Citrix XenDesktop 7.5, Provisioning Services 7.1 and the XenDesktop Setup Wizard with Write Cache and Personal vDisk Drives

The original article I wrote for XenDesktop 7.1 and PVS 7.1 has proven to be extremely popular.  Several people have asked for an article that uses XenDesktop 7.5.  This article will show the same process as the original article but use XenDesktop 7.5 and show what differences there are, if any.

Update 24-Dec-2014: While writing the XenDesktop 7.6/PVS 7.6 update to this article, I came across many corrections that needed to be made to this article. There were several misspelled words, incomplete words, incomplete sentences and some missing words.  Every issue I found has been corrected.  If you notice anything else that needs to be corrected, please let me know.  I have also created a PDF of this article in the Store.

Note: There is now a XenDesktop 7.6 version of this article available.

Recently I worked on a project where the customer required the use of a Write Cache drive and a Personal vDisk (PvD) drive with XenDesktop 7.1 using Provisioning Services (PVS) 7.1.  Getting information on the process to follow was not easy and, as usual, the Citrix documentation was sorely lacking in details.  As with most things involving XenDesktop and or PVS, there is NO one way or one right way to do anything.  This article will give you detailed information on the process I worked out and documented and now updated for XenDesktop 7.5. This article is not about the pros and cons of PvD.  It is simply about what process can be used to create virtual desktops that require the use of a Write Cache drive and PvD.  I will not be discussing the overhead of PvD or the delay it brings to the startup, shutdown and restart processes or the I/O overhead, the storage impact or the storage I/O requirements or what is needed for High Availability or Disaster Recovery needs for PvD. Assumptions:

  1. PVS 7.1 is installed, configured and a farm created.
  2. XenDesktop 7.5 is installed and a Site created and configured.
  3. Hosting resources are configured in Studio.
  4. PXE, TFTP and DHCP are configured as needed.

All servers in my lab are running Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 fully patched.  The lab consists of:

  • 1 PVS 7.1 server
  • 1 XenDesktop 7.5 Controller server running Studio
  • 1 SQL 2012 SP1 Server
  • 1 Windows 7 SP1 VM

I am using XenServer 6.2 fully patched for my hosting environment.  There are separate Storage Repositories for the Virtual Machines (VM), PvD and Write Cache as shown in Figure 1.

Update: This has been tested with XenServer 6.5 with no changes or issues.

Figure 1

Figure 1

The Hosting Resources are configured in Studio as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2

Figure 2

To start off, in my lab I created my Organization Unit (OU) structure in Active Directory (AD) for my domain WebstersLab.com as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3

Figure 3

One of the reasons to use PvD is to allow users to install applications.  In order to do this I created an AD security group, shown in Figure 4, that will contain the AD user accounts and that AD security group will be made a member of the local Administrators security group.

Figure 4

Figure 4

Three AD user accounts were created, shown in Figure 5, for the three different PvD users for this article.

Figure 5

Figure 5

Those three test user accounts were placed in the LocalAdmins AD security group as shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6

Figure 6

Most organizations that use XenDesktop to serve virtual desktops or servers require that Event Logs persist between reboots or the security team sits in the corner crying.  Other items that may need to persist between desktop/VM reboots are antivirus definition files and engine updates.  To accomplish these a Group Policy with Preferences is used.  Why not manually change the file system and registry?  Because the XenDesktop setup wizard completely ignores all the careful work done by creating folders on the Write Cache drive.  When the Write Cache and PvD drives are created, they are empty and will NOT carry over ANY of the manual work done before hand.  So just forget about doing any of the items usually done by pre creating a Write Cache drive. The Write Cache drive is always created as Drive D and the PvD is created with the drive letter assigned during the Wizard. My Group Policy with Preferences is linked at the OU that will contain the computer accounts created by the XenDesktop Setup Wizard.  These are the settings in the policy used for this lab.

