• Citrix XenDesktop 7.12, Provisioning Services 7.11 and the XenDesktop Setup Wizard with Personal vDisk Drives

    December 15, 2016

    PVS, XenDesktop

    The original articles I wrote about this process have proven very popular and viewed well in excess of 150,000 times. The previous articles:

    This article will show the same process as the originals but use XenDesktop 7.12, Provisioning Services (PVS) 7.11, and Windows 10 and show what differences they bring to the process.

    Introduction

    This article will be different than the previous five in that no separate write cache drive will be used. 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 7.12 and PVS 7.11.

    Assumptions:

    1. PVS 7.11 is installed, configured and a farm created.
    2. XenDesktop 7.12 is installed, a Site created and configured.
    3. Hosting resources are configured in Studio.
    4. PXE, TFTP and DHCP are configured as needed.

    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 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.

    Update 15-Dec-2016

    Before getting started, if you are unfamiliar with how PVS works, here are a few links for you:

    Lab Setup

    All servers in my lab are running Microsoft Windows Server 2016 fully patched. The lab consists of:

    • 1 PVS 7.11 server (Server 2016)
    • 1 XenDesktop 7.12 Controller running Studio (Server 2016)
    • 1 SQL 2014 Server (Server 2012 R2)
    • 1 Windows 10 Enterprise Build 1607 x64 VM

    I am using vSphere 6.0.0b for my hosting environment. There are separate Storage Repositories for the Virtual Machines (VM) and PvD as shown in Figure 1.

    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, LabADDomain.com, as shown in Figure 3.

    Note: The XenApp/XenDesktop V2.0 documentation script is in development which is why there are so many OUs 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

    These are the settings in the group policies used for this lab.

    • Computer Configuration\Preferences\Control Panel Settings\Local Users and Groups – Action: Update, Group name: Administrators (built-in), Members: ADD, \
    • User Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\Start Menu and Taskbar\Remove Notifications and Action Center – Enabled
    • User Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\Start Menu and Taskbar\Turn off all balloon notifications – Enabled

    These settings will:

    • Keep the user from getting popups from the Action Center
    • Add the domain security group that contains user accounts who should be local admins to the desktop’s local Administrators group

    Create the Virtual Machine

    Next up is to create a Windows 10 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.

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

    Updated 15-Dec-2016

    1. Configure the pagefile so the Minimum and Maximum size are the same number. I use 1024KB.
    2. Verify the network connection is not Public, and then from an elevated command prompt, run WinRM QuickConfig.
    3. Disable Task Offload by creating the following registry key:
      1. HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\TCPIP\Parameters\
      2. Key: “DisableTaskOffload” (dword)
      3. Value: 1
    4. Disable all Network Interface Power Management settings as shown in Figure 7.
    5. Disable all Network Interface Offload settings that end in Offload as shown in Figure 8 and 9.

    #1 is done to keep disk I/O down and improve performance since the page file will not constantly grow and shrink.

    #2 is done because without it, neither Director nor Scout will work with the desktops created from the VM.

    #3 is a recommendation from Best Practices for Configuring Provisioning Services Server on a Network.

    #4 will keep desktop from going to sleep or becoming unresponsive when the network card is powered off to save power.

    #5 I have always been told to disable all the Offload settings for virtual NICs. In trying to find something to back me up I found conflicting information. Half the articles said to leave them Enabled and the other half said to Disable them. Then fellow CTP Carl Stalhood pointed me this MSDN article that says:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\TCPIP\Parameters\DisableTaskOffload
    Setting this value to one disables all of the task offloads from the TCP/IP transport. Setting this value to zero enables all of the task offloads.”

    In light of this information, item 5 in the list above is now redundant.

    Figure 7
    Figure 7
    Figure 8
    Figure 8
    Figure 9
    Figure 9

    The VM is ready to join the domain.

    After joining the domain, follow the guidance in the Citrix Windows 10 Optimization Guide to optimize the master image.

    Install PVS Target Device Software

    At this time, any software and updates needed can be installed. After all software and updates are installed, mount the PVS 7.11 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 10 and 11.

    Figure 10
    Figure 10
    Figure 11
    Figure 11

    Follow the Installation Wizard to install the PVS Target Device Software.

