XenApp Best Practice #6: You Will Fail


I love the outdoors. I love being able to completely disconnect from the rest of the digital world.

I want my kids to experience the same thing, which is why I often take them out on hikes. It is why I took my entire family on vacation to the Boundary Waters and Canoe Area in northern Minnesota. If you aren’t familiar with the BWCA, it is over 1,000,000 acres of complete wilderness. By complete wilderness I mean no roads, no electricity, no motors and no cell phone towers!!!

You paddle across a lake, then throw the canoe and your backpack onto your shoulders and portage to the next lake and repeat. As you would expect, you want to limit how much gear you bring in because someone has to carry it.

Taking a trip to the BWCA requires planning. You have to plan your meals. You have to plan your drinking water. You have to plan your shelter.

You also have to plan for potential issues. How will you protect your food from bears? What happens if the weather is bad?

However, no matter how much preparation and planning you do, there is the potential for something unforeseen happening that you didn’t plan for.

What happens if you flip a canoe? What if you can’t find a campsite? What if someone gets injured?

Of course, with enough time you can plan for all of these things and thoroughly prepare by bringing the appropriate gear, but your backpack would weigh hundreds of pounds.

If you plan for every potential issue, you will never succeed because you will spend all of your time planning. And even if you get to actually doing something, all of those contingencies plans will weigh you down and make for a very poor and costly experience, which fits into our latest best practice:

XenApp Best Practice #6: You can’t plan for every potential failure; focus some effort on recovery

Daniel (Follow on Twitter @djfeller)
Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 VDI Handbook
XenApp Best Practices
XenApp Video

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Citrix Visio Stencils (June 2017)


Now that Citrix Synergy is over, I’ve got some new Visio stencils for Citrix architects.

First, I’ve got role-based stencils for NetScaler (based on a request from a Citrix architect and Visio user).

Second, I created a stencil for Citrix Cloud XenMobile Service to align with the Citrix Cloud XenApp and XenDesktop service.

I’m noticing these XenApp and XenDesktop stencils have started to grow beyond XenApp and XenDesktop.  I think it is time to rename these stencils to Citrix Visio Stencils.

And like before, I created a set of Visio stencils in the Visio 2010 format.

Daniel (Follow on Twitter @djfeller)
Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 VDI Handbook
XenApp Best Practices
XenApp Video

Optimize VDI: Windows 10 User Interface and Runtime (Original, Anniversary and Creator Updates)


This is a multi-part blog series focused on optimizing Windows 10 VDI

As we saw in previous blogs, Microsoft added new default apps, services and scheduled tasks into the base operating system of the Windows 10 Build 1703 (Creator Update). These updates will have an impact on the user experience, especially in a VDI implementation.

Continue reading Optimize VDI: Windows 10 User Interface and Runtime (Original, Anniversary and Creator Updates)

Optimize VDI: Windows 10 Scheduled Tasks (Original, Anniversary and Creator Updates)


This is a multi-part blog series focused on optimizing Windows 10 VDI

As we saw in previous blogs, Microsoft added new default apps and services into the base operating system of the Windows 10 Build 1703 (Creator Update). These updates will have an impact on the user experience, especially in a VDI implementation.

Scheduled Tasks

Many of the new capabilities within the latest builds of Windows 10 also implements new scheduled tasks. Although the tasks do not run continuously, they will impact density when executing and many are irrelevant in a non-persistent VDI environment.

  • Build 1507: 130 Tasks
  • Build 1607: 166 Tasks
  • Build 1703: 165 Tasks

History has shown that optimizing Windows scheduled tasks can improve logon time and server density. It is recommended to review the list of scheduled tasks and disable those that are not necessary for the users.

To see a list of Windows services, run the following PowerShell command:
Get-ScheduledTasks

Color Code:

  • Green: Customer experience program tasks
  • Orange: Maintenance tasks
  • Blue: Tasks for applications
  • Purple: General system tasks
  • Red: Safety and security tasks

Continue reading Optimize VDI: Windows 10 Scheduled Tasks (Original, Anniversary and Creator Updates)

Achieving fast logon times


Wow! That’s fast.  That is the reaction users should have when they log onto their virtual desktop.

I’ve heard many talk about how slow or fast their logons are, but many times we tend to exaggerate.  I’ve discussed this topic before in two recent blogs:

So I thought it might be interesting to see the difference Workspace Environment Management has on the logon experience with VDI.

Note: Both of these examples mapped 5 drives, mapped 3 printers, used a 500MB roaming profile and executed a single logon script that queried a single AD Group.

Improving logon time is a fun topic because the experience is oftentimes so bad.  I heard (and I’ve complained) about the horrible experience.  On the opposite side, I’ve also heard many others bragging about how fast their logon times are.  What’s your logon time?  Excited to share or afraid to say?

Daniel (Follow on Twitter @djfeller)
Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 VDI Handbook
XenApp Best Practices
XenApp Video

Optimize VDI: Windows 10 Services (Original, Anniversary and Creator Updates)


This is a multi-part blog series focused on optimizing Windows 10 VDI

As we saw in a previous blog, Microsoft added new default apps into the base operating system of the Windows 10 Build 1703 (Creator Update). These updates will have an impact on the user experience, especially in a VDI implementation.

Windows Services

Many of the new capabilities with the latest builds of Windows 10 also implements new Windows services. With each release, the number of services has steadily increased.

  • Build 1507: 196 Services
  • Build 1607: 212 Services
  • Build 1703: 223 Services

History has shown that optimizing Windows services can improve logon time and server density. It is recommended to review the list of services and disable those that are not necessary for the users.

To see a list of Windows services, run the following PowerShell command:
Get-Services

The table below shows the state of each service (Stoppped or Running).  Only services with a green, orange and red shading should be considered for disabling.

Color Code:

  • Green: A currently running service; consider disabling
  • Orange: A stopped service that will run when requested; consider disabling
  • Red: Disable IF an alternative approach is used

Continue reading Optimize VDI: Windows 10 Services (Original, Anniversary and Creator Updates)

Optimize VDI: Windows 10 Default Apps (Original, Anniversary and Creator Updates)


This is a multi-part blog series focused on optimizing Windows 10 VDI

With the release of Windows 10 Build 1703 (Creator Update), Microsoft added new capabilities into the base operating system that will have an impact on the user experience in a VDI implementation.

Default Apps

Microsoft expanded the list of default applications that come pre-installed within the base OS.

With each release, the number of default apps increased.

  • Build 1507: 24 Apps
  • Build 1607: 26 Apps
  • Build 1703: 31 Apps

As shown in previous tests, leaving these apps part of the base operating system directly impact user logon time and overall system density. It is generally recommended to review the list of apps and uninstall those that are not necessary for the users.

To see a list of default Windows apps, run the following PowerShell command:
Get-ProvisionedAppXPackage -Online|Select DisplayName

Color Code:

  • Green: Remove
  • Orange: Consider removing
  • Red: Keep
  • Black: App does not exist on build

Continue reading Optimize VDI: Windows 10 Default Apps (Original, Anniversary and Creator Updates)

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My virtual desktop journey