Improve the user experience

You can improve your experience with Citrix Receiver for Windows using the following features and functionalities:

  • vPrefer Launch - Controls how published applications must be launched in a published desktop sessions.
  • H.265 video encoding - Provides better data compression (uses less bandwidth) without sacrificing on the image quality or superior quality.
  • DPI scaling - Allows the operating system to control the session resolution.
  • Generic client IME - Allows support for soft keyboards and options to change IME.
  • Keyboard layout and language -Allows you to use preferred keyboard layouts.

Additionally, you can use the following features also helps you in providing a better user experience.

Expanded tablet mode in Windows 10 using Windows Continuum

Windows Continuum is a Windows 10 feature that adapts to the way the client device is used. Citrix Receiver for Windows Version 4.10 now supports Windows Continuum, including dynamic change of modes.

For touch-enabled devices, the Windows 10 VDA starts in tablet mode when there is no keyboard or mouse attached. It starts in desktop mode when either a keyboard or a mouse or both are attached. Detaching or attaching the keyboard on any client device or the screen on a 2-in-1 device like a Surface Pro toggles between tablet and desktop modes. For more information, see Tablet mode for touchscreen devices in XenApp and XenDesktop documentation.

The Windows 10 VDA detects the presence of a keyboard or a mouse on a touch-enabled client device when you connect or reconnect to a session. It also detects when you attach or detach a keyboard or mouse during the session. This feature is enabled by default on the VDA. To disable the feature, modify the Tablet mode toggle policy using Citrix Studio.

Tablet mode offers a user interface that is better suited to touchscreens:

  • Slightly larger buttons.
  • The Start screen and all apps you start open in a full screen.
  • The taskbar contains a Back button.
  • Icons are removed from the taskbar.

Desktop mode offers the traditional user interface where you interact in the same manner as using a PC with a keyboard and mouse.

Note: Web Receivers do not support Windows Continuum features.

For more information, see XenServer 7.2 Release Notes.

Relative Mouse

Relative Mouse support provides an option to interpret the mouse position in a relative rather than an absolute manner. This capability is required for applications that demand relative mouse input rather than absolute.

Note This feature can be applied in a published desktop session only.

To enable Relative Mouse support

  1. Logon to Citrix Receiver for Windows
  2. Launch a published desktop session
  3. From the Desktop Viewer toolbar, select Preferences.

    The Citrix Receiver - Preferences window appears.


  4. Select Connections.
  5. Under Relative Mouse settings, enable Use relative mouse.

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  6. Click Apply and OK.

NOTE: This is a per session feature. It does not persist after reconnecting to a disconnected session. Users must re-enable the feature every time they connect or reconnect to the published desktop.

Hardware decoding

When using Citrix Receiver for Windows (with HDX engine 14.4), the GPU can be used for H.264 decoding wherever it is available at the client. The API layer used for GPU decoding is DXVA (DirectX Video Acceleration).

To enable hardware decoding using Citrix Receiver Group Policy Object administrative template:

  1. Open the Citrix Receiver Group Policy Object administrative template by running gpedit.msc.
  2. Under the Computer Configuration node, go to Administrative Templates > Citrix Receiver > User Experience.
  3. Select Hardware Acceleration for graphics.
  4. Select Enabled and click Apply and OK.

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To validate if the policy was applied and hardware acceleration is being used for an active ICA session, look for the following registry entries:

Registry Path: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Citrix\ICA Client\CEIP\Data\GfxRender


The value for Graphics_GfxRender_Decoder and Graphics_GfxRender_Renderer should be 2. If the value is 1, that means CPU based decoding is being used.

When using the hardware decoding feature, consider the following limitations:

  • If the client has two GPU’s and if one of the monitors is active on the 2nd GPU, CPU decoding will be used.
  • When connecting to a XenApp 7.x server running on Windows Server 2008 R2, Citrix recommends that you do not to use hardware decoding on the user’s Windows device. If enabled, issues like slow performance while highlighting text and flickering issues will be seen.

Client-side microphone input

Citrix Receiver for Windows supports multiple client-side microphone input. Locally installed microphones can be used for:

  • Real-time activities, such as softphone calls and Web conferences.
  • Hosted recording applications, such as dictation programs.
  • Video and audio recordings.

Citrix Receiver for Windows users can select whether to use microphones attached to their device by changing a Connection Center setting. XenDesktop users can also use the XenDesktop Viewer Preferences to disable their microphones and webcams.

Multi-monitor support

You can use up to eight monitors with Citrix Receiver for Windows.

Each monitor in a multiple monitor configuration has its own resolution designed by its manufacturer. Monitors can have different resolutions and orientations during sessions.

