Product Documentation

Upgrade XenDesktop 5

May 03, 2015

Before you upgrade

Before you upgrade a XenDesktop 5 Site, familiarize yourself with the new concepts and components that require upgrading and their versions, and the sequence for a successful upgrade.

New concepts and features

Compared to previous versions, XenDesktop 7.x has many new features and introduces new concepts.

Manage multiple versions of XenApp and XenDesktop

There is no XenApp to XenDesktop upgrade.

The Studio management and Director can monitor and manage only XenDesktop 7.x and XenApp 7.5 sites. The monitoring and management tools do not support past versions of XenDesktop or XenApp.

Citrix recommends that if you continue running deployments of past versions of XenApp or XenDesktop, you run them in parallel with the XenDesktop 7.x site and continue running the management consoles with each release for that site.

For example, in a mixed environment, to continue using Desktop Director 2.1 to monitor XenApp 6.5, ensure that Desktop Director 2.1 is installed on a separate server from Director 7.

Sites with Controllers at version 5.x and Virtual Delivery Agents (VDAs) at version 7.x should remain in that state only temporarily. Ideally, you should complete the upgrade of all components as soon as possible.

Citrix recommends that you use StoreFront to aggregate applications and desktops from the different versions of XenApp and XenDesktop. For details, see the StoreFront documentation.

Upgrade XenDesktop 5 components

These components require upgrading:

  • License server and licenses
    Note: Following an upgrade to XenApp Platinum Edition to enable platinum features such as Provisioning Services (PVS), XenDesktop may not be able to use the licenses as expected. This is due to an issue where Studio fails to discover XenApp Platinum licenses. To use XenApp Platinum licenses, use the PowerShell SDK to change the licensing setting as described in Use XenApp Platinum licenses with XenDesktop 7.
  • Virtual Desktop Agents for Desktop OS Machines (Windows desktop) that upgrade to XenDesktop 7.x VDAs
  • Delivery Controllers and other infrastructure components, such as Director
  • Existing database
Important: Ensure that you back up your database as described in How to backup and Restore your XenDesktop Database before performing any upgrade procedures.


For VDA upgrade recommendations, see XenDesktop 5 upgrade components.

VDAs on Windows XP or Windows Vista

Some XenDesktop 7.x features are not supported on Windows XP or Windows Vista. If the installer detects a VDA running on a Windows XP or Windows Vista machine, it launches a different installer that installs the latest VDA version that is supported on Windows XP or Windows Vista (Version 5.6 FP1 with certain hotfixes). Although these machines and their Machine Catalogs and Delivery Groups cannot use all XenDesktop 7.x features, they can run in the XenDesktop 7.x Site.

VDAs on Windows XP or Windows Vista do not support the following 7.x features:

  • Configuration of App-V applications from Studio.
  • Configuration of Receiver Storefront addresses from Studio.
  • Automatic support for Microsoft Windows KMS licensing when using Machine Creation Services (MCS). KMS licensing is supported using the procedure documented in
  • Full information in Director:
    • Logon times and logon end events impacting the logon duration times in Dashboard, Trends, and User Detail views.
    • Logon duration breakdown details for HDX connection time, authentication time, profile load duration, GPO load duration, logon script duration, and interactive session establishment duration.
    • Some categories of Machine and Connection failures states.
    • Activity Manager in Help Desk and User Details views.


You can upgrade the following Controller versions:

  • 5.0
  • 5.0 Service Pack 1
  • 5.5
  • 5.6
  • 5.6 Feature Pack 1


You can upgrade the following Director versions:

  • 1.0
  • 1.1
  • 2.0
  • 2.1


After manually backing up your Site database as described in How to backup and Restore your XenDesktop Database, you upgrade the Database from an upgraded Delivery Controller. This process updates the schema and migrates data. Studio also performs additional data migration steps for the services.

