Product Documentation

Prepare to install

Nov 04, 2016

Installers

The full-product installer allows you to deploy many XenApp or XenDesktop components, technologies, and features. You can also use a standalone VDA installation package (available from the Citrix download site) to install VDAs. All installers offer graphical and command line interfaces.

In addition to the installers, the product ISO contains sample scripts that install, upgrade, or remove VDAs for groups of machines in Active Directory. You can also apply the scripts to individual machines and use them to manage master images used by Machine Creation Services and Provisioning Services. For details, see the Install VDAs using scripts article.  

Full-product installer

Using the full-product installer, which is provided in the XenApp and XenDesktop ISO, you can install:

  • Core XenApp and XenDesktop components: Delivery Controller, Studio, Director, StoreFront, License Server
  • VDAs: Virtual Delivery Agent for Server OS, Virtual Delivery Agent for Desktop OS
  • Universal Print Server: UpsServer component on print servers (the product download site may also contain UpsServer download packages)
  • Federated Authentication Service
  • Self-Service Password Reset Service

Instructions for using the full-product installer are available at: using the graphical interface and using the command line interface.

Standalone VDA installation package

The standalone VDA installation packages (which are available for download from the XenApp and XenDesktop download pages) contain commands to install a VDA for Desktop OS or a VDA for Server OS.

Although the standalone package is significantly smaller than the full-product ISO, it supports all the VDA options available with the full-product installer, Compared to the full-product ISO, the standalone VDA package more easily accommodates deployments using Electronic Software Distribution (ESD) packages that are staged or copied locally, have physical machines, or have remote offices. This package is intended primarily for command line installations; it supports the same command line options as the full-product installer. The package also offers a graphical interface that is equivalent to the full-product installer.

Instructions for using the standalone VDA packages are available at: using the graphical interface and using the command line interface.

By default, files in the self-extracting standalone VDA for Server OS 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 installer. 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, you can use the /extract command with an absolute path.

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 at http://discussions.citrix.com/topic/350000-sccm-install-of-vda-71-fails-with-exit-code-3/.

General installation guidance

  • If you are unfamiliar with the product and its components, review the Technical overview articles. If your current deployment is XenApp 6.x or earlier, the Concepts and components article explains the differences in the 7.x versions of XenApp and XenDesktop.
  • When planning your deployment, review the security articles.
  • Check the Known issues article for installation issues you might encounter.
  • If you are using a supported hypervisor or cloud service to provide virtual machines for applications and desktops, you can configure the first connection to that host when you create a Site, after you install components. However, you can configure the virtualization environment at any time before then. See the information sources listed in the Connections and resources article.
  • If you are using Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager to manage access to applications and desktops, see the Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager environments article.
  • Review the Databases article to learn about the system databases and how to configure them. During Controller installation, you can choose whether to install Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Express on the same server. You configure most database information when you create a Site, after you install the core components.

What happens during installation:

  • If a component has a .NET prerequisite, in most cases, the installer deploys the required .NET version if it is not present. The .NET installation might require a restart of the machine.
  • 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, and resources.
  • 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. When using the graphical interface, you can disable this action on the final page of the wizard.
  • Analytics are collected automatically when you install components. When using the full-product installer, you can choose whether or not thosee analytics are automatically uploaded to Citrix. Additionally, when you use the full-product installer graphical interface to install a Controller or a VDA, you can indicate whether or not you want to participate in the Citrix Call Home feature. For details about both features, see the Citrix Insight Services article.
  • The Citrix Receiver for Windows is included by default when you install a VDA. You (or your users) can download and install later versions of that Citrix Receiver and other Citrix Receivers from the Citrix website. Alternatively, you can make those Citrix Receivers available from your StoreFront server (see the Make Citrix Receiver installation files available on the server section in the StoreFront 3.0.x documentation, or the equivalent content in the StoreFront version you are using).

Permissions and Active Directory

You must be a domain user and a local administrator on the machines where you are installing components.

To use the standalone VDA installer, you must either have elevated administrative privileges before starting the installation, or use Run as administrator.

Configure your Active Directory domain before beginning an installation.

  • The System requirements article lists the supported Active Directory functional levels. The Active Directory article contains additional support information.
  • You must have at least one domain controller running Active Directory Domain Services.
  • Do not attempt to install any XenApp or XenDesktop components on a domain controller.
  • Do not use a forward slash (/) when you specify Organizational Unit names in Studio.
  • See the Microsoft documentation for Active Directory configuration instructions.

When you install the Citrix License Server, the Windows user account used to install the License Server is automatically configured as a full administrator on the license server. See the Delegated Administration article for details.

Where to install components

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

  • Review the System requirements article for supported operating systems and versions for the Controller, Studio, Citrix Director, virtualization resources (hosts), and VDAs. Most component prerequisites are installed automatically; exceptions are noted in that article. See the Citrix StoreFront and the Citrix License Server documents for 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. To do this, 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 any components on a domain controller.
  • Installing a Controller on a node in a SQL Server clustering installation, SQL Server mirroring installation, or on a server running Hyper-V  is not supported.
  • 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.