    Running the Imaging Wizard

    On the last page of the Installation Wizard, leave Launch Imaging Wizard selected and click Finish as shown in Figure 12.

    Figure 12
    Figure 12

    You can exit the PVS Installer screen and unmount/disconnect the PVS 7.11 ISO from the VM’s CD drive.

    Click Next on the Imaging Wizard as shown in Figure 13.

    Figure 13
    Figure 13

    Enter the name or IP address of a PVS Server, select the option for Credentials and click Next as shown in Figure 14.

    Figure 14
    Figure 14

    To Create a vDisk, click Next as shown in Figure 15.

    Figure 15
    Figure 15

    Enter a Target device name, select the MAC address, select the target device Collection name and click Next as shown in Figure 16.

    Figure 16
    Figure 16

    Enter a vDisk name, Store name, vDisk type, VHDX or VHD and click Next as shown in Figure 17.

    Figure 17
    Figure 17

    Click Next as shown in Figure 18.

    Note: There is no need to select KMS or MAK at this time. The licensing type will be selected when the vDisk is placed into Standard Image mode.

    Figure 18
    Figure 18

    Select Image entire boot disk and click Next shown in Figure 19.

    Figure 19
    Figure 19

    Select Optimize the hard disk for Provisioning Services before imaging as shown in Figure 20.

    Figure 20
    Figure 20

    Select Edit Optimization Settings… as shown in Figure 21.

    Figure 21
    Figure 21

    Verify all checkboxes are selected and click OK as shown in Figure 22.

    Figure 22
    Figure 22

    Click Next as shown in Figure 23.

    Figure 23
    Figure 23

    Verify all the settings are correct in the Summary screen. If any settings are not correct, click Back and correct the settings. If all the settings are correct, click Create as shown in Figure 24.

    Figure 24
    Figure 24

    Depending on the .Net Framework versions installed in the VM, the optimization process could take from less than a second to over an hour. Click Continue as shown in Figure 25.

    Figure 25
    Figure 25

    A Reboot popup appears as shown in Figure 26. 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, and click Yes on the next popup as shown in Figure 27 to shutdown the VM, make the change and power the VM on to continue.

    Figure 26
    Figure 26
    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 26.

    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 Done, 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

    Configure the vDisk in PVS

    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.

    You can verify the VM has booted from the vDisk by checking the Virtual Disk Status icon in the Notification Area as shown in Figure 40.

    Figure 40
    Figure 40

    As shown in Figure 41, the Virtual Disk Status shows:

    • The vDisk status is Active,
    • The IP address of the PVS server streaming the vDisk,
    • That the Target Device is booting from the vDisk,
    • The name of the vDisk,
    • The vDisk is using the VHDX format, and
    • The vDisk is in Read/Write mode.
    Figure 41
    Figure 41

    Exit the Virtual Disk Status.

    Install the Virtual Delivery Agent

    The XenDesktop 7.12 Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA) needs to be installed. Mount the XenDesktop 7.12 ISO to the CD. Double-click the CD drive and the XenDesktop installation wizard starts. Click Start for XenDesktop as shown in Figure 42.

    Note: At this time, PvD is only supported for desktop operating systems. PvD will not work and is not supported for XenApp 7.12.

    Figure 42
    Figure 42

    Select Virtual Delivery Agent for Windows Desktop OS as shown in Figure 43.

    Figure 43
    Figure 43

    Select Create a Master Image 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 7.12 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.

    Note: In my lab, I had to click Add before it “lit up” and was available for a real click.

    Repeat until all XenDesktop 7.12 Controllers are entered. Click Next when all Controllers are added.

    Figure 46
    Figure 46
    Figure 47
    Figure 47

    Unlike previous VDA versions, the 7.12 VDA requires the selection of the appropriate options. I recommend you select all options since they are all installed regardless of what you select on this screen.

    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, you have the option to participate in the Call Home feature as shown in Figure 52.

    Figure 52
    Figure 52

    Select the appropriate option and when complete, click Next as shown in Figure 53.

    Figure 53
    Figure 53

    Verify Restart machine is selected and click Finish as shown in Figure 54.

