Installing XenDesktop 7 in 31 Steps

Citrix have finally released the much anticipated XenDesktop 7, the co-joined XenDesktop and XenApp products into the one combined solution.
Below are the generic installation instructions and yes it can be done in 20 minutes if you already have spent the time lining up all your ducks in terms of information and pre-requisites

Here is a list of some of the
top new features in XenDesktop 7.
Installing your Site on your first XenDesktop 7 Controller

1. Run AutoSelect.exe and install any pre-requisites that are not yet installed to enable the installer to start.

2. Click on Start

3. On this selection page you have the option of what you want to install. For fresh installs you start from the left by selecting Delivery Controller, this installs the controller component required to set up your site.


The Prepare Machines and Image allows you to install the new VDA (Virtual Delivery Agent, not to be confused with Virtual Desktop agent used in XenDesktop 5.6 and earlier). The VDA replaces the traditional XenApp install for XenApp servers in all previous versions of XenApp, Presentation Server, Metaframe.
This makes a complete distinction between a controller where you install the full controller software and everything else. Gone are Worker Group Server concepts. Everything else just gets the VDA, be it a Windows Desktop OS, XP and above, or a Server OS, 2008 R2 and above.

Extend deployment allows you to install individual components separately if dividing up your server roles, i.e. you might have dedicated StoreFront or License servers as an example in most enterprise’s
Click on Delivery Controller

4. Accept the license agreement

5. Deselect the options that you do not want, i.e. if separating out StoreFront and the License server deselect these two options here. You will want to have deployed a License server elsewhere prior to installing your first XenDesktop 7 controller below, as the License server is asked for in the install.

6. Select optional Features, you will likely have a full SQL server elsewhere

7. Select how you want the install to configure local firewall rules.
8. A typical summary window appears to confirm what it will install – Click on Install
9. The install will start
10. Click on Finish with the option to launch Studio to start your Site Configuration in Studio. The install is now complete but you need to configure your site in order to do anything, and that's what Studio is for.

11. Once in Studio you have three options.
1. Full deployment – This will configure this controller as the first in your site.
2. Remote PC Access deployment - installs the Remote PC feature for remote access to physical machines with the VDA installed.
3. Scale out our Deployment – use this is if you are installing additional Controllers and want to join an existing site.
Click on Get started! Create a Site
12. As this is a new Controller and a new Site, select the "Configure the Site and start delivery applications and desktops to users", Enter the name for your site and click on Next.

13. Select your SQL store on which the XenDesktop Database will be created. You can test SQL connectivity by clicking on Test Connection. Alternatively if your install account does not have rights to create the database you can generate a database script that you pass to your DBA’s to run under an appropriate account that will create the necessary database.
14. If you sect Test Connection it will attempt to connect not just to the SQL server but also the database which unless you have had the database created won’t exist and the test connection will fail. Clicking on OK will prompt the install to create the Database for you – Click on OK
15. Click on close
16. Click on Next.

17. Enter your License server details and click on Next.
(See the License Server Install section below on Installing the License server, as we deselected it earlier for the purposes of this document).

18. Here you need to enter the details of your Hypervisor Host, and how you want to create VM’s. Click on Next.

19. Provide a name for your Network virtualisation settings and select your network that the VM’s will use. Click on Next
20. Now you will need to select the storage volumes to place the VM’s on when created and controlled. Click on Next.
21. Here you can opt to add an App-V Publishing server – Click on Next.
22. Another Summary will appear click on Finish.

23. The configuration will now commence and perform all of the actions previously selected.

24. Your site has been configured, and you are ready to create your first catalog.
Installing the License server
25. Run the installer as above in step1 and select Delivery Controller and then add Remove components and select License server, or alternatively Select License server from the right hand side under Extend Deployment.

26. Accept the license agreement and click on Next

27. Click on Next

28. Select how you want the installer to configure the local firewall

29. A summary will appear click on Install

30. The install will commence

31. Click on Finish. Now you can use the 30 day trial or buy your license's and get them from
Installing the License server

25. Run the installer as above in step1 and select Delivery Controller and then add Remove components and select License server, or alternatively Select License server from the right hand side under Extend Deployment.



26. Accept the license agreement and click on Next

27. Click on Next

28. Select how you want the installer to configure the local firewall

29. A summary will appear click on Install

30. The install will commence


31. Click on Finish. Now you can use the 30 day trial or buy your license's and get them from

Installing an additional controller

As you will no doubt need to provide some HA / Fault Tolerance or just scale out your controller service, here is how to add an additional controller

1. Run the installer as you normally would, click on Start on the Welcome page.
Click on Delivery Controller.

2. Accept the license agreement


3. Deselect any components not required, I already have a License server and a number of StoreFront servers elsewhere in my enterprise, but would like Studio and Director local.
4. Deselect any components not required, I already have a full SQL server elsewhere


5. Select how you want the installer to configure the local firewall


6. Review the summary, click on install.


7. The install will commence

8. Click on Finish, you know have an additional controller within your site.
9. Now you just need to configure it so open Studio and choose "Scale out your deployment"

10. Now enter the name of an existing controller and click on OK
11. Click on yes to allow this controller to update the database.
12. Now you have an additional Controller in your site.

