Prepare to install

May 11, 2018

The following tables list tasks to complete and things to consider or be aware of before installing the core components (Delivery Controller, Citrix Studio, Citrix Director, Citrix License Server, StoreFront) and Virtual Delivery Agents (VDAs).

Core component and general installation preparation


Decide where you will install the components and then prepare the machines and operating systems.

  • Review System requirements for supported operating systems and versions for the Controller, Studio, Director, Virtualization resources, and VDAs. The Citrix StoreFront and the Citrix License Server requirements documents specify their supported platforms.
    • You can install the core components on the same server or on different servers. For example, to manage a smaller deployment remotely, you can install Studio on a different machine than the server where you installed the Controller. To accommodate future expansion, consider installing components on separate servers; for example, install the License Server and Director on different servers.
    • You can install both the Delivery Controller and the Virtual Delivery Agent for Windows Server OS on the same server. Launch the installer and select the Delivery Controller (plus any other core components you want on that machine); then launch the installer again and select the Virtual Delivery Agent for Windows Server OS.
    • Do not install Studio on a server running XenApp 6.5 Feature Pack 2 for Windows Server 2008 R2 or any earlier version of XenApp.
  • Be sure that each operating system has the latest updates.
  • Be sure that all machines have synchronized system clocks. Synchronization is required by the Kerberos infrastructure that secures communication between the machines.
  • Components are installed in C:\Program Files\Citrix by default. You can specify a different location during installation, but it must have execute permissions for network service.
  • Most component prerequisites are installed automatically; however, the System requirements article notes exceptions.

Decide where to install the SQL Server software for the Site Configuration Database.

  • By default, SQL Server 2012 Express is installed automatically on the server when you install the Controller, if another instance is not detected. 

The default installation uses the default Windows service accounts and permissions. Refer to Microsoft documentation for details of these defaults, including the addition of Windows service accounts to the sysadmin role. The Controller uses the Network Service account in this configuration. The Controller does not require any additional SQL Server roles or permissions.

If required, you can select Hide instance for the database instance. When configuring the address of the database in Studio, enter the instance’s static port number, rather than its name. Refer to Microsoft documentation for details about hiding an instance of SQL Server Database Engine.

  • Alternatively, you can separately install a supported SQL Server version on that server or on a different server. In such cases, the SQL Server software does not need to be installed before you install the core components, but it must be installed before you create the Site.
  • Review the database considerations, and set up any supported redundancy infrastructure.

Important: Windows authentication is required between the Controller and the database.

Decide how you want ports opened. By default, the following ports are opened automatically if the Windows Firewall Service is running, even if the firewall is not enabled. You can disable this default action and open the ports manually if you use a third-party firewall or no firewall, or if you just prefer to do it yourself.

  • Controller: TCP 80, 443
  • Director: TCP 80, 443
  • License Server: TCP 7279, 8082, 8083, 27000
  • StoreFront: TCP 80, 443

For complete port information, see CTX101810.  For additional installation options, see Install using the command line.

Configure your Active Directory domain.

  • In addition to being a domain user, you must be a local administrator on the machines where you are installing core components.
  • Do not attempt to install any components on a domain controller.
  • The System requirements article lists the supported functional levels. See the Microsoft documentation for instructions.

When you install the License Server, that user account is automatically made a full administrator on the license server.

For Director, decide if you will use the shadowing feature of Director, which uses Windows Remote Assistance.

Good to know:

  • If a component does not install successfully, the process stops with an error message. Components that installed successfully are retained; you do not need to reinstall them.
  • Studio starts automatically after it is installed. You can disable this action during installation.
  • When you create objects before, during, and after installation, it is best practice to specify unique names for each object (for example networks, groups, catalogs, resources).
  • After installing components in Amazon Web Services (AWS), you will need to know the region, availability zone, VPC name, subnet addresses, domain name, security group names, and credentials when you use Studio to create a Site.

VDA installation preparation

For VDAs for Windows Desktop OS, decide if you want to install the HDX 3D Pro version. The HDX3D Pro feature delivers desktops and applications that perform best with a GPU for hardware acceleration. For more information, see the HDX 3D Pro documentation.

Decide how you will use the VDA. The default setting assumes that you will use a master image containing an installed VDA with Machine Creation Services or Provisioning Services to create other virtual machines. You can override this default if you want to install the VDA on an existing machine.

Decide if you want to install Citrix Receiver for Windows (CitrixReceiver.exe). You can disable this default action.