    Figure 54
    Figure 54

    Configure Personal vDisk

    Updated 15-Dec-2016

    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. You should make sure you follow the Citrix recommendations for antivirus software for all Citrix components.

    The link provided at the beginning of this article, Configure and Manage Personal Virtual Disks states:

    “The presence of antivirus products can affect how long it takes to run the inventory or perform an update. Performance can improve if you add CtxPvD.exe and CtxPvDSvc.exe to the exclusion list of your antivirus product. These files are located in C:\Program Files\Citrix\personal vDisk\bin. Excluding these executables from scanning by the antivirus software can improve inventory and image update performance by up to a factor of ten.”

    This is the point where you will also configure KMS licensing for Windows and Office. Please follow the instructions from Citrix in Configuring KMS Licensing for Windows and Office 2010 and 2013.

    Manually run the PvD Inventory. Click Start, Citrix, Update personal vDisk as shown in Figure 55.

    Note: If you are following Scenario 1 in the Citrix article, run the PvD Inventory at Step 5 and allow the inventory process to shut down the computer.

    Figure 55
    Figure 55

    The PvD inventory starts. Leave Shut down the system when update is complete selected as shown in Figure 56.

    Figure 56
    Figure 56

    After the inventory completes, click Yes to shut down the VM as shown in Figure 57.

    Figure 57
    Figure 57

    PVS XenDesktop Setup Wizard

    Make a copy of the VM and create a template of the copy. That way the original VM is still available just in case. Change either the original VM or the template to boot from network only (depends on your hypervisor).

    Note: In vSphere 6, I selected Template, Clone to Template…

    When making the template, make sure the template is stored on a storage location that is available when running the XenDesktop Setup Wizard. If you do not, an error ” 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 58.

    Figure 58
    Figure 58

    Change the Access mode to Standard image, leave the Cache type at the default of Cache in device RAM with overflow on hard disk and change Maximum RAM size to 256 as shown in Figure 59.

    Figure 59
    Figure 59

    If you are using Microsoft KMS licensing, click the Microsoft Volume Licensing tab, select Key Management Service (KMS) and click OK as shown in Figure 60.

    Note: If you get an error message, make sure the account used for the Citrix Stream and SOAP services is a member of the local Administrators group.

    Figure 60
    Figure 60

    Right-click the Site and select XenDesktop Setup Wizard… as shown in Figure 61.

    Figure 61
    Figure 61

    Note: If you get an error popup that states “No Standard Image vDisk exists in this Site”, that simply means the vDisk is still in Private Image mode.

    Click Next as shown in Figure 62.

    Figure 62
    Figure 62

    Enter the name of a XenDesktop 7.12 Controller and click Next as shown in Figure 63.

    Figure 63
    Figure 63

    Select the host resources from those configured in Citrix Studio and click Next as shown in Figure 64.

    Figure 64
    Figure 64

    Enter the logon credentials for the host resources and click OK as shown in Figure 65.

    Figure 65
    Figure 65

    Select the appropriate template and VDA version and or functionality desired and click Next as shown in Figure 66.

    Figure 66
    Figure 66

    Select the vDisk and click Next as shown in Figure 67.

    Figure 67
    Figure 67

    Select whether to Create a new catalog or Use an existing catalog and click Next as shown in Figure 68. 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 68
    Figure 68

    Select Windows Desktop Operating System and click Next as shown in Figure 69.

    Figure 69
    Figure 69

    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 70.

    Figure 70
    Figure 70

    Make the appropriate choices. For this lab, I am creating 3 VMs (desktops) with 2 vCPUs, 4 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 71.

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

    Figure 71
    Figure 71

    Select Create new accounts to have new AD computer accounts created and click Next as shown in Figure 72.

    Figure 72
    Figure 72

    Select the Domain, OU, Account naming scheme and click Next as shown in Figure 73.

    Figure 73
    Figure 73

    Verify the Summary information, click Finish, as shown in Figure 74, and the wizard will begin creating the following:

    • Virtual Machines
    • AD computer accounts
    • Target Devices
    • Machine Catalog in XenDesktop Studio
    • Device Collection in the PVS Console
    Figure 74
    Figure 74

    When the wizard is complete, click Done as shown in Figure 75.

