do not redirect the desktop folder if it is too large. Otherwise, a black screen might occur on logon.

Include and exclude files and folders

Profile Management lets you specify files and folders that you do not want to synchronize by adding them to an exclusion list. Citrix recommends that you exclude the following files and folders from synchronizing:

  • AppData\LocalLow. By default, this folder is excluded in the .ini file.
  • AppData\Local. Many applications write their data to AppData\Local, including temporary data and cache files, causing folder bloat. Note that this folder also includes files such as the .DAT and .ini files, which contain important user personalization settings. Therefore, before excluding the entire folder, find out what exactly the applications are writing. After that, include the essential files and exclude the nonessential ones.
  • AppData\Roaming. The files in this folder are copied to the user store. Citrix recommends that you allow this folder to retain the application settings. By default, several folders in AppData\Roaming are excluded in the .ini file. You can add those folders to the exclusion list.

In addition to the AppData folder, you can also include and exclude other profile files and folders as applicable. Doing so ensures that the profile is small. For more information, see Include and exclude items.

Profile streaming

Files and folders contained in a profile are fetched from the user store to the local computer only when they are accessed by users after they log on. Doing so speeds up the logon process and reduces the profile size. For example, if a file is not actually used, it is never copied to the local profile folder. Citrix recommends that you enable this feature only for specific user groups. To use this feature, first add the applicable users to a user group, and then enable this feature for that user group. You can also use the Always cache policy to impose a lower limit on the size of files that are streamed. Any file this size or larger is cached locally as soon as possible after logon.

Active Write Back and Registry

This feature decreases logoff times compared to the Profile streaming feature, especially when there are many changed files. This feature synchronizes modified files and folders (but not registry entries) to the user store during the session, but before logoff.

Windows 10 / Windows Server 2016 Start menu

Important:

The descriptions below do not apply to Windows 10 version 1703 and later. Instead, Citrix recommends that you include the two items on Windows 10 version 1703 and later.

To enhance users’ experience with the Start menu on Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016, first exclude the following items from synchronizing in Group Policy Management Editor:

  • !ctx_localappdata!\Packages
  • !ctx_localappdata!\Microsoft\Windows\UsrClass.dat*

Then enable Folders to mirror and add !ctx_localappdata!\TileDataLayer to the list of folders to mirror.

Profile Management 5.0 and later supports enhanced processing for cookies when using Internet Explorer 10 and Internet Explorer 11. To avoid cookie folder bloat, use the Process Internet cookie files on logoff policy to delete stale cookies. You can add the following folders to the list of folders to mirror:

  • AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCookies
  • AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\WebCache
  • AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Cookies

For more information, see Process Internet cookie files on logoff.