  • Computer Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Event Log Service\Application\Control the location of the log file – Enabled with a value of D:\EventLogs\Application.evtx
  • Computer Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Event Log Service\Security\Control the location of the log file – Enabled with a value of D:\EventLogs\Security.evtx
  • Computer Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Event Log Service\System\Control the location of the log file – Enabled with a value of D:\EventLogs\System.evtx
  • Computer Configuration\Preferences\Folder – Action: Update, Path: D:\EventLogs
  • Computer Configuration\Preferences\Control Panel Settings\Local Users and Groups – Action: Update, Group name: Administrators (built-in), Members: ADD, <DomainName>\<Security Group Name>
  • User Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\Start Menu and Taskbar\Remove the Action Center icon – Enabled

These settings will:

  • Keep the user from getting all those popups from the Action Center
  • Create the EventLogs folder on drive D (the Write Cache drive)
  • Redirect the Application, Security and System event logs to the new D:\EventLogs folder
  • Add the domain security group that contains use accounts who should be local admins to the desktop’s local Administrators group

Next up is to create a Windows 7 VM to be used as the Master or Golden image.  Do just basic configuration of the VM at this time.  Do not install any applications at this time.

Citrix provides a PDF explaining how to optimize a Windows 7 image. http://support.citrix.com/servlet/KbServlet/download/25161-102-648285/XD%20-%20Windows%207%20Optimization%20Guide.pdf

Once the basic VM is built there are four things that need done before joining the VM to the domain.

  1. Fix the WMI error that is the Application event log.  I know it is not a critical error but I am OCD and simply must have error free event logs.  Run the Mr. FixIt (this one actually works) from http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2545227.
  2. Install the hotfix for using a VMXNet3 network card in ESXi.  Request and install the hotfix from http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2550978.
  3. From an elevated command prompt, run WinRM QuickConfig.  This allows the desktops to work with Citrix Director.
  4. Disable Task Offload by creating the following registry key:
    1. HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\TCPIP\Parameters\
    2. Key: “DisableTaskOffload” (dword)
    3. Value: 1

The Write Cache drive will become drive D when it is created so before installing any software change the CD drive letter from D to another letter.  I use Z.

The VM is ready to join the domain.  After joining the domain, shutdown the VM.

Now two hard drives need to be added to the VM.  One for the Write Cache drive and the other for the PvD drive.  NOTHING will be done to these drives, they are just stub holders so Windows knows there should be two additional drives.  The Write Cache and PvD drive must be different sizes or strange things can happen.  If they are the same size, it is possible the write cache file and page file can be placed on the PvD drive and not the Write Cache drive.  To make your life easier, keep the drives different sizes.  For this article, I will use a 10GB Write Cache drive and a 20GB PvD drive. Make sure the new drives are created in the proper storage locations as shown in Figures 7 through 9.

Figure 7

Figure 7

Figure 8

Figure 8

Figure 9

Figure 9

Power on the VM, login with a domain account, start Computer Management and click on Disk Management as shown in Figure 10.

Figure 10

Figure 10

Click OK to initialize the two new drives as shown in Figure 11.

Figure 11

Figure 11

The two new drives appear in Disk Management as shown in Figure 12.

Figure 12

Figure 12

Leave the drives unformatted and exit Computer Management. At this time, any software and updates needed can be installed.  After all software and updates are installed, mount the PVS 7.1 ISO to the VM, open My Computer and double-click the CD.  When the PVS installer starts, click Target Device Installation on both screens as shown in Figures 13 and 14.

Note:  As this article was written, there is an update available for the PVS 7.1 Target Device Software.  You may need to check if there is an update available for your language and bitness of your client VM.  To install the Target Device Software update, please see this article.

Figure 13

Figure 13

 

Figure 14

Figure 14

Note: At this point, the installation process is the same for the Target Device Software from the ISO file and the updated software you may download from Citrix.  I am installing the update for this article. Follow the Installation Wizard to install the PVS Target Device Software. On the last page of the Installation Wizard, leave Launch Imaging Wizard selected and click Finish as shown in Figure 15.

Figure 15

Figure 15

You can exit the PVS Installer screen and unmount/disconnect the PVS 7.1 ISO from the VM’s CD drive. Click Next on the Imaging Wizard as shown in Figure 16.

Figure 16

Figure 16

Enter the name or IP address of a PVS Server, select the option for Credentials and click Next as shown in Figure 17.

Figure 17

Figure 17

To Create new vDisk, click Next as shown in Figure 18.

Figure 18

Figure 18

Enter a vDisk name, Store, vDisk type and click Next .as shown in Figure 19.

Figure 19

Figure 19

Select the licensing type and click Next as shown in Figure 20.

Figure 20

Figure 20

Verify only the C drive is selected and click Next as shown in Figure 21.