    Figure 75
    Figure 75

    Looking at the new Device Collection in the PVS console (you may need to right-click the Farm and select Refresh) shows the three target devices with one or more powered on at this time as seen in Figure 76.

    Figure 76
    Figure 76

    Looking in Active Directory Users and Computers shows the new computer accounts as seen in Figure 77.

    Figure 77
    Figure 77

    Create XenDesktop Delivery Group

    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 78.

    Figure 78
    Figure 78

     

    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 79.

    Figure 79
    Figure 79

    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 80.

    Figure 80
    Figure 80

    Select Desktops and click Next as shown in Figure 81.

    Figure 81
    Figure 81

    Only the LocalAdmins security groups needs access to this Delivery Group. Click Restrict use of this Delivery Group to the following users and click Add… as shown in Figure 82.

    Figure 82
    Figure 82

    Use the Select Users or Groups dialog to add users and click OK as shown in Figure 83.

    Figure 83
    Figure 83

    Click Next as shown in Figure 84.

    Figure 84
    Figure 84

    The page shown in Figure 85 allows you to create Desktop Assignment Rules (known as “Assignment policy rules” in PowerShell). These exist in earlier versions of XenDesktop, but were never shown in the UI – one was automatically created for applicable Delivery Groups.
    Desktop Assignment Rules define how users are assigned machines in the Delivery Group when they attempt to launch a desktop session for the first time (users that already have a machine assigned will use that one instead).

    Figure 85
    Figure 85

    Click Add… as shown in Figure 86.

    Figure 86
    Figure 86

    Because I restricted access to this Delivery Group to the LocalAdmins security group, and that group has only the users who need access to these desktops, I selected Allow everyone with access to this Delivery Group to have a desktop assigned. If you want to further restrict who has access to the PvD desktops, select Restrict desktop assignment to, click Add… and enter the user or users who should have access to the desktops.

    Enter a Display name, Description, Maximum desktops per user, verify Enable desktop assignment rule is selected and click OK as shown in Figure 87.

    Figure 87
    Figure 87

    Click Next as shown in Figure 88.

    Figure 88
    Figure 88

    Enter a Delivery Group name, an optional Delivery Group description and click Finish as shown in Figure 89.

    Figure 89
    Figure 89

    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 90.

    Figure 90
    Figure 90

    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 91:

    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 91
    Figure 91

    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 92 and 93.

    Figure 92
    Figure 92
    Figure 93
    Figure 93

    Understanding How Personal vDisk Works

    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 10 desktop configured during the creation of the master image VM as shown in Figure 94.

    Figure 94
    Figure 94

    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 95 shows the Write Cache drive which shows the write cache file, page file and other files and folders.

    Figure 95
    Figure 95

    Figure 96 shows there is not much of anything useful to see on the PvD drive.

    Figure 96
    Figure 96

    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 97.

    Figure 97
    Figure 97

    Double-click the Delivery Group to see detailed information as shown in Figure 98.

    Figure 98
    Figure 98

    The first user configures her desktop to get all the Windows 10 “frilly” stuff out of her way as shown in Figure 99.

    Figure 99
    Figure 99

    The second user wants a pretty picture for her background as shown in Figure 100.

    Figure 100
    Figure 100

    The third user needs a picture of her horse as her background as shown in Figure 102.

    Figure 101
    Figure 101

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

    User Installed Software

    What about installing software? User1 installed NotePad++, User2 installed Google Chrome and User3 installed Firefox. The three desktops are shown in Figures 102 through 104.

    Figure 102
    Figure 102
    Figure 103
    Figure 103
    Figure 104
    Figure 104

    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 (x86)\Notepad++ as shown in Figure 105.

    Figure 105
    Figure 105

    User2’s Google Chrome is installed to C:\Program Files (x86) \Google\Chrome\Application as shown in Figure 106.

    Figure 106
    Figure 106

    User3’s Mozilla Firefox is installed to C:\Program Files (x86) \Mozilla Firefox as shown in Figure 107.

    Figure 107
    Figure 107

    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.

    Updating the Master Image

    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, test it and then make it available to users.

    In the PVS console, right-click the vDisk and select Versions as shown in Figure 108.

    Figure 108
    Figure 108

    Click New as shown in Figure 109.