XenDesktop 7 Top New Features

Citrix’s next version of XenApp and XenDesktop codenamed Avalon Excalibur has been in Tech Preview for a number of months now. Recently at Synergy it has been finally announced that XenDesktop 7 will be released in June or July 2013.

Here is a brief summary of some of the changes I have noticed by being part of the Citrix High Engagement Beta program, between previous versions of XenApp and XenDesktop, and new features you can expect to see. This is by no means an exhaustive list just some of the items that stood out to me - feel free to comment on any you think should be added.

·         No longer is there a separate XenDesktop site and XenApp farm and thus two sets of controllers, now there is just one site, one set of controllers for VDI, SBC desktops and Applications, and only one set of controllers managing it all.

·         There is no traditional XenApp Install for Worker Group Servers. This has been replaced with just a simple VDA install. There are two types of VDA, Desktop and Server OS. But essentially the same install (There are some differences in the type of ICA stack that gets installed single for desktop OS' and multi-user for server OS's - naturally) . but the installs are nearly identical and both are Version 7

  •  The VDA is now the “Virtual Delivery Agent” not “Virtual Desktop agent”, as it now enables the server component as well as the desktop, essentially this replaces the Worker Group XenApp install.
·         No IMA in XenApp, replaced with FMA (Flexible Management Architecture, in XenDesktop since V5.0)

·        Full Delegated Administration is available in XenDesktop, finally. This is more akin to the level of delegated administration that is available in XenApp.

·         XenApp has effectively gone the way of XenDesktop. Publishing an application requires a Machine Catalogue and a Delivery Group, just to be in a position to publish a single application.

·         StoreFront 2.0 (The replacement for Web Interface) has built in server propagation and synchronisation, so no need to repeat the same changes multiple times in a load balanced set up. You can propagate the changes from one to multiple StoreFront servers saving a lot of time and potential human error in making repetitive changes.

·         Desktop Director now has a significant amounts of extra information, particularly for troubleshooting and is just called “Director” as it has information from applications not just desktops. This has now become a far feature / data rich capability and has a lot of data formally only available in EdgeSight now presented to assist support in troubleshooting  - this is a significant improvement.

·         Likewise the Desktop was dropped from Desktop Studio, to become just Studio

·         Now there are only 3 console to manage your combined XenApp and XenDesktop environment (Studio, Director and StoreFront) rather than the countless consoles in the past. Plus one more for PVS if you use it.

·         Having said that expect to not see a lot of the features and functionality from XenApp and Web Interface currently available in their respective GUI‘s (AppCentre and Web Interface). Many features have been removed from the new Studio and Storefront GUI’s for some strange reason and most of this will require PowerShell knowledge to configure.

  • MCS now supports server OS's as well as just desktop's, so you can now simply deliver both, without PVS (which is still supported)

·         All previous versions of XenApp would only work with a specific version of the Windows Server OS. So if you had XenApp 5 on Windows 2003, and had a server OS upgrade project, it meant a complete new farm as well. Now however XenDesktop 7 will support Windows server 2008 and 2012 controllers and Desktop and Application servers. The idea is also that when Windows Server 2015/2020 and Windows 9 (or whatever it ends up being called) is released it will also be supported (may require an update to the controllers). This means that you can do server OS upgrades without needing to create a new Citrix farm every time. In essence the Citrix farm or site is abstracted from specific OS’s, the dependency on only one specific OS is lost, and the farm now operates at one level higher, and in essence a site or farm could exist a lot longer, evolving rather than being refreshed every three or so years in line with OS refresh’s. This new feature alone IMO is reason to upgrade and is a well thought out improvement.

·         Support for App-V version 5.

How to configure REAL Windows 7 Themes in XenApp 6.5

We have seen many tweets on articles such as on how to configure Windows 7 themes in a shared hosted desktop scenario such as XenApp 6.5

However the issue with this article is it doesn't configure real "Windows 7" Windows 7 Themes. What this article describes is how to enable some Windows 7 like themes. This difference can be illustrated in the following two pictures taken from the Personalize applet from firstly a Windows 7 Machine and secondly a Windows 2008 XenApp 6.5 published desktop after completing the steps in the above Citrix Article.

This is great, no complaints, however the second picture shows the choice of a Windows 7 theme with the standard grey Windows 2008 Server background and the Citrix Enhanced Desktop background. Neither of these look like the standard Windows 7 themes found on a standard Windows 7 machines. So the issue is how do I configure the same themes from Windows 7 machines into a XenApp environment. There are scenarios where you want to create a seamless experience across all machines, be they Windows 7 physical, VDI or XenApp?

Well as per the Citrix article you still need to enable the Desktop Experience feature and ensure the themes service is set to automatic.
But to get the Windows 7 themes download the file from these guys, donating if you feel like it:

Now you can include that in your XenApp build or use an AppSense Environment Manager computer Start-up action to execute the install.cmd file.

Then use either an AD Group Policy or an AppSense EM user login action to apply the "Load a specific theme" group Policy Setting
I am chosing to apply this via AppSense EM:

So nothing particularly difficult here but this gets the real Windows 7 Windows 7 themes into your XenApp environment not just the Windows 2008 Windows 7 theme!
Your users should be unable to tell the difference whether they are connecting to XenApp or XenDesktop.

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