Other components

The installer also upgrades the following components:

  • Personal vDisk (PVD)
  • Receiver
    • If Receiver for Windows (Receiver.exe) resides on a machine, it is upgraded to Receiver for Windows 4.0
    • If Receiver for Windows Enterprise (CitrixReceiverEnterprise.exe) resides on a machine, it is upgraded to Receiver for Windows Enterprise 3.4

Components that require separate upgrade

You need to upgrade the following components outside of the in-place upgrade process:

  • Provisioning Services (PVS)
    • Upgrade the Provisioning Services server using the Provisioning Services server rolling upgrade
    • Upgrade the Provisioning Services client using Provisioning Services vDisk versioning
    Important: If you intend to run XenDesktop 7.x and XenDesktop 5.6 sites simultaneously, do not upgrade to Provisioning Services 7.
  • Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager — XenDesktop 7.x supports SCVMM 2012 and SCVMM 2012 SP1, while XenDesktop 5.x supports SCVMM 2008 R2 SP1. Upgrade in the following sequence so that XenDesktop can continue to operate without any downtime.
    • All XenDesktop Controllers to XenDesktop 5.6 FP1
    • SCVMM server to SCVMM 2012
    • XenDesktop to 7
    • Upgrade SCVMM server from 2012 to 2012 SP1 (optional)
  • For external Web Interface servers, configure StoreFront to provide the desktops formerly provided through Web Interface. See the StoreFront documentation. After upgrading to XenDesktop 7.x, add XenDesktop to your StoreFront deployment.

After upgrading all components, you can optionally use Studio to upgrade Machine Catalogs and Delivery Groups.

XenDesktop 5 upgrade factors

  • Existing Sites
    • You must use the procedure known as an in-place upgrade. You cannot import or migrate data from a XenDesktop 5 Site to a XenDesktop 7.x Site.
    • Although parallel sites (for example, XenDesktop 5 and XenDesktop 7.1) are allowed, you cannot manage a XenDesktop 5 Site with XenDesktop Studio 7.x. Also, you cannot install XenDesktop Studio 7.x on the same machine as a XenDesktop 5 Studio, unless you intend to upgrade the XenDesktop 5 Site. That is, you cannot run side-by-side Studio installations.
    • Do not upgrade a stand-alone Desktop Studio to Desktop Studio 7.x if you are not ready to use XenDesktop 7.x.
    • You cannot upgrade Desktop Studio Express Edition. You must obtain and install a license for VDI, Enterprise, or Platinum edition before upgrading.
    • You cannot use Studio to configure your site to use your XenApp Platinum licenses. See Manage licensing for information about handling XenApp Platinum licenses with XenDesktop.
  • Delivery Controllers — For Sites with one Controller, the Site is inoperable during the upgrade. For Sites with more than one Controller, the Site can continue to operate during the upgrade. The upgrade only causes a brief interruption in establishing new client connections during the final database upgrade steps. There may also be times when the Site has reduced capacity because fewer Controllers are available.
  • VDAs — You cannot install a new VDA on a machine running Windows XP or Windows Vista. You must upgrade these VDAs to Version 5.6 Feature Pack 1.
  • Provisioning Services (PVS)
    • Before upgrading a Site, upgrade any Provisioning Services servers that are installed on management machines in the environment. See Upgrading Provisioning Servers.
    • Provisioning Services 7.x does not support creating new desktops with XenDesktop 5 versions. Therefore, although the existing desktops continue to work, you cannot create new desktops with Provisioning Services until you complete the upgrade of your controllers and database to XenDesktop 7.x. If you intend to upgrade Provisioning Services, keep this limitation in mind when planning your entire site upgrade.
    • If you have XenApp Platinum licenses, you can carry forward Provisioning Services to use with a XenDesktop 7.x App Edition license. To do so, you must configure the correct license settings using the PowerShell SDK cmdlet on the Site's Delivery Controller, as described in Manage licensing.

High-level upgrade steps

The following diagrams show the high level steps for XenDesktop 5 upgrade.