Figure 21

Figure 21

Enter a Target device name, select the MAC address, select the target device Collection and click Next as shown in Figure 22.

Figure 22

Figure 22

Click Optimize for Provisioning Services as shown in Figure 23.

Figure 23

Figure 23

Verify all checkboxes are selected and click OK as shown in Figure 24.

Figure 24

Figure 24

Depending on the .Net Framework versions installed on the VM, the optimization process could take from less than a second to over an hour.

Once the process has completed click Finish as shown in Figure 25.

Figure 25

Figure 25

The vDisk is created as shown in Figure 26.

Figure 26

Figure 26

Once the vDisk is created, a Reboot popup appears as shown in Figure 27.  DO NOT reboot at this time.  Depending on your hypervisor, you may need to shutdown to make the next change.  The VM needs to be configured to boot from the network first and the hard drive second.  If this change can be made while the VM is running, make the change and click Yes.  If not, click No, shutdown the VM, make the change and power the VM on to continue.

Figure 27

Figure 27

Before we continue, what did the Imaging Wizard do inside of PVS? First, a vDisk was created as shown in Figure 28.

Figure 28

Figure 28

Second, a Target Device was created, as shown in Figure 29, with the MAC address of the VM, linked to the vDisk just created and the Target Device is configured to boot from its hard disk because the vDisk is empty right now.

Figure 29

Figure 29

Once the VM has been configured to boot from the network first and the hard drive second, either power on the VM or click Yes to reboot the VM as previously shown in Figure 27.

When the VM is at the logon screen, logon with the same domain account and the Imaging Wizard process continues as shown in Figure 30.

Figure 30

Figure 30

When the Imaging Wizard process is complete, click Finish, as shown in Figure 31, and shutdown the VM.

Note: If there are any errors, click Log, review the log, correct any issues and rerun the Imaging Wizard.

Figure 31

Figure 31

What has happened is that the Imaging Wizard has now copied the contents of the VM’s C drive into the vDisk.  That means the C drive attached to the VM is no longer needed.  Detach the C drive from the VM as shown in Figures 32 and 33.  DO NOT DELETE the C drive, just detach it.

Figure 32

Figure 32

Figure 33

Figure 33

Now that the VM has no C drive, how will it boot? In the PVS console, go to the Target Device, right-click and select Properties as shown in Figure 34.

Figure 34

Figure 34

Change the Boot from to vDisk as shown in Figure 35.

Figure 35

Figure 35

The vDisk contains everything that was on the original C drive and the vDisk is still set to Private Image mode.  That means everything that is done to the vDisk is the same as making changes on the original C drive.  Any changes made now will persist.  When the vDisk is changed to Standard Image mode, the vDisk is placed in read-only mode and no changes can be made to it. Before the VM is powered on, an AD Machine Account must be created.  Right-click the target device, select Active Directory and then Create Machine Account… as shown in Figure 36.

Figure 36

Figure 36

Select the Organization unit from the dropdown list as shown in Figure 37.

Figure 37

Figure 37

Once the correct Organization unit has been selected, click Create Account as shown in Figure 38.

Figure 38

Figure 38

When the machine account is created, click Close as shown in Figure 39.  If there is an error reported, resolve the error and rerun the process.

Figure 39

Figure 39

Power on the VM and logon with domain credentials. Open Computer Management and click on Disk Management.  Here you can see the holders for the 10GB Write Cache and 20GB PvD drives and the C drive (which is the vDisk) as shown in Figure 40.

Figure 40

Figure 40

Exit Computer Management.

The XenDesktop 7.5 Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA) needs to be installed.

Update 15-Jan-2015

Note: You should always check to see if Citrix has released an updated VDA.  This link should get you to the XenDesktop 7.5 recommended hotfixes, unless Citrix completely revises their website again and break all the links, again.

XenDesktop 7.5 Hotfixes

The installation of the updated VDA and the ISO version are identical.

End of Update

Mount the XenDesktop 7.5 ISO to the CD.  Double-click the CD drive and the XenDesktop installation wizard starts.  Click Start for XenDesktop as shown in Figure 41.

Note: At this time, PvD is only supported for desktop operating systems.  PvD will not work and is not supported for XenApp 7.5.

Figure 41

Figure 41

Select Virtual Delivery Agent for Windows Desktop OS as shown in Figure 42.

