Remote PC Access – For Computing Labs


Using Remote PC Access for Office Workers is an extremely easy use case where we have a 1:1 relationship between users and PCS. But what about computing labs where the relationship changes from 1:Many?

This type of architecture looks slightly different.

A few things to be aware of with computing labs

  1. Computing labs typically have more users than PCs.
  2. Users are able to use any available PC in the lab. There are no permanent assignments.
  3. User access to a PC is based on user request. If no PC is available to fulfill the request, the user must make a new request and try again.

To make this work, each PC that needs to be accessed remotely must include the Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA).  There are different ways to get this VDA.

  • Full VDA: Within the ISO (\x64\XenDesktop Setup\XenDesktopVDASetup.exe), there is the full VDA. If this is used, it must include the “/remotepc” command line parameter. This simply prevents certain features, which are not needed in a Remote PC Access deployment, from getting installed.
  • Remote PC Access VDA: Within the ISO, there is a VDA specific for Remote PC Access called “\x64\XenDesktop Setup\XenDesktopRemotePCSetup.exe”. This executable is the same as the first one except no command line parameters are required, making for an easier installation process.

Assignments

In an office-based Remote PC Access deployment, we need to assign users to individual PCs. When we work in a computing lab, users need a temporary assignment to a PC.

Using the machine catalog creation wizard within Citrix Studio, we need to use a Single-session OS with no power management and image management where users are randomly assigned.

Policies

With computing labs, we need to be careful about allowing users to remain on PCs for too long. Remember, we have more users than PCs. We want to set idle timers so a few users don’t monopolize systems.

  • Disconnection session timer: Enable to limit how long users can be disconnected before the PC is released for other users
  • Disconnected session timer interval: Define how many minutes a user can be disconnected before the PC is available for a new user. Recommendation is to keep this value low.
  • Session connection timer: Enable to limit how long an active user can remain using the session.
  • Session connection timer interval: Define how many minutes a user can be active before they are logged off. In some cases, a computing lab is used only for scheduled classes with a defined class length. Defining session connection limits will help maintain resources for multiple classes.
  • Session idle timer: Enable to limit how long users can be idle before the PC is released for other users
  • Session idle timer interval: Define how many minutes a user can be idle before the PC is available for a new user. Recombination is to keep this value long enough for the user to take a small break without losing their PC but not too long where a single user monopolizes a PC. In computing labs, 10-30 minutes is usually ideal.

Because we are dealing with physical PCs that are not being power managed, we need to prevent users from shutting down the PC. Let me say that again, because it is super important: the physical PC MUST remain powered on.

There are ways to help keep a PC powered on:

  1. GPO: Create a GPO, enable this setting and assign it to users: User Configuration – Administrative Templates – Start Menu and Taskbar – Remove and prevent access to the shutdown command.
  2. BIOS: In the unlikely event of a power failure, the PC will be off. But when the power comes back on, we need those PCs to auto-start.  Some BIOS settings allow the PC to automatically power on after a power failure.  This should be enabled.

3 thoughts on “Remote PC Access – For Computing Labs”

  1. this doesn’t work if you don’t have the licenses. We have a Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Advanced|Concurrent – and I can’t use this at all. All over the internet I see posts about using this feature but no one says anything about the licensing!

    Like

  2. Be careful though, make sure they don’t try to sell you something you don’t need. They have been doing that a lot, lately.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.