Product Documentation

Prepare a master image

May 07, 2013

To deliver desktops and applications for machines in Server OS or Desktop OS machine catalogs, you must prepare the master image that creates the user desktops and applications.

The master image is a template that you use to deploy your environment. In addition to desktops and applications, creating a master image includes installing and configuring the operating system and any software you want to include on your image.

Note the following:

  • Remote PC Access machine catalogs do not require master images.
  • Cloud deployments use templates in place of master images. Refer to the following information for preparing templates:
Important: If you are using Provisioning Services or Machine Creation Services, do not run Sysprep on the master images.

Microsoft KMS activation with Machine Creation Services

If you are using a XenDesktop 7.x or XenApp 7.5 VDA with either XenServer 6.1 or XenServer 6.2, or vSphere, or Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM), you do not need to manually re-arm Microsoft Windows or Microsoft Office when using Machine Creation Services (MCS).

If you are a XenDesktop 5.x VDA with XenServer 6.0.2, follow the procedure documented in CTX128580 when using Machine Creation Services (MCS).

Windows Desktop Experience with Server OS machines

You must add the Windows Desktop Experience Feature Pack to a master image for Server OS machines running on:

  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows 7 N edition
  • Windows XP

Without this Feature Pack, Windows Media Player does not properly play video in a session. Follow the procedure documented in CTX133429.

GPU master images

For GPU-capable machines and machine catalogs, you must use a GPU-dedicated master image. GPU virtual machines require video card drivers that support GPUs and must be configured in a way the that allows the VM to operate with software that uses GPU for operations. You create the master image using the XenServer's XenCenter console. See the XenServer documentation for specific details.

The following procedure describes the high-level steps to create a GPU master image that Studio detects when you select a GPU capable resources as described in Connections and resources.

  1. Using XenCenter, create a VM with standard VGA, networks, and vCPU.
  2. Update the VM configuration to indicate that it can use GPU (either Passthough or vGPU).
  3. Install a supported operating system in the VM.
  4. Install XenServer Tools in the VM.
  5. Enable RDP within the VM's operating system.
  6. Install NVIDIA drivers.
  7. Turn off the Virtual Network Computing (VNC) Admin Console (through XenCenter to optimize performance) and then reboot the VM.

    You are prompted to use RDP.

  8. Using RDP, install VDA software and then reboot.
  9. Optionally, create a snapshot for the VM to form a baseline that you can use as a template for other GPU master images.
  10. Using RDP, install any customer-specific applications that use GPU capabilities and that are configured within XenCenter.

To prepare a master image

  1. To create Server OS or Desktop OS machine catalogs, use the management tool for your hypervisor to create a new master image and install the operating system (including all service packs and updates).

    If they are sufficient to allow the master image to run, the number of vCPUs and the amount of memory you assign to the master image are not critical at this stage because you can change these settings when you create the machine catalog.

    Important: Make sure that you set up the master image with the same amount of hard disk space that is required for users' desktops and applications because this value cannot be changed later.

    Make sure that the hard disk for the master image is attached at device location 0. Most standard master image templates configure this location by default, but some custom templates may not do so.

    For machines provisioned through Provisioning Services (PVS), you can either use a master image or a physical computer as your master target device.

  2. On the master image, install the appropriate integration tools for your hypervisor (XenServer Tools, Hyper-V Integration Services, or VMware tools).
    Note: If you do not install hypervisor integration tools on the master image, your desktops may not function correctly.
  3. Install and reconfigure the Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA) from the installation media as described in Install using the graphical interface. When installing the VDA, select the option to optimize the desktop. This improves the performance of users' desktops and applications by reconfiguring various Windows features that are incompatible with or unnecessary for virtual desktops.
  4. Install any third-party tools that you want to run, such as anti-virus software or electronic software distribution agents, and configure services such as Windows Update, as required for your deployment. Make sure that you use settings appropriate for your users and the machine type you intend to use, as these configurations are propagated to users' desktops and applications from the master image.
  5. Install and configure any third-party applications that you do not want to virtualize. Citrix recommends virtualizing applications. This approach significantly reduces desktop management costs by removing the need to update the master image whenever you want to add or reconfigure an application. In addition, with fewer applications installed on each desktop, you can reduce the size of the master image hard disks to save on storage costs.
  6. If you are planning to publish App-V applications through Studio as described in Manage App-V application delivery, install and configure App-V clients with all the recommended App-V settings on the master image.
  7. For machine catalogs created through Machine Creation Services (MCS), if you need to localize Microsoft Windows, install the locales and language packs on the master image before provisioning. During provisioning, when a master image snapshot is created, the provisioned VMs use the installed locales and language packs.
  8. To deliver Server OS or Desktop OS machine desktops, join the master image to the domain for which you want users' desktops and applications to be members, and make sure that the master image is available on the host where you want to create the machines.

    Citrix recommends that you create a snapshot of your master image and name the snapshot so that you can identify the master image in the future. If you specify a master image rather than a snapshot when creating a Server OS or Desktop OS machine catalog, Studio creates a snapshot for you but you cannot name it.

    For machine catalogs created through Provisioning Services as described in Create a new machine catalog, create a VHD file for the vDisk from your master target device before you join the master target device to a domain. For more information about imaging a vDisk, see Installing and Configuring Provisioning Services.