Figure 42

Figure 42

Select Create a Master Image and click Next as shown in Figure 43.

Figure 43

Figure 43

Select the appropriate HDX 3D Pro option and click Next as shown in Figure 44.

Figure 44

Figure 44

Verify Citrix Receiver is selected and click Next as shown in Figure 45.

Figure 45

Figure 45

Enter the Fully Qualified Domain Name of a XenDesktop 7.5 Controller, click Test connection and, if the test is successful (a green check mark is displayed), click Add as shown in Figures 46 and 47.

Repeat until all XenDesktop 7.5 Controllers are entered.

Click Next when all Controllers are added.

Figure 46

Figure 46

Figure 47

Figure 47

Verify all options are selected and click Next as shown in Figure 48.

Figure 48

Figure 48

Select the appropriate firewall rules option and click Next as shown in Figure 49.

Figure 49

Figure 49

Click Install as shown in Figure 50.

Figure 50

Figure 50

The VDA installation starts as shown in Figure 51.

Figure 51

Figure 51

When the VDA installation completes, verify Restart machine is selected and click Finish as shown in Figure 52.

Figure 52

Figure 52

Disconnect/unmount the XenDesktop 7.5 ISO from the CD.

Citrix updates the Personal vDisk software often.  At the time this article was released, 14-Jul-2014, there was no update to the Personal vDisk software.

To check for an available update, in your browser, go to http://www.mycitrix.com and logon with MyCitrix.com credentials.

Click on Downloads, select XenDesktop and Components from the two dropdowns.  See if there is any update for XenDesktop 7.5.  If there is, download and install the Personal vDisk update.

Update 22-Nov-2013: Click on XenDesktop Component Updates after XenDesktop 7.1(4), select a product version and then Personal vDisk 7.6.0.

Log back in to the desktop with domain credentials. By default, PvD uses two drive letters: V and P.  V is hidden and is a merged view of the C drive with the PvD drive.  If drive V is already used, the drive letter can be changed. If needed, change the hidden PvD drive letter:

  • Key : HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Citrix\personal vDisk\Config
  • Value : VHDMountPoint [REG_SZ]
  • Set this to the drive letter of your choice. Ensure that “:\” is appended to the end of your entry (Example: X:\ )

Both user profile data and applications and machine settings are stored in the PvD. By default, this is a 50/50 split if the PvD size is at least 4GB or larger.  The percent to be allocated for applications and machine settings can be configured by setting the following registry value:

  • KEY: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Citrix\personal vDisk\Config
  • VALUE: PercentOfPvDForApps
    • By default, this value is set to 50
    • Changing this to 80 will result in the V: drive being allocated 80% of the PvD disk

Note: This value must be changed before the PvD is placed into production.

Everything is now complete. Before running the PvD Inventory, follow your standard procedure for sealing the image.  This process is unique to every environment.  For my lab, I have no antivirus software and I am not using WSUS so I have no registry keys to clear out. Manually run the PvD Inventory.  Click Start, All Programs, Citrix, Update personal vDisk as shown in Figure 53.

Figure 53

Figure 53

The PvD inventory starts.  Leave Shut down the system when update is complete selected as shown in Figure 54.

Figure 54

Figure 54

After the inventory completes, the VM is shutdown. Make a copy of the VM and create a template of the copy.  That way the original VM is still available just in case. When making the template, make sure the template is stored on a storage location that is available when running the XenDesktop Setup Wizard.  Change the template to boot from network only.

Since the C drive was detached, that leaves the Write Cache and PvD storage locations.  If you do not, an error “<host resource> has no available templates defined that are fully accessible by all hosts” is displayed during the XenDesktop Setup Wizard. In the PVS console, click on the vDisk Pool node, right-click the vDisk and select Properties as shown in Figure 55.

Figure 55

Figure 55

Change the Access mode to Standard image and Cache type to Cache on device hard drive as shown in Figure 56.

Note: If you leave the Cache type at the default of Cache on server, when you run the XenDesktop Setup Wizard there will not be an option to configure the Write Cache drive size.

Note: I am using Cache on device hard drive for this article.  With PVS 7.1, Cache in device RAM with overflow on hard disk is now the popular option.  I highly recommend you read the following two articles by Dan Allen before making a decision on the Cache Type to use:

  1. Turbo Charging your IOPS with the new PVS Cache in RAM with Disk Overflow Feature! – Part One
  2. Turbo Charging your IOPS with the new PVS Cache in RAM with Disk Overflow Feature! – Part Two
Figure 56

Figure 56

Right-click the Site and select XenDesktop Setup Wizard as shown in Figure 57.

