Product Documentation

Managing and Monitoring XenApp Sessions

Apr 28, 2015

You can interact directly with sessions by resetting, disconnecting or logging off sessions, or sending messages to users. You can monitor sessions through AppCenter displays or directly through shadowing.

Disconnecting and Resetting Sessions

A disconnected session is still active and its applications continue to run, but the client device is no longer communicating with the server. A user can reconnect to a disconnected session from a different client device without loss of data. For example, you might disconnect users’ sessions if they experience problems on their client device and do not want to lose data from their applications.

When you disconnect a session, you close the connection between the client device and the server. However, this does not log off the user, and programs that were running in the session are still running on the server. (Some applications that rely on virtual channels, such as media players, may behave differently. For example, if you disconnect from a session running Media Player while playing audio, the audio stops playing because the audio virtual channel is no longer available.) When a session is disconnected, session state displays indicate Disconnected. If the client user then connects to the server (by selecting a published application or custom connection to the server), the disconnected session is reconnected.

You can log off users from their sessions. You can also reset a user’s client session or a disconnected session.

You can also connect to a user’s disconnected session when you are using the AppCenter from within a client session on a XenApp server. To connect, you must know the password of the user who started the session. Your session must support the same video resolution as the disconnected session.

Resetting a session terminates all processes that are running in that session. You can reset a session to remove remaining processes in the case of a session error; however, resetting a session can cause applications to close without saving data.

When you reset a disconnected session, session state displays indicate Down. When you refresh the AppCenter display or when the next automatic refresh occurs, the session no longer appears in the list of sessions.

When special sessions listen for requests to connect to the server, the session state display specifies that it is Listening. If you reset a listener session, the server resets all sessions that use the protocol associated with the listener. For example, if you reset the ICA listener session, you reset the ICA sessions of all users connected to the server.

To use session controls

From the AppCenter:
  • To disconnect a session:
    1. Select the server to which the user is connected.
    2. In the results pane, click the Sessions tab.
    3. Select the session you want to reset. (You can select one or more sessions.)
    4. In the Actions pane, select Disconnect.
  • To logoff from a session:
    Caution: Ending user sessions using Logoff can result in loss of data if users do not close their applications first. Before initiating the logoff, send a message to warn users to exit all applications.
    1. Select the server to which the user is connected.
    2. In the results pane, click the Sessions tab.
    3. Select the session you want to log off. (You can select one or more sessions.)
    4. In the Actions pane, select Log off. Confirm the logoff when prompted.
  • To terminate processes in a user session:
    Caution: Terminating a process may abruptly end a critical process and leave the server in an unusable state.
    1. Select the server to which the user is connected.
    2. In the results pane, click the Users tab and select the session for which you want to terminate a process.
    3. In the lower portion of the results pane, click the Processes tab and select the process you want to terminate.
    4. In the Actions pane, select Terminate.

To reset a session, use the ICA Listener Configuration tool to disable and then enable the ICA Listener. Access this tool at Start > Administrative Tools > Citrix > Administration Tools.

To send a message to one or more users from the AppCenter

Sending a message that appears in user sessions can be helpful in situations such as broadcasting information about new applications and upgrades, requesting a shadowing session, or warning of a logoff or system shutdown.

  1. From the AppCenter, select the server to which the users are connected. To send a message to all user sessions in the farm, select a farm node instead of a server.
  2. In the results pane, click the Users tab and select one or more sessions.
  3. In the Actions pane, select Send Message. The Send Message dialog box appears.
  4. Edit the title of the message, if required, and enter the message text.

Monitoring Session Information

  1. From the Delivery Services Console, select the server on which you want to monitor sessions.
  2. In the results pane, click the Sessions tab. The display lists all sessions running on the server.
    By default, the upper portion of the results pane includes the following information for all sessions (click Choose columns to specify which columns to display and the display order):
    Field Description
    User Name of the user account that initiated the session. For anonymous connections, the user name is a string beginning with "Anon" followed by a session number.
    Session ID Unique number that begins with 0 for the first connection to the console. Listener sessions are numbered from 65,537 and numbered backward sequentially.
    Application Name of the published application running in the session.
    Type Session type: ICA or RDP
    State Active, Listen, Idle, Disconnected, or Down.
    Client Name Name of the client device that is running the session.
    Logon Time When the user logged on.
    Idle Time How long the session has been idle.
    Server Server on which the application is running.
  3. Select a session. Depending on the session you select:
    • Tasks become available in the Actions pane; these can include Reset, Log off, Disconnect, and Send Message.
    • The lower portion of the results pane displays tabs containing additional information: Information, Client Cache, Session Information, Client Modules, and Processes.

Viewing User Sessions

You can view another user’s session on another device by using shadowing. When shadowing, you can monitor the session activity as if you are watching the screen of the client device that initiated the session. If configured, you can also use your keyboard and mouse to control the user’s keyboard and mouse remotely in the shadowed session. Shadowing a session provides a powerful tool for you to assist and monitor users. Shadowing is a useful option for your Help desk staff who can use it to aid users. Help desk personnel can view a user’s screen or actions to troubleshoot problems and can demonstrate correct procedures. You can also use shadowing for remote diagnosis and as a teaching tool. You can shadow using either the Delivery Services Console or the Shadow Taskbar.