To upgrade XenDesktop 5

  1. Upgrade the License Server and associated license files to XenDesktop 7.x level.
    • If there is a separate License Server, upgrade that server first.
    • If the License Server resides on a Controller, it is upgraded along with the other services.
  2. Back up the Controller database as described in How to Backup and Restore your XenDesktop Database.
  3. Optionally back up templates and upgrade Hypervisor.
  4. Upgrade Provisioning Services servers and agents.
    Note: In a XenDesktop 5.6 Site, once you upgrade to Provisioning Services 7, you cannot create new desktops using Provisioning Services (existing desktops continue to work). You must upgrade the controllers and database to XenDesktop 7.x to use Provisioning Services to add new desktops.
  5. Virtual Desktop Agents (XenDesktop 5.x VDAs); see recommendations in XenDesktop 5 upgrade components. You can install new software on VDAs before or after the Delivery Controllers, but Citrix recommends that you do so before upgrading the Delivery Controllers if possible. This lets you quickly enable new features when the upgrade is complete.
  6. Upgrade half (or some) Controllers. Selecting this option also upgrades other core components.
    • These Controllers are unusable for the existing XenDesktop 5.x Site, and can no longer register machines. Machines that were registered with these Delivery Controllers register with the available Delivery Controllers.
    • Installer validates that the License Server is upgraded, and issues a warning if the License Server is not upgraded.
  7. Upgrade a management machine with Studio, or use Studio on one of the upgraded Controllers.
  8. Upgrade the Database using Studio.
    Important: Citrix strongly recommends that you manually back up the Site, so that you can restore it if any issues are discovered.

    Use Studio 7.1 to upgrade the old database (You must use Studio from one of the upgraded Controllers, not from a XenDesktop 5.x Controller). Studio prompts you to perform a backup and make sure that the License Server is upgraded.

    If you do not have database administrator rights, select Manual Upgrade to use the separate manual database scripts provided for privileged database operations. See XenDesktop 5 upgrade components for detailed instructions.

    While services are disabled, Controllers cannot broker any new connections for your Site, so ideally you should minimize this down time window. The Delivery Controllers are re-enabled after this step completes. The services need to be registered with the Delivery Controller.

    After updating the database schema, Studio performs final data migration steps for Delivery Controller Services.

    When the process completes:
    • Studio runs environment and configuration tests and generates an HTML report for the upgrade procedure. If these tests fail, you can restore the Database backup and then use the original database. After resolving the root cause of those issues, run the upgrade process again.
    • Upgraded Delivery Controllers now handle machine registration.
  9. Upgrade the remaining Delivery Controllers (and Director) and management machines to complete the upgrade.
  10. Register the remaining Controllers as described in Upgrade the remaining Delivery Controllers. After completing the upgrade, upgrade machine catalogs and Delivery Groups.

Post-upgrade processes

After the upgrade and data migration is complete, you can run environment and configuration tests to make sure that the Site is in functional order.

To test the upgraded site, select Test Site in the Site Configuration pane of the Studio Common Tasks page.

XenDesktop 5 upgrade components

Upgrade components

When you run the installer (AutoSelect), the wizard checks whether certain Site components (such as Delivery Controllers and VDAs) need to be upgraded. If you choose not to upgrade some components during this process, when you run Studio notifies you which components need to be upgraded. You cannot proceed to manage your Site until you upgrade these components.

Depending on your Site, the procedures that you perform and the order in which you perform these procedures may vary.

Important: Back up your databases as described in How to Backup and Restore your XenDesktop Database before performing any upgrade procedures.

Upgrade the License Server

Before upgrading the License Server, make sure the Subscription Advantage date for license files that is compatible with a supported edition of the product.
  1. Log on to the server using a local administrator account and run the installer by inserting the media or mounting the ISO drive for this release, and double-clicking AutoSelect.
  2. On the Welcome page, click Start. The wizard detects what components need to be upgraded and displays the Upgrade options page, activating the components you can upgrade.
  3. Accept the license agreement.
  4. If the wizard detects an incompatible license server or license files, you are prompted to upgrade that license component. Upgrade the component and then run the installer again, as described in Upgrade core components.