Figure 57

Figure 57

Click Next as shown in Figure 58.

Figure 58

Figure 58

Enter the name of a XenDesktop 7.5 Controller and click Next as shown in Figure 59.

Figure 59

Figure 59

Select the host resource from those configured in Citrix Studio and click Next as shown in Figure 60.

Figure 60

Figure 60

Enter the logon credentials for the host resource and click OK as shown in Figure 61.

Figure 61

Figure 61

Select the appropriate template and click Next as shown in Figure 62.

Figure 62

Figure 62

Select the vDisk and click Next as shown in Figure 63.

Figure 63

Figure 63

Select whether to Create a new catalog or Use an existing catalog and click Next as shown in Figure 64.  If you Create a new catalog, enter a Catalog name and Description.

Note: The wizard creates a Machine Catalog in XenDesktop and a Device Collection in PVS with the Catalog name entered here.

Figure 64

Figure 64

Select Windows Desktop Operating System and click Next as shown in Figure 65.

Figure 65

Figure 65

Since we are using PvD, select The same (static) desktop, also select Save changes and store them on a separate personal vDisk and click Next as shown in Figure 66.

Figure 66

Figure 66

Make the appropriate choices.  For this lab, I am creating 3 VMs (desktops) with 2 vCPUs, 2 GB RAM, a 10GB write cache disk, a 20 GB PvD disk and changing the PvD drive to Y.  Click Next as shown in Figure 67.

Note: If you do not see the option Local write cache disk that means you left the vDisk at the default of Cache on server.  Exit this wizard, correct the vDisk properties and rerun the wizard.

Figure 67

Figure 67

Select Create new accounts to have new AD computer accounts created and click Next as shown in Figure 68.

Figure 68

Figure 68

Select the Domain, OU, Account naming scheme and click Next as shown in Figure 69.

Figure 69

Figure 69

Click Finish, as shown in Figure 70, and the wizard will begin creating VMs, desktops and target devices.

Figure 70

Figure 70

When the wizard is complete, click Done as shown in Figure 71.

Figure 71

Figure 71

Looking at the Device Collection in the PVS console shows the three target devices with only one powered on at this time as seen in Figure 72.

Figure 72

Figure 72

Looking in Active Directory Users and Computers shows the new computer accounts as seen in Figure 73.

Figure 73

Figure 73

In Citrix Studio, right-click on the Machine Catalogs node and select Refresh.  The new Machine Catalog created by the XenDesktop Setup Wizard is shown in Figure 74.

Figure 74

Figure 74

Currently there is no Delivery Group to deliver the desktops.  Right-click the Delivery Groups node in Citrix Studio and select Create Delivery Group as shown in Figure 75.

Figure 75

Figure 75

Click Next as shown in Figure 76.

Figure 76

Figure 76

Select the Machine Catalog and the number of machines to be added from the catalog to this delivery group and click Next as shown in Figure 77.

Figure 77

Figure 77

Select Desktops and click Next as shown in Figure 78.

Figure 78

Figure 78

Click Add users… as shown in Figure 79.

Figure 79

Figure 79

Use the Select Users or Groups dialog to add users and click OK as shown in Figure 80.

Figure 80

Figure 80

Click Next as shown in Figure 81.

Figure 81

Figure 81

Select the appropriate StoreFront option and click Next as shown in Figure 82.

Figure 82

Figure 82

Enter a Delivery Group name, Display name, an optional Delivery Group description for users and click Finish as shown in Figure 83.

Figure 83

Figure 83

From here, there are many options that can be configured.  For this lab, I edited the Delivery Group and set both Weekdays and Weekend peak hours to 24 hours as shown in Figure 84.

Figure 84

Figure 84

Every XenDesktop project I have been on, the customer wants all desktops powered on at all times.  To do this, on a Controller start a PowerShell session and enter the following commands as shown in Figure 85:

add-pssnapin *citrix*

Get-brokerdesktopgroup | set-brokerdesktopgroup -PeakBufferSizePercent 100

Note: I had a reader leave me a comment on the original article that said this setting does not apply to user assigned desktops.  But, I never got more than one desktop to start (out of the three in my lab) until I set the PeakBufferSizePercent.  As soon as I entered that command, within a few seconds the other two desktops powered on.