You enable shadowing on a server when you configure XenApp and select the default option, which allows shadowing on all connections on the server. If you do not leave the shadowing option enabled during configuration, you must reinstall XenApp to get shadowing functionality.

By default, the user is notified of the pending shadowing and asked to allow or deny shadowing.

Important: Your client device and shadowing ICA session must support the video resolution of the user’s ICA session (the shadowed session). If not, the operation fails. You cannot shadow a system console from another session.

For shadowing options by connection type, such as keyboard, mouse, and user notification options, use the Remote Desktop Server Configuration tool.

Viewing User Sessions with the Shadow Taskbar

Use the Shadow Taskbar to shadow multiple ICA sessions from a single location, including the server console. Use the Shadow button to start shadowing one or more users. The Shadow Taskbar uses the client to launch an ICA session to monitor a user. A separate ICA session is started for each shadowed user.

You must enter your user name and password to start an ICA session on the server running the Shadow Taskbar.

Note the following:
  • The client uses a license to log on to the server and start shadowing a user.
  • The Shadow Taskbar shows sessions on the server or domain you logged on to. You can view servers in a different domain by logging on to an account in that domain and restarting the Shadow Taskbar.
  • Each shadow session consumes memory on the server, so limit the number of simultaneous shadow sessions.

Each shadowed session is represented by a task button on the Shadow Taskbar. Use this button to switch quickly between the shadowing sessions you have open.

To start the Shadow Taskbar

  1. From the Start menu, choose All Programs > Citrix > Administration Tools > Shadow Taskbar.
  2. To configure shadowing options, right-click an empty area of the Shadow Taskbar or press SHIFT + F10. To switch to a shadow session, click its button in the Shadow Taskbar.

To close the Shadow Taskbar, right-click an empty area of the Shadow Taskbar and select Exit.

Enabling Logging for Shadowing

After configuring XenApp, you can enable shadow logging and configure shadow logging output to one of two locations on the server:

  • In a central file. Configuring this option records a limited number of logging events, such as when and who started a shadowing session and who is being shadowed. When you configure shadow logging through the Shadow Taskbar, the logged events are not recorded in the Windows Event log. Instead, they go to a file that you specify.
  • In the Windows Event log. Configuring this option logs several different event types in the Application log of the Windows Event log. These include user shadowing requests, such as when users stop shadowing, failure to launch shadowing, and access to shadowing denied. However, these events are logged as they occur and it can be cumbersome to see a shadowing history because the events are strewn throughout the Event log.

For ease of management, consider logging events in a central file. Only shadowing events go in to this file, so they are more centralized and easier to review.

To configure shadow logging to log in a central file

  1. Click on an empty area of the Shadow Taskbar and press SHIFT + F10.
  2. Click Logging Options.
  3. Select the Enable Logging check box and specify a log file path.

Click Clear Log to empty the current log file.

To enable shadow logging in the Windows Event log

Configure the Citrix User policy Log shadow attempts setting.

Enabling User-to-User Shadowing with Policies

You can create a user policy to enable user-to-user shadowing, which allows users to shadow other users without requiring them to be members of the Citrix administrator group. With user-to-user shadowing, multiple users from different locations can view presentations and training sessions, allowing one-to-many, many-to-one, and many-to-many online collaboration. Also, you can enable Help Desk personnel to shadow users’ sessions or allow your Sales Department to hold an online meeting to review sales leads.

Important: You configure shadowing settings during XenApp configuration. If you choose to prohibit shadowing during configuration, you cannot enable shadowing with user policies.

You enable user-to-user shadowing by creating policies that define users who can and cannot shadow. You then assign the policies to the users to be shadowed.

The list of users permitted to shadow is exclusive for each user for whom a policy is assigned. For example, if you create a policy that permits User A to shadow User B, this policy allows only User A to shadow User B, unless you add more users to the list of users who can shadow in the same policy’s Property sheet.

To create a policy to define users who can shadow

  1. Create a user policy that identifies the users who can shadow other users’ sessions.
  2. Assign the policy to the users to be shadowed.
  3. Publish the Citrix Shadow Taskbar and assign it to the users who will shadow. Be sure to instruct these users how to initiate shadowing from their client devices.
Note: Instruct users not to launch the Shadow taskbar in seamless mode. The Shadow taskbar cannot function in seamless mode.

Example: To create a user policy for user-to-user shadowing and assign it to users

This example demonstrates how to enable user-to-user shadowing by creating a policy for your “Sales” user group that allows them to shadow the department manager for online collaboration on sales leads. This procedure shows the creation of a shadowing policy.

  1. Create a new policy named “Sales Group Shadowing.”
  2. Add the Shadowing Citrix Computer policy setting and set it to Allowed
  3. Because the Sales Manager may work with sensitive data, add the Notify user of pending shadow connections Citrix User policy setting and set it to Enabled. If the Sales Manager does not want other users to be able to take control of his mouse and keyboard, add the Input from shadow connections Citrix User policy setting and set it to Prohibited.
  4. Add the Users who can shadow other users Citrix User policy setting, and select the users who can shadow the Sales Manager.
  5. To specify users who cannot shadow the Sales Manager, add the Users who cannot shadow other users Citrix User policy setting, and select users.
  6. Add the User filter and select the users who can receive shadowing requests.