Tag Archives: optimization

Windows 10 End of Support Cycle


Let’s go through a typical conversation I end up having

 

Me: What version of Windows are
you using on your desktop? 

You: Windows 10

Me: What VERSION of Windows 10?

You: Do you mean Pro or Enterprise?

Me: No. What Windows 10 version
number, like a build number?

You: Build number? Who cares?
I’m no  developer. It’s just
Windows 10

Me: Au contraire mon capitan!
There are 4 different Windows 10
versions, 5 as of October 17, 2017.

You: WHAT?

Me: And the first version no longer
receives updates, with the second
version stops in October of 2017

You: Are you #$@% kidding me?

Even though Windows 10 has been available for over 2 years, many people are unaware of the servicing cycle of Windows 10, and it isn’t surprising. We’ve all been used to the Microsoft desktop OS cycle being measured in years. We would roll out Windows XP and thought nothing more about it for 5-10 years until it was time to move to Windows 7, wait 5-10 more years and move to Windows 10.

But with Microsoft turning Windows into a service, we must start measuring the Windows 10 cycle in terms of months and NOT years.  Look at the history of Windows 10.

Windows 10 Version Name Release Date Branch End of Servicing/Support Update Count
1507 Windows 10 July 29, 2015 CBB

LTSB

May 9, 2017

October 13, 2020

30

32 and counting

1511 November Update November 12, 2015 CBB October 10, 2017 37 and counting
1607 Anniversary Update August 2, 2016 CBB


LTSB

TBD (March 2018)

October 12, 2021

20 and counting

20 and counting

1703 Creator’s Update April, 11, 2017 CBB TBD (September 2018) 3 and counting
1709 Fall Creator’s Update October 17, 2017 Semi-Annual TBD (March 2019)
(TBD) 1803 March 2018 Semi-Annual TBD (September 2019)
(TBD) 1809 September 2018 Semi-Annual TBD (March 2020)
(TBD) 1903 March 2019 Semi-Annual TBD (September 2020)

For anyone using the CBB (Current Branch for Business), which is being renamed to Semi-Annual, we are able to skip 2 updates (that’s good) before reaching the end of servicing timeframe where we will no longer receive security fixes (that’s bad). And with each CBB/Semi-Annual release running on a roughly 6 month cadence (that’s good), this requires us to perform a major update every 18 months (that’s bad).

Each release provided significant improvements in the overall user experience.  We received new functionality, plugins for Edge. We had better performing apps, like Edge. We could integrate newer technologies, like IoT.  But each release changed the operating system by including new default apps, services and scheduled tasks; impacting user logon time and overall system resource consumption.

In order to follow best practices, we need to optimize appropriately to achieve the best combination of user experience and resource consumption.  Each time we have a major feature upgrade for Windows 10, we need to repeat our optimization

  1. Optimize default apps
  2. Optimize Windows services
  3. Optimize scheduled tasks
  4. Optimize user interface/runtime

Daniel (Follow on Twitter @djfeller)
Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.15 VDI Handbook
XenApp Best Practices
XenApp Video

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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

Windows Server 2016 Optimizations for Citrix XenApp


When it comes to operating system optimization, I have two sides battling with each other. Although optimizing does improve single server scalability, I believe the more you mess with the OS the greater your chances are that you will break something.

Default Apps

Unlike Windows 10, which had numerous default apps that increased user logon time, Windows Server 2016 is free from such additions.

Services

Many of the services we disabled in Windows 10 are already configured as manual startup in Windows 2016.  Looking deeper, it would appear that many of these services are either started based on a request by an application or based on a scheduled task.If a manual startup service is disabled, then any application or system component that tries to interact with the service will fail.  This will result in application/system issues, support calls and long troubleshooting times.Based on that , the only service that you think about disabling is:

Continue reading Windows Server 2016 Optimizations for Citrix XenApp

Windows 10 Optimization: The untold story


For a few weeks, people in my house kept bugging me to fix our Internet problem. From time-to-time, devices were not able to connect. No eMail. No NetFlix. No Minecraft (this last one was devastating).

I tracked the issue down to my wireless router. The 4-5 year old device was extremely hot. There were 50+ devices connected to it!

After purchasing a new one, all of the connectivity issues went away. As I started looking at the features of the new router, I saw that there is a traffic monitor built-in. So, I turned it on.

The thing I find interesting with this graph at 3 AM.


There is a spike in the middle of the night. I tracked this over a few days and the spike consistently shows up. After doing some digging, it turns out that these spikes are my Windows 10 PCs and my Windows 7 Media Center PC doing their nightly updates.

This brings about an interesting point with regards to Windows 10 optimization. Although we said in Windows 10 Optimization Results blog that the optimizations gave us about a 20% boost in server density, what we have to remember is that many of the optimizations we implemented won’t be accounted for in the test time period.

Take the scheduled task “Customer Experience Improvement Program \ Consolidator” as an example. It runs every 6 hours starting at midnight. In order for this optimization to be reflected in our test results, the test must be run at one of the respective intervals. If my test only runs for 1 hour, there is a good probability I will not have a test running when this task is executing.

Many of the other scheduled tasks run at startup. Most performance tests I’ve seen only focus on the steady state, which means most of the startup scheduled tasks are also missed as part of the test.

So does this mean our 20% benefit for running the optimizations are false? Of course not, but it does indicate that over the course of a workday or workweek, the benefit might be larger than 20%.

But in the end, nothing will ever be better than a real-world comparison.

Daniel ()
XenApp & XenDesktop Best Practices
XenApp & XenDesktop Videos