What to specify when installing core components

The following sections explain what you see and specify during installation. It follows the sequence of the graphical interface wizard; equivalent command line options are also provided. The installation articles provide details about how to launch the wizards and issue commands with options.

Components to install and installation location

  • Wizard page: Core Components
  • Command line options: /installdir, /components, /exclude "Local Host Cache Storage (LocalDB)"

By default, components are installed in C:\Program Files\Citrix. If you specify a different location, it must have execute permissions for network service.

Indicate which core components you want to install on this machine.

Note: By default, a SQL Server Express LocalDB database is installed when you install or upgrade a Controller. This database may be used for a future feature (not the Site database), and is not generally accessible by the Citrix administrator. If you are using the installer's graphical interface, you cannot prevent installation of this database; you can prevent the database installation if you are installing a Controller from the command line. Note that installation of this database has no effect on your decision whether to enable installation of SQL Server Express for the Site database.

Features used with core components

  • Wizard page: Features
  • Command line options: /nosql (to prevent installation), /no_remote_assistance (to prevent installation)

Choose or specify whether to install Microsoft SQL Server Express for use as the Site database. By default, this is enabled. If you're not familiar with the databases, review the Databases article. 

When you install Director, Windows Remote Assistance is installed automatically. You can choose whether to enable shadowing in Windows Remote Assistance for use with Director user shadowing, and open TCP port 3389. By default, this is enabled.  (Command line option: /no_remote_assistance)

Firewall ports for core components

  • Wizard page: Firewall
  • Command line options: /configure_firewall

Choose whether to open the following ports automatically if the Windows Firewall Service is running, even if the firewall is not enabled. You can open the ports manually if you use a third-party firewall or no firewall, or if you prefer to do it yourself. For complete port information about this and other Citrix products, see CTX101810

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

VDA installation guidance

Note: This section applies to installing VDAs on machines with Windows operating systems. For information about VDAs for Linux operating systems, see the current Linux Virtual Delivery Agent articles.

  • Review the System requirements article for supported operating systems and versions for VDAs. Most component prerequisites are installed automatically; exceptions are noted in that article.  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.
  • If you are installing a VDA on a Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 machine, verify that .NET 3.5.1 is installed before you start the VDA installation. For more information, see the Restarts section below.
  • The Print Spooler Service is enabled by default on supported Windows servers. If you disable this service, you cannot successfully install a VDA for Windows Server OS, so make sure that this service is enabled before installing a VDA.
  • When you install the VDA, a new local user group called Direct Access Users is created automatically. 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.
  • For Remote PC Access configurations, review the information in the Remote PC Access article. Then, install the VDA for Desktop OS on each physical office PC that users will access remotely. Do not enable the optimize feature.
  • The VDA must have valid Controller addresses with which to communicate; otherwise, sessions cannot be established. You can specify Controller addresses when you install the VDA or later; just remember it must be done! For more information, see the Delivery Controller addresses section below.
  • After you install a VDA for Server OS on a Windows Server 2012 R2 system, use the Kerberos Enable Tool (XASsonKerb.exe) to ensure the correct operation of Citrix Kerberos authentication. The tool is located in the Support > Tools > XASsonKerb folder on the installation media; you must have local administrator privileges to use the tool. Run xassonkerb.exe -install from a command prompt on the server. If you later apply an update that changes the registry location HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\LSA\OSConfig, run the command again. To see all available tool options, run the command with the -help parameter.

Restarts when installing a VDA

A restart is required at the end of the VDA installation.

If you want to minimize the number of additional restarts needed during the installation sequence:

  • Ensure that a supported .NET Framework version is installed before beginning the VDA installation.
  • 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. Run the command again after the restart to continue with the VDA installation.

What to specify when installing a VDA

The following sections explain what you specify during installation. It follows the sequence of the graphical interface wizard; equivalent command-line options are also provided. The installation articles provide details about how to launch the wizards or issue commands with options. 

Check VDA installation guidance for tasks you may need to complete after VDA installation. Remember that the machine on which you install the VDA must be restarted before the VDA can be used in the Site.

Unless otherwise noted, options are valid for all installers. However, keep in mind that certain options are valid only when installing a VDA on a desktop OS (rather than a server), or on a virtual machine (rather than a physical machine), or vice versa.

If an option is not valid for the machine on which the VDA is being installed, it does not appear in the graphical interface. If you include an invalid option in the command line, the installer generates an error when it processes the command, and the installation fails.  

