Product Documentation


Aug 22, 2014

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.