Figure 85

Figure 85

Exit the PowerShell session. After a few minutes, all the desktops will power on.  The desktops will reboot, I think, two times before they are ready for users to login. Back in the PVS console, the vDisk will show three connections and all three target devices will be powered on as shown in Figures 86 and 87.

Figure 86

Figure 86

Figure 87

Figure 87

Now let us look at how the Write Cache and PvD drives work. All three desktops are powered on.

I will log in as a different user into each desktop. All three users are presented with the standard Windows 7 desktop configured during the creation of the master image VM as shown in Figure 88.

Figure 88

Figure 88

Before we take a look at user customization and personalization, let’s see what is on the Write Cache and PvD drives.  I had to show system and hidden files and operating system files.

Figure 89 shows the Write Cache drive which shows the write cache file, page file and the EventLogs folder.

Figure 89

Figure 89

Figure 90 shows there is not much of anything useful to see on the PvD drive.

Figure 90

Figure 90

Back in Citrix Studio, refresh the Delivery Group and you will see there are now Sessions in use with no Unregistered or Disconnected machines as shown in Figure 91.

Figure 91

Figure 91

Double-click the Delivery Group to see detailed information as shown in Figure 92.

Figure 92

Figure 92

The first user is Ms. Know-It-All who probably knows Windows 7 better than the helpdesk team.  She configures her desktop to get all the Windows 7 “frilly” stuff out of her way as shown in Figure 93.

Figure 93

Figure 93

The second user is Ms. Tree Hugger who wants a pretty picture for her background as shown in Figure 94.

Figure 94

Figure 94

The third user is Ms. Artsy Fartsy who wants a background that changes as shown in Figure 95.

Figure 95

Figure 95

Now that each user has customized their desktop, reboot each desktop, log back in to each desktop and verify the user’s customizations persisted.

What about installing software?  User1 installed NotePad++ since she knows more than you do anyways, User2 installed Google Chrome to save the world from Internet Exploder and User3 installed IrfanView so she could do some artsy fartsy type work.  The three desktops are shown in Figures 96 through 98.

Figure 96

Figure 96

 

Figure 97

Figure 97

 

Figure 98

Figure 98

Now that each user has installed an application, reboot each desktop, log back in to each desktop and verify the user’s installed application persisted.

Since we are using PvD to allow users to install applications, where are the applications installed?

Looking at User1, we can see that Notepad++ was installed to c:\Program Files\Notepad++ as shown in Figure 99.

Figure 99

Figure 99

User2’s Google Chrome is installed to C:\Program Files\Google\Chrome as shown in Figure 100.

Figure 100

Figure 100

User3’s IrfanView is installed to C:\Program Files\IrfanView as shown in Figure 101.

Figure 101

Figure 101

The C drive view is a combination of the hidden drive, V by default, and C.  When users install applications they will install as usual to the C drive.  There is no need to install to the visible PvD drive, P by default.

How is the master image updated if an application needs to be installed that all users need?  Simple, in the PVS console create a Maintenance version, update it and then make it available to users. In the PVS console, right-click the vDisk and select Versions as shown in Figure 102.

Figure 102

Figure 102

Click New as shown in Figure 103.

Figure 103

Figure 103

A new Maintenance version of the vDisk is created as shown in Figure 104.  Click Done.

Figure 104

Figure 104

In the PVS console, go to the Device Collection the original master target device is in, right-click the target device and click Properties as shown in Figure 105.

Figure 105

Figure 105

Change the Type from Production to Maintenance and click OK as shown in Figure 106.

Figure 106

Figure 106

In the hypervisor, start that VM and open the VM’s console.  An option to boot into either the Production vDisk or the Maintenance vDisk is shown.

Select the Maintenance vDisk as shown in Figure 107.

Figure 107

Figure 107

What has happened is that the target device has been configured to boot from a Maintenance image and during the bootup communication, the PVS server recognized the MAC address and offered the target device the maintenance vDisk to boot from.  The maintenance vDisk is in Read/Write mode so changes can be made to the vDisk. Login to the desktop with domain credentials.  I installed Adobe Acrobat Reader as shown in Figure 108.

