Installing and Configuring Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop 7.6 (Part 5)

In this final article in this series we will look at some advanced configuration options of the XenDesktop Infrastructure.

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to :



In part four we configured a Delivery Group and discussed the setting which can be configured. With the creation of the Delivery Group, the XenDesktop infrastructure can be used by the end-user to start a Desktop or Applications. We will start with showing users starting a Desktop or Application on the XenDesktop infrastructure in this part. We will also go through some more advanced configuration options of the XenDesktop Infrastructure.

Connecting to the XenDesktop Infrastructure

In the previous articles we configured XenDesktop in such a way that it’s ready to allow users to start-up a session on the VDA. Connections are set-up via the Citrix StoreFront component. This can be done by configuring the Citrix Receiver to contact the StoreFront server or entering the URL of the Receiver for Web. For this article I’m using the last option, so I open a browser and enter the URL. A page will be shown where you need to enter the credentials and password.

 Figure 1: The start site of the Receiver for Web connection option

After logging on, the user will be presented with the Desktop and/or Published Applications which were assigned to his account. When the user has a Desktop assigned to his account, an icon on the Desktop tab will be shown (by default this is shown first, but this can be adjusted in the StoreFront configuration).

 Figure 2: Desktop tab of the Receiver for Web

When the user has (also) Applications assigned, those will be shown on the App tab. Different from the Desktop tab the icon(s) are not shown directly. The user (by default) needs to add the application to this tab. The user needs to choose the + sign at the left part of the site.

 Figure 3: Apps tab of Receiver for Web

After choosing the plus sign a new pane is shown, where the user can select the applications he would like to be shown on the Apps tab so he can start those applications.

 Figure 4: Selecting applications to be shown on the Apps tab.

By clicking the icon on the Desktop of the Application the session will be set-up. In figure 5 you will see the full Desktop of the end-user connected.

 Figure 5: Citrix XenDesktop desktop session

While we have a user connected to our XenDesktop infrastructure, the basic installation and configuration is finished. It’s out of scope of this article to describe all the possible configurations options in a real detailed level, however I would like to go one step further than the basic configuration we have done up till now to touch some additional configuration steps.


Citrix Policies

Since XenApp 6.x you can configure Citrix policies via two methodologies and these options are still available in XenDesktop 7.x. You can configure policies via the management console or via Group Policy Object in Active Directory. Again there is no good or bad way; it depends on the infrastructure and the organization which makes more sense. The settings are exactly the same and also the way they are applied is the same. Settings are available in two flavors: user settings and machine settings. 

In previous version those were shown separately, however in XenDesktop 7.6 they are both shown and you define later if only one flavor should be applied. I see both advantages (you are not searching between the two policy flavors for a specific setting) as disadvantages (configuring the filters for the policies will need more attention). One last tip is to only select the version and VDA type you have in your environment, so not applying policies are not shown anymore. As mentioned earlier it’s too much to discuss the policies in more depth. If this is of interest to you let us know so we can write an article about policies as I did in the past for one the previous Citrix products.

 Figure 6: Citrix XenDesktop policies



In XenApp 6.x version logging was introduced. In those versions the option was disabled and you need toed enable and configure it manually. In XenDesktop 7.x the option is enabled by default. However you may want to adjust the default configuration. This can be done on the Logging component in the Studio Console like changing the database (specify a specific logging database), the actions which can be executed when the database is not available or completely disable logging. In the same windows the logged actions are shown and reports can be created.

 Figure 7: Citrix Logging


Delegation of Control

Citrix products are well known of their advanced delegation of control. XenDesktop 7.6 shows that this it still the case. Within the product, already 6 different roles are created but you can add additional roles. The role can be fully adjusted to your organization needs. Secondly you can create scopes. Per scope you can configure which Machine Catalogs and/or Delivery Groups belong to this scope. Via scopes you can divide the XenDesktop infrastructure in multiple instances for administration purposes. The roles and scope come together at the administrator tab. Here you specify which AD user or group will be assigned to which scope with which role. In other words you can really create a very detailed delegation of control within XenDesktop.

 Figure 8: Citrix XenDesktop Delegation of Control



In this part of the Studio console you can check if the Controllers are updated and in the case a controller has failed you can remove the Delivery Controller out of the XenDesktop database.

 Figure 9: Citrix XenDesktop Controllers



Within Hosting you can configure your hypervisor platform. In most cases you will configure this component when you are using the Machine Creation Services (MCS) feature. MSC uses the information specified at this component to create and maintain the virtual machines. XenDesktop support all important hypervisor platforms including the corresponding management tooling. Logically you need to specify a user account that has the required permissions to execute the actions on the hypervisor layer and you need to specify the corresponding network and storage requirements.

It will also be used if you enable Power Management options within the Citrix Policies. If you don’t use MCS or Power Management you do not need to configure this component even if your environment is running on a virtualized infrastructure. For example when using PVS (Provisioning Services) and do not want Power Management you can leave this part empty.

 Figure 10: Citrix XenDesktop Hosting



The Citrix Licensing component is a separate installation. As mentioned in the first part you can install this also on a Delivery Controller. Whether you have installed it separately or on the same server in previous (XenApp) versions you need to start the specific Citrix License Server console to see licensing information. In XenDesktop 7 this kind of information is also shown in the Studio Console. You can also add licensing, change the license server or change the product version out of this part. I personally really like that this information is shown in the same console.

 Figure 11: Citrix XenDesktop Licensing



Maybe you would expect that at this part you can configure the StoreFront configuration, but you should use the StoreFront Console for this. Within the Citrix Studio console you can “only” specify StoreFront Stores. The configured Store can be used to assign to a Delivery Group. At this Delivery Group the Citrix Receiver will automatically be configured based on the selected StoreFront URL. The actual StoreFront URL is stored within the StoreFront component. Assigning a StoreFront URL is useful in scenarios where there are more Machine Groups or an old environment which host another (set of) application(s).


App-V Publishing

 Figure 12: Citrix XenDesktop App-V Publishing

The last component in the Studio Console is App-V Publishing. I already touched it quickly earlier. Here you can specify your App-V infrastructure (Management and Publishing server). If you have configured your App-V infrastructure, XenDesktop can contact the App-V infrastructure to automatically create Published Applications based on App-V 5 packages. If using Published Applications in combination with App-V this is a real nice feature. It does not configure an App-V client installed in the XenDesktop VDAs, this needs to be done via the App-V 5 PowerShell scripts.

 Figure 13: Adding App-V applications using App-V Publishing


Citrix Director

For those that are familiar with earlier releases of XenApp, notice that the Citrix Studio console does not contain any administration actions (think of user sessions, remote assistance and so on). For this kind of task Citrix created the Citrix Director. The Citrix Directory is based on a website, so you don’t need to install a client to use this. Just type the URL http://FQDN/Directory into a browser. After entering the user information the daily activities can be executed out of this console. On the Citrix blog a very good article series about the Directory is published, so please check that article series for all the details about Citrix Directory.
 Figure 14: Citrix Directory



With this fifth part we are finalizing the article series about Installing and Configuring XenApp 7.6. We started a session as a user to show that the basic configuration was completed. Secondly we briefly touched some more advanced configuration options available within XenDesktop. Some of those configuration options can be discussed in much more detail, but that was the scope of this article series. If you are interested in more detailed information let us know, so we know what interests you to write more in-depth articles about XenDesktop.

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to :

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