Upgrade the Virtual Delivery Agent

You can only upgrade Desktop OS (Windows Desktop) Virtual Delivery Agents (VDAs) when upgrading from XenDesktop 5.x to XenDesktop 7.x.

For Remote PC Access deployments, Citrix recommends that you use the command line interface to upgrade the VDA in the PC.
Important: To upgrade a VDA 5.x version to the new version, Citrix recommends installing the new VDA on a clean machine image (this could also be an earlier golden image that does not contain a VDA). If that is not feasible, manually uninstall the 5.x VDA using the Windows feature for removing or changing programs, and then install the new VDA.

To install the new VDA, follow the guidance in the installation documentation.

Upgrade core components

The installer automatically upgrades core components such as Delivery Controllers, Studio, and Director if they were previously installed.
  1. Log on to the server using a local administrator account and run the installer by inserting the media or mounting the ISO drive for this release, and double-clicking AutoSelect.
  2. On the Welcome page, click Start. The wizard detects what components need to be upgraded and displays the Upgrade options page, activating the components you can upgrade.
  3. Click Delivery Controller.
    Note: If the program detects the XenDesktop Express edition, you are prompted to obtain and install a license for a supported edition. You cannot continue the upgrade until you obtain and install a license for VDI, Enterprise, or Platinum edition before upgrading.
  4. Accept the license agreement.
  5. Review the upgrade steps, click I'm ready to continue and click Next.
  6. On the Core Components page review the components available for upgrade.
  7. On the Firewall page review the default ports and configure firewall rules.
  8. On the Upgrade page review the prerequisites to be installed and the components to be upgraded and then click Upgrade.
  9. On the Finish Upgrade page one of the following messages appears upon completion:
    • Success — Upgrade successful appears when the upgrade completes without errors.
    • Failed — The Upgrade failed appears with a list of failed components. Click Why did this fail to review what you must do to fix the problem. Other components that installed successfully are retained; you do not need to reinstall them.
  10. Select Launch Studio to start Studio when the upgrade completes and click Finish.

Upgrade the database using Studio

After upgrading the core components, use Studio to upgrade the Database.

Manually upgrade the database

To minimize Site downtime during a manual upgrade, it is important that the Studio administrator coordinates closely with the database administrator. This process requires that you run a script that temporarily disables services while the manual upgrade scripts run. Ideally, immediately after these scripts complete, the Studio administrator should enable services and complete the upgrade using Studio.

A manual upgrade requires:
  • Compatible License Server and license files
  • Database backup
  • Running the generated scripts in the following order:
    • DisableServices.ps1 — PowerShell script to be run by the Studio administrator on a Controller
    • UpgradeDatabase.sql — SQL script run by the database administrator using a preferred tool (for example, SQL Server Management Studio)
    • EnableServices.ps1 — PowerShell script to be run by the Studio administrator on a Controller
To upgrade the database manually, perform the following actions:
  1. Start Studio. The wizard detects what components need to be upgraded and displays the Mandatory upgrade page.
  2. Select Manually upgrade this site.
  3. The wizard checks for License Server compatibility. Make sure your License Server and license files are compatible with your XenDesktop 7.x version. Select the confirmation check box and click Continue.
  4. The wizard prompts you to back up the database. When you have done so, select the confirmation check box and click Continue.
    • The wizard generates the manual upgrade scripts that you must run and displays them in a window.
    • The Mandatory Upgrade page changes to display a checklist of the manual upgrade steps.
  5. Make sure you have completed the checklist tasks and click Finish upgrade and return to Common Tasks.

Upgrade the remaining Delivery Controllers

Upgrade any additional Controllers in your Site.
  1. On the Common Tasks page click Upgrade remaining Delivery Controllers. A list of Controllers appears.
  2. Perform all the previously described tasks, starting with To upgrade core components on each Controller.
  3. When you have upgraded all Controllers, click I have upgraded remaining Delivery Controllers and click Finish.
  4. Close Studio and then reopen Studio to implement the changes.
  5. In the Site Configuration section of the Common Tasks page, select Perform registration. Registering the remaining Controllers makes the Controllers and their services available to the Site.