Product Documentation

Install VDAs

Sep 27, 2017

There are two types of VDAs for Windows machines: VDA for Server OS and VDA for Desktop OS. This article describes the installation wizard sequence when installing a VDA. Command-line equivalents are provided. For details, see Install VDAs using the command line.

IMPORTANT: Before you start an installation, review Prepare to install. That article describes the available VDA installers and other considerations.

Step 1. Download the product software and launch the wizard

  1. On the machine where you're installing the VDA, log on to Citrix Cloud.
  2. In the left menu, select XenApp & XenDesktop Service.
  3. On the right side, click Downloads and select Download VDA from the drop-down. You are redirected to the VDA download page. Find the VDA installer you want and click Download File.
  4. After the download completes, right-click the file and select Run as administrator. The installation wizard launches.

Alternatively to steps 1-3, you can download the VDA directly from the Citrix download page. 

Step 2. Specify how the VDA will be used

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On the Environment page, specify how you plan to use the VDA. Choose one of the following:

  • Master image: (default) You are installing the VDA on a machine image. You plan to use Citrix tools (Machine Creation Services or Provisioning Services) to create VMs from that master image.
  • Enable connections to a server machine (if installing on a server) or Remote PC Access (if installing on a desktop machine): You are installing the VDA on a physical machine or on a VM that was provisioned without a VDA. If you choose the Remote PC Access option, the following components are not installed/enabled:
    • App-V
    • User Profile Manager
    • Machine Identify Service
    • Personal vDisk

Click Next.

Command-line options: /masterimage, /remotepc

If you are using the VDAWorkstationCoreSetup.exe installer, this page does not appear in the wizard and the command-line options are not valid.

Step 3. Choose whether to enable HDX 3D Pro mode

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The HDX 3D Pro page appears only when installing a VDA for Desktop OS.

  • The standard VDA mode is recommended for most desktops, including those enabled with Microsoft RemoteFX. The standard VDA mode is the default.
  • The HDX 3D Pro VDA mode optimizes the performance of graphics-intensive programs and media-rich applications. HDX 3D Pro VDA mode is recommended if the machine accesses a graphics processor for 3D rendering.
  • For Remote PC Access, the VDA is usually configured with the standard VDA mode. For Remote PC Access configured with HDX 3D Pro, monitor blanking is supported with
    • Intel Iris Pro graphics and Intel HD graphics 5300 and above (5th Generation Intel Core Processors and 6th Generation Intel Core i5 Processors)
    • NVIDIA Quadro and NVIDIA GRID GPUs
    • AMD RapidFire

Standard mode

HDX 3D Pro mode

Usually best for virtual desktops without graphics hardware acceleration, and for Remote PC Access.

Usually best for data center desktops with graphics hardware acceleration, unless more than four monitors are necessary.

Any GPU can be used for Remote PC Access, with some app compatibility limitations:

  • On Windows 7, 8, and 8.1, GPU acceleration for DirectX feature levels up to 9.3. Some DirectX 10, 11, 12 applications may not run if they do not tolerate fallback to DirectX 9.
  • On Windows 10, GPU acceleration is provided for windowed DirectX 10, 11, and 12 apps. DX 9 apps are rendered by WARP. DX apps cannot be used in full-screen mode.
  • OpenGL application acceleration in remote sessions if supported by the GPU vendor (currently only NVIDIA).

Supports GPU acceleration with any GPU. However, console blanking, non-standard screen resolutions and true multi-monitor support require NVIDIA GRID, Intel Iris Pro, or AMD RapidFire graphics.

Leverages graphics vendor's driver for broadest application compatibility:

  • All 3D APIs (DirectX or OpenGL) that the GPU supports.
  • Full-screen 3D app support with Intel Iris Pro (Win10 only), NVIDIA GRID, and AMD RapidFire.
  • Support for custom driver extensions and APIs. For example, CUDA or OpenCL.