Decide how you want ports opened. By default, the following ports are opened automatically if the Windows Firewall Service is running, even if the firewall is not enabled. You can disable this default action and open the ports manually if you use a third-party firewall or no firewall, or if you just prefer to do it yourself.

  • Controller: TCP 80, 1494, 2598, 8008. For communication between user devices and virtual desktops, configure inbound TCP on ports 1494 and 2598 as port exceptions. For security, Citrix recommends that you do not use these registered ports for anything other than the ICA protocol and the Common Gateway Protocol. For communication between Controllers and virtual desktops, configure inbound port 80 as a port exception.
  • Windows Remote Assistance: TCP 3389. Windows opens this port automatically if the feature is enabled, even if you choose to open the ports manually.
  • Real-Time Audio Transport: UDP 16500-16509

For complete port information, see CTX101810.

Decide how you will specify the locations of installed Controllers.

  • Manually, by entering the Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) of the Controller. Although you can specify a Controller that is not currently in the domain, a VDA can connect only to a Controller in the domain. Also, you can test the connection only for Controllers in the domain.
  • Using Active Directory, if the Controller is in the domain.
  • Allowing Machine Creation Services to specify the Controller.
  • Later, by rerunning the installer, using Citrix policies, setting registry values, or using Active Directory OUs.

Citrix Group Policy settings that specify Controller locations will override settings provided during installation.

After you initially specify the Controller location, you can use the auto-update feature to update VDAs when additional Controllers are installed.

Decide if you want to use the following features:

  • Optimize performance: When this feature is enabled, the optimization tool is used for VDAs running in a VM on a hypervisor. VM optimization includes disabling offline files, disabling background defragmentation, and reducing event log size. For more information, see CTX125874. Do not enable this option if you will be using Remote PC Access. Default = enabled.
  • Windows Remote Assistance: When this feature is enabled, Windows Remote Assistance is used with the user shadowing feature of Director, and Windows automatically opens TCP port 3389 in the firewall, even if you choose to open firewall ports manually. Default = enabled.
  • Real-Time Audio Transport for audio: When this feature is enabled, UDP is used for audio packets, which can improve audio performance. Default = enabled.
  • Personal vDisk: (Available only when installing a VDA for Windows Desktop OS on a VM.) When this feature is enabled, Personal vDisks can be used with a master image. For more information, see Personal vDisks. Default = disabled.

Good to know:

  • The Print Spooler Service is enabled by default on the Windows server. If you disable this service, you cannot successfully install a VDA for Windows Server OS. Therefore, ensure that this service is enabled before installing a VDA.
  • The installer automatically detects your operating system and allows you to install only the VDA type supported on that system: VDA for Windows Server OS or VDA for Windows Desktop OS.
  • Profile management is installed during VDA installation.
  • When you install the VDA, a new local user group called Direct Access Users is automatically created. On a VDA for Windows Desktop OS, this group applies only to RDP connections; on a VDA for Windows Server OS, this group applies to ICA and RDP connections.
  • When you install a VDA for Windows Server OS, Remote Desktop Services role services are automatically installed and enabled (if they are not already installed and enabled).
  • For Remote PC Access configurations, install the VDA for Windows Desktop OS on each physical office PC that users will access remotely.
  • As an alternative to using the full-product ISO to install VDAs, you can use a standalone VDA installation package. For details, see Install VDAs using the standalone package.

Virtual Desktop Agents on Windows XP or Windows Vista

The latest Virtual Delivery Agents (VDAs) are not supported on Windows XP or Windows Vista systems. Additionally, some of the features in this release (and other recent releases) cannot be used on those operating systems. To use the full functionality in this release, Citrix recommends you replace Windows XP or Windows Vista systems with Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 10, then install a Virtual Delivery Agent from this release.

To accommodate cases when you must continue to accommodate machines running Windows XP or Windows Vista, you can install an earlier Virtual Desktop Agent version (5.6 FP1 with certain hotfixes). See CTX140941 for details.

Keep in mind that:

  • You cannot install core components (Controller, Studio, Director, StoreFront, Citrix License Server) on a Windows XP or Windows Vista system.
  • Remote PC Access is not supported on Windows Vista systems.
  • Citrix support for Windows XP ended April 8, 2014 when Microsoft ended its extended support.
  • Continuing to use older VDAs can affect feature availability and VDA registration with the Controller; see Mixed environment considerations.