Sessions can span multiple monitors in two ways:

  • Full screen mode, with multiple monitors shown inside the session; applications snap to monitors as they would locally.

    XenDesktop: To display the Desktop Viewer window across any rectangular subset of monitors, resize the window across any part of those monitors and click Maximize.

  • Windowed mode, with one single monitor image for the session; applications do not snap to individual monitors.

XenDesktop: When any desktop in the same assignment (formerly “desktop group”) is launched subsequently, the window setting is preserved and the desktop is displayed across the same monitors. Multiple virtual desktops can be displayed on one device provided the monitor arrangement is rectangular. If the primary monitor on the device is used by the XenDesktop session, it becomes the primary monitor in the session. Otherwise, the numerically lowest monitor in the session becomes the primary monitor.

To enable multi-monitor support, ensure the following:

  • The user device is configured to support multiple monitors.
  • The user device operating system must be able to detect each of the monitors. On Windows platforms, to verify that this detection occurs, on the user device, view the Settings tab in the Display Settings dialog box and confirm that each monitor appears separately.
  • After your monitors are detected:
    • XenDesktop: Configure the graphics memory limit using the Citrix Machine Policy setting Display memory limit.
    • XenApp: Depending on the version of the XenApp server you have installed:
      • Configure the graphics memory limit using the Citrix Computer Policy setting Display memory limit.
      • From the Citrix management console for the XenApp server, select the farm and in the task pane, select Modify Server Properties > Modify all properties > Server Default > HDX Broadcast > Display (or Modify Server Properties > Modify all properties > Server Default > ICA > Display) and set the Maximum memory to use for each session’s graphics.

Ensure the setting is large enough (in kilobytes) to provide sufficient graphic memory. If this setting is not high enough, the published resource is restricted to the subset of the monitors that fits within the size specified.

For information about calculating the session’s graphic memory requirements for XenApp and XenDesktop, see Knowledge Center article CTX115637.

Printer setting overrides on devices

If the Universal printing optimization defaults policy setting Allow non-administrators to modify these settings is enabled, users can override the Image Compression and Image and Font Caching options specified in that policy setting.

To override the printer settings on the user device

  1. From the Print menu available from an application on the user device, choose Properties.
  2. On the Client Settings tab, click Advanced Optimizations and make changes to the Image Compression and Image and Font Caching options.

On-screen keyboard control

To enable touch-enabled access to virtual applications and desktops from Windows tablets, Citrix Receiver for Windows automatically displays the on-screen keyboard when you activate a text entry field, and when the device is in tent or tablet mode.

On some devices and in some circumstances, Citrix Receiver for Windows cannot accurately detect the mode of the device, and the on-screen keyboard may appear when you do not want it to.

To suppress the on-screen keyboard from appearing when using a convertible device ,create a REG_DWORD value DisableKeyboardPopup in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Citrix\ICA Client\Engine\Configuration\Advanced\Modules\MobileReceiver and set the value to 1.

Note: On a x64 machine, create the value in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Citrix\ICA Client\Engine\Configuration\Advanced\Modules\MobileReceiver.

The keys can be set to 3 different modes as given below:

  • Automatic: AlwaysKeyboardPopup = 0; DisableKeyboardPopup = 0
  • Always popup (on-screen keyboard): AlwaysKeyboardPopup = 1; DisableKeyboardPopup = 0
  • Never popup (on-screen keyboard): AlwaysKeyboardPopup = 0; DisableKeyboardPopup = 1

Keyboard shortcuts

You can configure combinations of keys that Receiver interprets as having special functionality. When the keyboard shortcuts policy is enabled, you can specify Citrix Hotkey mappings, behavior of Windows hotkeys, and keyboard layout for sessions.

  1. As an administrator, open the Group Policy Editor by either running gpedit.msc locally from the Start menu when applying policies to a single computer or by using the Group Policy Management Console when applying domain policies.

    Note: If you already imported the Citrix Receiver for Windows template into the Group Policy Editor, you can omit Steps 2 to 5.

  2. In the left pane of the Group Policy Editor, select the Administrative Templates folder.

  3. From the Action menu, choose Add/Remove Templates.

  4. Choose Add and browse to the Receiver Configuration folder (usually C:\Program Files\Citrix\ICA Client\Configuration) and select the Citrix Receiver for Windows template file. Note: Depending on the version of the Windows Operating System, select the Citrix Receiver for Windows template file (receiver.adm or receiver.admx/receiver.adml).

  5. Select Open to add the template and then Close to return to the Group Policy Editor.

  6. In the Group Policy Editor, go to Administrative Templates > Classic Administrative Templates (ADM) > Citrix Components > Citrix Receiver > User Experience > Keyboard shortcuts.