Arbitrary monitor resolutions (limit determined by Windows OS and performance) and up to eight monitors.

Supports up to four monitors.

H.264 hardware encoding available with Intel Iris Pro graphics processors.

H.264 hardware encoding available with Intel Iris Pro graphics processors and NVIDIA cards.

Click Next.

Command-line option: /enable_hdx_3d_pro

Step 4. Select the components to install and the installation location

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On the Core components page:

  • Location: By default, components are installed in C:\Program Files\Citrix. This default is fine for most deployments. If you specify a different location, that location must have execute permissions for network service.
  • Components: By default, Citrix Receiver for Windows is installed with the VDA (unless you are using the VDAWorkstationCoreSetup.exe installer). Clear the check box if you do not want that Citrix Receiver installed. If you are using the VDAWorkstationCoreSetup.exe installer, Citrix Receiver for Windows is never installed, so this check box is not displayed.

Click Next.

Command-line options: /installdir, "/components vda" to prevent Citrix Receiver for Windows installation

Step 5. Install additional components

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The Additional Components page contains check boxes to enable or disable installation of other features and technologies with the VDA. This page does not appear if:

  • You are using the VDAWorkstationCoreSetup.exe installer. Also, the command-line options for the additional components are not valid with that installer.
  • You are upgrading a VDA and all the additional components are already installed. (If some of the additional components are already installed, the page lists only components that are not installed.)

Citrix Personalization for App-V:

Install this component if you use applications from Microsoft App-V packages. For details, see App-V.

Command-line option: /exclude "Citrix Personalization for App-V – VDA" to prevent component installation

Citrix AppDisk / Personal vDisk:

Valid only when installing a VDA for Desktop OS on a VM. Installs components used for AppDisk and Personal vDisk.

Command-line option: /exclude "Personal vDisk" to prevent AppDisk and Personal vDisk component installation

Citrix User Profile Manager:

This component manages user personalization settings in user profiles. For details, see Profile Management.

Excluding Citrix Profile management from the installation affects the monitoring and troubleshooting of VDAs in Citrix Cloud . On the User details and EndPoint pages of the Monitor tab, the Personalization panel and the Logon Duration panel fail. On the Dashboard and Trends pages, the Average Logon Duration panel display data only for machines that have Profile management installed.

Even if you are using a third-party user profile management solution, Citrix recommends that you install and run the Citrix Profile management Service. Enabling the Citrix Profile management Service is not required.

Command-line option: /exclude "Citrix User Profile Manager" to prevent component installation

Citrix User Profile Manager WMI Plugin:

This plug-in provides Profile management runtime information in WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation) objects (for example, profile provider, profile type, size, and disk usage). WMI objects provide session information to Director.

Command-line option: /exclude "Citrix User Profile Manager WMI Plugin" to prevent component installation

Citrix Machine Identity Service:

This service prepares the master image for a MCS-provisioned catalog. The service also manages each provisioned machine's unique Active Directory identity.

Command-line option: /exclude "Machine Identity Service" to prevent component installation

Default values in the graphical interface:

  • If you select "Create a master image" on the Environment page, items on the Additional Components page are enabled by default.
  • If you select "Enable Remote PC Access" or "Enable connections to a server machine" on the Environment page, items on the Additional Components page are disabled by default.

Step 6. Cloud Connector addresses

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On the Delivery Controller page, select Do it manually.  Enter the DNS name of  an installed Cloud Connector and then click Add. If you've installed additional Cloud Connectors in the resource location, add their DNS names.

Click Next.

Other considerations:

  • The address cannot contain the characters { | } ~ [ \ ] ^ ' : ; < = > ? & @ ! " # $ % ( ) + / ,
  • Successful VDA registration requires that the firewall ports used to communicate with the Cloud Connector are open. That action is enabled by default on the Firewall page of the wizard.

Command-line option: /controllers

Step 7. Enable or disable features

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On the Features page, use the check boxes to enable or disable features you want to use.