Note: Whatever software is installed, verify that any license agreements and popups are acknowledged and any other configurations needed are done before sealing the image and running the PvD Inventory.  For Acrobat, I acknowledged the license agreement and disabled updater.

Figure 108

Figure 108

Before running the PvD Inventory, follow your standard procedure for sealing the image.  This process is unique to every environment.  For my lab, I have no antivirus software and I am not using WSUS so I have no registry keys to clear out. Manually run the PvD Inventory.  Click Start, All Programs, Citrix, Update personal vDisk as shown in Figure 109.

Figure 109

Figure 109

The PvD inventory starts.  Leave Shut down the system when update is complete selected as shown in Figure 110.

Figure 110

Figure 110

After the inventory completes, the VM is shutdown. Once the VM has shut down, in the PVS console, right-click the vDisk and select Versions as shown in Figure 111.

Figure 111

Figure 111

Select the Maintenance version and click Promote as shown in Figure 112.

Figure 112

Figure 112

Select Production, Immediate and click OK as shown in Figure 113.

Figure 113

Figure 113

The updated vDisk is now available for use as shown in Figure 114.  Click Done.

Figure 114

Figure 114

Restart the desktops for them to start using the updated vDisk.  The desktops will automatically reboot after a few minutes.  This is normal.  Wait until this reboot is complete before allowing the users access to the desktop.

Log in to each desktop and verify the new application is available and the user’s original customizations and installed applications persisted after the update.

The three desktops are shown in Figures 115 through 117.

Figure 115

Figure 115

Figure 116

Figure 116

Figure 117

Figure 117

And there you have it, one way to do a XenDesktop 7.5 with personal vDisk process.

Citrix lists four ways to do this process in eDocs, three with PVS and one with MCS.  http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/provisioning-7/pvs-inventory-vdisks-pvd.html

I think it is strange they have MCS listed as a process in the PVS documentation but that is beside the point.

I hope this detailed process explanation will help you in working with PvD with XenDesktop 7.5 and PVS 7.1.

There is a PDF available of this article for $1.99.

Thanks

 

Webster

, , , ,

About Carl Webster

Webster is a Sr. Solutions Architect for Choice Solutions, LLC and specializes in Citrix, Active Directory and Technical Documentation. Webster has been working with Citrix products for many years starting with Multi-User OS/2 in 1990.

View all posts by Carl Webster

15 Responses to “Citrix XenDesktop 7.5, Provisioning Services 7.1 and the XenDesktop Setup Wizard with Write Cache and Personal vDisk Drives”

  1. willougr Says:

    With user assigned desktops also set AutomaticPowerOnForAssignedDuringPeak True.

    Set-BrokerDesktopGroup -Name NAME -AutomaticPowerOnForAssignedDuringPeak $True -PeakBufferSizePercent 100

    Thanks for all your hard work.

    Reply

  2. Paul Says:

    Great article!

    I noticed in the comments that someone else mentioned KMS not being explained and am at a crossroads with the Imaging Wizard. There doesn’t seem to be a CTX explaining how to set up KMS with the Imaging Wizard during master image creation. The CTX128276 article only explains how to set up KMS in the PVS console once the image is already made.

    Suggestions?

    Reply

    • Carl Webster Says:

      That is part of the sealing process for the master image done right before you put the vDisk into Standard Image (read-only) mode. It is only done once for the image and should never be done again.

      The process depends on whether you have Office installed in the image or not and also whether you have rearmed the Office product or not.

      You run the rearm process as the last step before shutting down the device booting from the master image vDisk.

      The account used for the Stream and SOAP services must be a member of the local administrators group.

      Right-click the vDisk, properties, Microsoft Licensing, KMS, OK.

      Right-click the vDisk, properties and change the vDisk to Standard mode and select your cache type , click OK.

      If I had KMS Windows and Office software, I could document the process but I don’t so I can’t.

      Hope this helps.

      Webster

      Reply

      • Paul Says:

        For anyone that is deploying KMS, I went through several test iterations before arriving at the one that works (for Windows and Office). The problem I ran into was that my environment uses PvD as well as KMS. None of the Citrix documentation talks about PvD in their KMS docs. Since Carl doesn’t use KMS, he doesn’t document it in this PvD article. Catch 22, right?

        Below, you can perform these steps in order to deploy KMS while using PvD.