  7. From the Action menu, choose Properties, select Enabled, and choose the desired options.

Citrix Receiver for Windows support for 32-bit color icons

Citrix Receiver for Windows supports 32-bit high color icons and automatically selects the color depth for applications visible in the Citrix Connection Center dialog box, the Start menu, and task bar to provide for seamless applications.

Caution: Editing the registry incorrectly can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Citrix cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of Registry Editor can be solved. Use Registry Editor at your own risk. Be sure to back up the registry before you edit it.

To set a preferred depth, you can add a string registry key named TWIDesiredIconColor to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Citrix\ICA Client\Engine\Lockdown Profiles\All Regions\Preferences and set it to the desired value. The possible color depths for icons are 4, 8, 16, 24, and 32 bits-per-pixel. The user can select a lower color depth for icons if the network connection is slow.

Enabling Desktop Viewer

Different enterprises have different corporate needs. Your requirements for the way users access virtual desktops may vary from user to user and may vary as your corporate needs evolve. The user experience of connecting to virtual desktops and the extent of user involvement in configuring the connections depend on how you set up Citrix Receiver for Windows.

Use the Desktop Viewer when users need to interact with their virtual desktop. The user’s virtual desktop can be a published virtual desktop, or a shared or dedicated desktop. In this access scenario, the Desktop Viewer toolbar functionality allows the user to open a virtual desktop in a window and pan and scale that desktop inside their local desktop. Users can set preferences and work with more than one desktop using multiple XenDesktop connections on the same user device.

Note: Your users must use Citrix Receiver for Windows to change the screen resolution on their virtual desktops. They cannot change Screen Resolution using Windows Control Panel.

Keyboard input in Desktop Viewer sessions

In Desktop Viewer sessions, Windows logo key+L is directed to the local computer.

Ctrl+Alt+Delete is directed to the local computer.

Key presses that activate StickyKeys, FilterKeys, and ToggleKeys (Microsoft accessibility features) are normally directed to the local computer.

As an accessibility feature of the Desktop Viewer, pressing Ctrl+Alt+Break displays the Desktop Viewer toolbar buttons in a pop-up window.

Ctrl+Esc is sent to the remote, virtual desktop.

Note: By default, if the Desktop Viewer is maximized, Alt+Tab switches focus between windows inside the session. If the Desktop Viewer is displayed in a window, Alt+Tab switches focus between windows outside the session.

Hotkey sequences are key combinations designed by Citrix. For example, the Ctrl+F1 sequence reproduces Ctrl+Alt+Delete, and Shift+F2 switches applications between full-screen and windowed mode. You cannot use hotkey sequences with virtual desktops displayed in the Desktop Viewer (that is, with XenDesktop sessions), but you can use them with published applications (that is, with XenApp sessions).

Connect to virtual desktops

From within a desktop session, users cannot connect to the same virtual desktop. Attempting to do so will disconnect the existing desktop session. Therefore, Citrix recommends:

  • Administrators should not configure the clients on a desktop to point to a site that publishes the same desktop
  • Users should not browse to a site that hosts the same desktop if the site is configured to automatically reconnect users to existing sessions
  • Users should not browse to a site that hosts the same desktop and try to launch it

Be aware that a user who logs on locally to a computer that is acting as a virtual desktop blocks connections to that desktop.

If your users connect to virtual applications (published with XenApp) from within a virtual desktop and your organization has a separate XenApp administrator, Citrix recommends working with them to define device mapping such that desktop devices are mapped consistently within desktop and application sessions. Because local drives are displayed as network drives in desktop sessions, the XenApp administrator needs to change the drive mapping policy to include network drives.

Changing the status indicator time-out

You can change the amount of time the status indicator displays when a user is launching a session. To alter the time out period, create a REG_DWORD value SI INACTIVE MS in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Citrix\ICA CLIENT\Engine\. The REG_DWORD value can be set to 4 if you want the status indicator to disappear sooner.

Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP)


You can hide all or part of the Advanced Preferences sheet available from the Citrix Receiver icon in the notification area. For more information, see Hiding the Advanced Preferences sheet.

The Citrix Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) gathers anonymous configuration and usage data from Receiver for Windows and automatically sends the data to Citrix. This data helps Citrix improve the quality, reliability, and performance of Receiver.

No user identifiable information is collected from the customer environment with CEIP.

TIP: You can change whether you participate in CEIP using the Receiver interface. You have 7 days to disable CEIP after installation.

To disable CEIP, or to forego participation:

  1. Right-click the Citrix Receiver icon from the notification area
  2. Select Advanced Preferences. The Advanced Preferences window appears.
  3. Select Data Collection.
  4. Select No, Thanks to disable CEIP or to forego participation.
  5. Click Save.