Optimize performance:

Valid only when installing a VDA on a VM, not a physical machine. When this feature is enabled (default), 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 details, see CTX125874.

Command-line option: /optimize

If you are using the VDAWorkstationCoreSetup.exe installer, this feature does not appear in the wizard and the command-line option is not valid. If you are using another installer in a Remote PC Access environment, disable this feature.

Use Windows Remote Assistance:

When this feature is enabled, Windows Remote Assistance is used with the user shadowing feature of the Director component in Citrix Cloud. Windows Remote Assistance opens the dynamic ports in the firewall. (Default = disabled)

Command-line option: /enable_remote_assistance

Use Real-Time Audio Transport for audio:

Enable this feature if voice-over-IP is widely used in your network. The feature reduces latency and improves audio resilience over lossy networks. It allows audio data to be transmitted using RTP over UDP transport. (Default = disabled)

Command-line option: /enable_real_time_transport


When this feature is enabled, bidirectional UDP ports 3224-3324 are opened. (Default = disabled)

You can change the port range later with the "Framehawk display channel port range" Citrix policy setting. You must then open local firewall ports. A UDP network path must be open on any internal (VDA to Citrix Receiver or NetScaler Gateway) and external (NetScaler Gateway to Citrix Receiver) firewalls. If NetScaler Gateway is deployed, Framehawk datagrams are encrypted using DTLS (default UDP port 443). For details, see the Framehawk article.

Command-line option: /enable_framehawk_port

AppDisk / Personal vDisk:

Valid only when installing a VDA for Desktop OS on a VM. This check box is available only if the Citrix AppDisk / Personal vDisk check box is selected on the Additional Components page. When this check box is enabled, AppDisks and Personal vDisks can be used.

Command-line option: /baseimage

If you are using the VDAWorkstationCoreSetup.exe installer, this feature does not appear in the wizard and the command-line option is not valid.

Click Next.

Step 8. Firewall ports

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The Firewall page indicates which ports the VDA and Cloud Connectors use to communicate with each other. By default, these ports are opened automatically if the Windows Firewall Service is running, even if the firewall is not enabled. This default setting is fine for most deployments. For port information, see Network ports.

Click Next.

Command-line option: /enable_hdx_ports

Step 9. Review prerequisites and confirm installation

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The Summary page lists what will be installed. Use the Back button to return to earlier wizard pages and change selections.

When you're ready, click Install.

If prerequisites aren't already installed/enabled, the machine may restart once or twice. See Prepare to install.

Step 10. Participate in Call Home

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On the Smart Tools page, choose whether to participate in Citrix Call Home, which is now a part of Citrix Smart Tools. If you choose to participate (the default), click Connect. When prompted, enter your Citrix account credentials.

After your credentials are validated (or if you choose not to participate), click Next.

Step 11. Complete this installation

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The Finish page contains green check marks for all prerequisites and components that installed and initialized successfully.

Click Finish. By default, the machine restarts automatically. (Although you can disable this automatic restart, the VDA cannot be used until the machine restarts.)

Next: Install other VDAs and continue configuration

Repeat the steps above to install VDAs on other machines or images, if needed.

After you install all VDAs:

Later, if you want to customize an installed VDA:

  1. From the Windows feature for removing or changing programs, select Citrix Virtual Delivery Agent or Citrix Remote PC Access/VDI Core Services VDA. Then right-click and select Change.
  2. Select Customize Virtual Delivery Agent Settings. When the installer launches, you can change:
  • Cloud Connector addresses
  • TCP/IP port to register with the Controller (default = 80)
  • Whether to open Windows Firewall ports automatically


In the Studio display for a Delivery Group, the "Installed VDA version" entry in the Details pane might not be the version installed on the machines. The machine's Windows Programs and Features display shows the actual VDA version.

More information

For a video of installing a VDA using the graphical interface, see the embedded video below, or at