Install VDAs using the standalone package
May 11, 2018
As an alternative to using the full-product XenApp or XenDesktop ISO to install Virtual Delivery Agents (VDAs), you can use a standalone VDA installation package. The smaller package more easily accommodates deployments using Electronic Software Delivery (ESD) packages that are staged or copied locally, have physical machines, or have remote offices.
The standalone VDA package is intended primarily for deployments that use command-line (silent) installation - it supports the same command line parameters as the XenDesktopVdaSetup.exe command, which is used by the full-product installer. The package also offers a graphical interface that is very similar to the VDA installer on the full-product ISO.
There are two self-extracting standalone VDA packages: one for installation on supported server OS machines, and another for supported workstation (desktop) OS machines.
Prerequisites and considerations
The supported operating systems for VDAs, plus other requirements before installation, are listed in System requirements. See Prepare to install for details about the information you provide and choices you make during VDA installation.
The VDA package automatically deploys prerequisites, if the machine does not already have them; this includes Visual C++ 2008, 2010 and 2013 Runtimes (32-bit and 64-bit) and .NET Framework 4.5.1.
When installing on a supported server OS machine, the Remote Desktop Services (RDS) role services are installed and enabled before installing the VDA. Alternatively, you can install the prerequisites yourself before installing the VDA.
Exception: Verify that Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 machines have at least .NET 3.5.1 installed before you start the VDA installation.
- A restart is required at the end of the VDA installation.
- To minimize the number of additional restarts needed during the installation sequence, ensure that .NET Framework 4.5.1 or 4.5.2 is installed before beginning the VDA installation. Also, for Windows Server OS machines, install and enable the RDS role services before installing the VDA. (Other prerequisites do not typically require machine restarts, so you can let the installer take care of those for you.)
- If you do not install prerequisites before beginning the VDA installation, and you specify the /noreboot option for a command line installation, you must manage the restarts. For example, when using automatic prerequisite deployment, the installer will suspend after installing RDS, waiting for a restart; be sure to run the command again after the restart, to continue with the VDA installation.
If you use the graphical interface or the command line interface option that runs the package, the files in the package are extracted to the Temp folder. More disk space is required on the machine when extracting to the Temp folder than when using the full-product ISO. Files extracted to the Temp folder are not automatically deleted, but you can manually delete them (from C:\Windows\Temp\Ctx-*, where * is a random Globally Unique Identifier) after the installation completes.
Alternatively, use a third party utility that can extract cabinet archives from EXE files (such as 7-Zip) to extract the files to a directory of your choice, and then run the XenDesktopVdaSetup.exe command. You can use the /extract command with an absolute path. For more information, see How to use in the section below.
If your deployment uses Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, a VDA installation might appear to fail with exit code 3, even though the VDA installed successfully. To avoid the misleading message, you can wrap your installation in a CMD script or change the success codes in your Configuration Manager package. For more information, see the forum discussion here.
Citrix Display Only Driver
The Citrix Display Only Driver (DOD) is the only installed and supported display driver on the XenDesktop Standard VDA on Windows 10.
The Citrix DOD has no GPU assist, even if a GPU or vGPU is present. All rendering is performed by the MS Basic Renderer in the software using the CPU. The Citrix DOD does not support Desktop Composition Redirection (DCR). The Citrix DOD is not installed or supported on XenApp.
How to use
Important: You must either have elevated administrative privileges before starting the installation, or use “Run as administrator.”
- Determine which VDA installer package to use. USe VDAServerSetup.exe if you’re installing on a supported server OS machine. Use VDAWorkstationSetup.exe if you’re installing on a supported desktop OS machine. For single user, single server OS deployments (for example, delivering Windows Server 2012 to one user for web development), use the VDAWorkstationSetup.exe package. For more information, see Server VDI.
2. Install the VDA using the graphical interface or the command line interface.
Remember: You must either have elevated administrative privileges before starting the installation, or use Run as administrator.
Using the graphical interface:
Disable User Account Control (UAC), then right-click the downloaded package and choose Run as administrator. The installer launches and proceeds through the installation wizard. The restart at the end of the wizard is required before the VDA can be used in a site. (The wizard is the same as the one used in the full-product ISO to install a VDA; you will not encounter anything different.)
Using the command line interface:
Extract the files from the package and then run XenDesktopVdaSetup.exe. To extract the files before installing, use /extract with the absolute path, for example:
.\VDAWorkstationSetup.exe /extract %temp%\CitrixVDAInstallMedia
For example, the most common installation command used for Remote PC Access installs a VDA on a physical office PC, without installing Citrix Receiver or Citrix Profile Manager. The machine will not automatically be restarted after the VDA is installed; however, a restart is required before the VDA can be used. The VDA will register initially with the Controller on the server named ‘Contr-East’. Ports will be opened if the Windows Firewall Service is detected.
VDAWorkstationSetup.exe /quiet /components vda /exclude "Citrix User Profile Manager" /controllers "Contr-East.domain.com" /enable_hdx_ports /noreboot
Excluding Citrix Profile management from the installation (Using the /exclude “Citrix User Profile Manager” option) will affect monitoring and troubleshooting of VDAs with Citrix Director. On the User details and EndPoint pages, the Personalization panel and the Logon Duration panel will fail. On the Dashboard and Trends pages, the Average Logon Duration panel will display data only for machines that have Profile management installed.
Even if you are using a third party user profile management solution, it is recommended that you install and run the Citrix Profile management Service to avoid loss of monitoring and troubleshooting in Citrix Director (enabling the Citrix Profile management Service is not required).