How the VDA will be used

  • Wizard page: Environment
  • Command line options: /masterimage, /remotepc

The VDA environment specifies how you will use the VDA:

  • The default "master image" option indicates you will use Machine Creation Services (MCS) or Provisioning Services (PVS) to create virtual machines based on a master image created in a hypervisor or cloud service. You install the VDA on the master image. 
  • The "Remote PC Access" option indicates you will install the VDA on a physical machine or on a VM that was provisioned without a VDA. When you choose this option, the following components are not installed/enabled:
    • App-V
    • User Profile Manager
    • Machine Identity Service
    • Personal vDisk

HDX 3D Pro (VDA for Windows Desktop OS version)

  • Wizard page: HDX 3D Pro
  • Command line options: /enable_hdx_3d_pro

Valid only when installing a VDA for Desktop OS.

Configure the VDA for the standard or HDX 3D Pro mode.

  • The standard VDA is recommended for most desktops, including those enabled with Microsoft RemoteFX. This is the version configured by default.
  • The VDA for HDX 3D Pro optimizes the performance of graphics-intensive programs and media-rich applications. It is recommended if the machine will access a graphics processor for 3D rendering.
  • For Remote PC Access, the VDA is usually configured using the standard VDA option. 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), and NVIDIA Quadro and NVIDIA GRID GPUs.
localized image

Standard VDA

VDA for HDX 3D Pro

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

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

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 or Intel Iris Pro 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) and NVIDIA GRID.
  • 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 NVIDIA cards.

Components to install and installation location

  • Wizard page: Core Components
  • Command line options: /installdir, "/components vda" to prevent Citrix Receiver for Windows installation

By default, VDAs are installed in C:\Program Files\Citrix. If you specify a different location, it must have execute permissions for network service.

By default, Citrix Receiver for Windows is installed with the VDA. You can disable this default action. 

Delivery Controllers

  • Wizard page: Delivery Controllers
  • Command line options: /controllers

You can specify the addresses (FQDNs) of installed Controllers either when you install the VDA (recommended) or later. Although you are not required to specify Controller addresses when you install a VDA, keep in mind that that a VDA cannot register with a Controller without this information. If VDAs cannot register, users on machines containing those VDAs will be unable to access their applications and desktops. (Command line option:  /controllers)

  • If you specify Controller FQDNs when you install the VDA, the installer attempts to connect to the specified addresses. If the connection attempt fails, the installer provides informative messages.
  • If you choose to specify Controller addresses later, the installer reminds you of that requirement. If you install a VDA without specifying a Controller address, you can either rerun the installer later or use Citrix Group Policy.

If you specify Controller addresses both during VDA installation and in Group Policy, the policy settings override settings provided during installation.

Remember that successful VDA registration also requires that the firewall ports used for communication with the Controller are open.

After you initially specify Controller locations (either when installing the VDA or later), you can use the auto-update feature to update VDAs when additional Controllers are installed.

For more information about how VDAs discover and register with Controllers, see the Delivery Controllers article. 

Features used with VDAs

  • Wizard page: Features
  • Command line options: See individual feature descriptions below

The following features are used with VDAs:

  • Optimize performance: (Default = enabled) Valid only when installing a VDA on a VM (not a physical machine). 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 are using Remote PC Access. (Command line option: /optimize)
  • Use Windows Remote Assistance: (Default = enabled) 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. (Command line option: /enable_remote_assistance)
  • Use Real-Time Audio Transport for audio: Default = enabled) When this feature is enabled, UDP is used for audio packets, which can improve audio performance. (Command line option: /enable_real_time_transport)
  • Framehawk: (Default = enabled) When this feature is enabled, bidirectional UDP ports 3224-3324 are opened. (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 VDA to 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 more information, see the Framehawk article. (Command line option: /enable_framehawk_port)
  • Install Citrix App-V publishing components: (Default: enabled) Enable this feature if you will use applications from Microsoft App-V packages. For more information, see the App-V article. (Command line option: /no_appv to prevent component installation)
  • Personal vDisk: (Default = disabled; valid only when installing a VDA for Desktop OS on a VM.) When this feature is enabled, Personal vDisks can be used with a master image. For more information, see the Personal vDisks articles. (Command line option: /baseimage)

Firewall ports for VDAs

  • Wizard page: Firewall
  • Command line options: /enable_hdx_ports

Choose whether to open the following ports automatically if the Windows Firewall Service is running, even if the firewall is not enabled. You canopen the ports manually if you use a third-party firewall or no firewall, or if you prefer to do it yourself. For complete port information, see CTX101810. (Command line option: /enable_hdx_ports)

  • Controller Communications: 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.
  • Remote Assistance: TCP 3389. Windows opens this port automatically if the Windows Remote Assistance feature is enabled on the previous page, even if you choose to open the ports manually.
  • Real Time Audio: UDP 16500-16509.
  • Framehawk: UDP 3224-3324.

When you are done

After you review the information presented and click Install on the Summary page in the wizard (or submit the command) the display shows the progress of the installation. After the installation completes, a machine restart is required before the VDA can be used.