        At one point in this article, Carl says, “Everything is now complete. Before running the PvD Inventory, follow your standard procedure for sealing the image. This process is unique to every environment. For my lab, I have no antivirus software and I am not using WSUS so I have no registry keys to clear out. Manually run the PvD Inventory. Click Start, All Programs, Citrix, Update personal vDisk as shown in Figure 53.”

        Right before running inventory, follow the article for KMS here:
        http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX128276
        (My scenario was 1 since I was activating Windows and Office.)

        1. Perform the rearm of Windows and then Office. Don’t reboot yet.

        2. Then, run the PVD Inventory Scan and allow the image to shut down.
        (Citrix support on the phone was previously telling me to rearm, reboot and then run inventory. They seem to be working off of bad information.)

        3. In the PVS console, select KMS in the Microsoft Licensing tab, put the vDisk into Standard Image mode and follow the rest of the article.

        4. In order for KMS to work on the Windows OS, you need to spin up at least 25 machines following the article. (I did 30.) Once the machines are on and registered, you should be able to log in and see Windows activated.

        HERE’S THE IMPORTANT PART FOR OFFICE

        5. In order for Office to work, you need to log in with and OPEN the Office software for at least 5 users. Leave Office open. Once you do this, you need to give Office a few minutes to refresh and activate on its own. Patience, grasshopper.
        (When I did this the first couple times, I would open Office for a user or two and see that it wasn’t activating and think that the process had failed… and delete the entire catalog of machines and start over with the vDisk prior to the clone.)

        6. I left Office open on the 5 users and then after a few minutes, closed office and reopened it for a user. Sure enough, the product showed as activated.

        For the impatient, you can log in to each machine, or send a script to all machines to activate Office using a command line of:
        cscript ospp.vbs /act
        Do it from the respective 32 or 64 bit directory for Office.

        This was the outcome of several test attempts. I hope that this leads to success for you. Good luck!

      • Carl Webster Says:

        Thanks for the write-up Paul.

        Webster

  3. Jared Says:

    Howdy Carl. Thanks for the simple clear instructions. One thing I’m stuck on is how to add new VMs to an existing Personal vDisk pool of machines. I created three with my original deployment, and they run fine. I’d now like to add 4-5 more VMs to that pool to use the same vDisk. I tried right-clicking the device collection and walking through the ‘Create Device’ wizard. I then added the machine account to AD. When I right-click and select boot, it says success, but nothing happens. I’m sure I must be missing some obvious step like something may need to be done on XenServer first. Do you have any suggestions?

    Thanks,
    Jared

    Reply

  4. ahmad hasan Says:

    hi ,

    I followed the exact steps as above , but the target vms are taking about 2 min to boot . Why is that , any ideas ? I used BDM not PXE

    Regards,

    Reply

  5. Steven Ruiz Says:

    Carl,

    Your instructions were great, but there’s one step I’m a little fuzzy on – creating the machine template. I can never seem to create a template that is available when going through the XenDesktop Setup Wizard. Is there any more in depth documentation on just that portion of the setup?

    Steven

    Reply

    • Steven Ruiz Says:

      Carl,

      Maybe I can be more specific about my misunderstanding. I am creating a master VM via PVS, yet the Xendesktop Setup Wizard only seems to recognize Host Connections that are using MCS. The MCS Connection Host doesn’t recognize the PVS template I created.

      Reply

    • Carl Webster Says:

      What hypervisor are you using?

      Webster

      Reply

  6. Gabe Says:

    Great write up and of course I have a question/statement.

    I noticed you didn’t select any Microsoft licensing option on slide 20. Typically I find my client leverage KMS so I make that selection and run scenario #1 from this Citrix CTX – http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX128276. Per the following CTX, this is a required step if leveraging KMS – See step #5 – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/provisioning-7/pvs-vdisks-image-wizard.html. I point this out as I’ve run into a number of client with KMS issues where a consultant or admin staff setup the environment and licensing errors in Office and/or Windows are seen. Hoping to save some of your readers some grief.

    Thanks again for such a great write up – Gabe

    Reply

    • Carl Webster Says:

      That was intentional. I don’t have a KMS setup in my lab and have no KMS keys to use and don’t have matching ISO files that use KMS so there was no way for me to document that part of the process. At customer sites, I use Scenario 2 in CTX128276.

      Thanks

      Webster

      Reply

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