    Figure 109
    Figure 109

    A new Maintenance version of the vDisk is created as shown in Figure 110. Click Done.

    Figure 110
    Figure 110

    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 111.

    Figure 111
    Figure 111

    Change the Type from Production to Maintenance and click OK as shown in Figure 112.

    Note: In a production environment, you would have a dedicated Target Device to use for Maintenance versions of vDisks.

    Figure 112
    Figure 112

    In the hypervisor, start that VM and open the VM’s console. An option to boot into either the Production version or the Maintenance version is shown. Select the Maintenance version as shown in Figure 113.

    Note: There is a registry key that can be set on each PVS server to have the first menu item accepted by default. Please see Setting vDisk Boot Menu as a Default Option.

    Figure 113
    Figure 113

    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 114.

    Since this is Windows 10, this would also be a good time to make sure any Windows updates are installed.

    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 example, in Acrobat Reader I set Acrobat Reader to be the default app for PDFs.

    Figure 114
    Figure 114

    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.

    Note: Do NOT touch KMS. There is no need to rearm either Windows or Office (if installed).

    Manually run the PvD Inventory. Click Start, Citrix, Update personal vDisk as shown in Figure 115.

    Figure 115
    Figure 115

    The PvD inventory starts. Leave Shut down the system when update is complete selected as shown in Figure 116.

    Figure 116
    Figure 116

    Note: If Windows Updates were installed, it could take a very long time for the inventory update to run.

    After the inventory completes, click Yes to shut down the VM as shown in Figure 117.

    Figure 117
    Figure 117

    Once the VM has shut down, in the PVS console, right-click the vDisk and select Versions as shown in Figure 118.

    Figure 118
    Figure 118

    Select the Maintenance version and click Promote as shown in Figure 119.

    Figure 119
    Figure 119

    PVS 7.6 added the ability to have a Test version for a vDisk that uses PvD. This was not possible prior to version 7.6. Select Test and click OK as shown in Figure 120.

    Figure 120
    Figure 120

    The vDisk version is promoted to Test, as shown in Figure 121. Click Done.

    Figure 121
    Figure 121

    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 122.

    Figure 122
    Figure 122

    Change the Type from Maintenance to Test and click OK as shown in Figure 123.

    Note: In a production environment, you would have dedicated Target Devices to use for Test versions of vDisks.

    Figure 123
    Figure 123

    In the hypervisor, start that VM and open the VM’s console. An option to boot into either the Production version or the Test version is shown. Select the Test version as shown in Figure 124.

    Note: There is a registry key that can be set on each PVS server to have the first menu item accepted by default. Please see Setting vDisk Boot Menu as a Default Option.

    Figure 124
    Figure 124

    What has happened is that the target device has been configured to boot from a Test image and during the bootup communication, the PVS server recognized the MAC address and offered the target device the Test vDisk to boot from. The Test vDisk is in Read-only mode so no changes can be made to the vDisk. Login to the desktop with domain credentials. There are several things to notice with the Test version of the vDisk:

    1. The application that was installed for all users is there (Figure 125),
    2. The vDisk is in Read-only mode (Figure 126), but
    3. The write cache is located on the PVS server (Figure 127) because,
    4. There is no Write Cache drive (Figure 128), and
    5. There is no PvD drive attached (also Figure 130).
    Figure 125
    Figure 125
    Figure 126
    Figure 126
    Figure 127
    Figure 127
    Figure 128
    Figure 128
    Figure 129
    Figure 129

    Once testing is completed, shutdown the VM.

    Note: If you get prompted to update the PvD inventory, you can safely cancel the popup or select Shut down anyway. The vDisk is in read-only mode so no updates can be made or saved.

    Once the VM has shut down, in the PVS console, right-click the vDisk and select Versions as shown in Figure 130.

    Figure 130
    Figure 130

    Select the Test version and click Promote as shown in Figure 131.

    Figure 131
    Figure 131

    Select Immediate and click OK as shown in Figure 132.

    Figure 132
    Figure 132

    The updated vDisk is now available for use as shown in Figure 133. Click Done.

    Figure 133
    Figure 133

    Verify the Master Image Update

    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. In my lab, this took a very long time before the desktops were ready for use. 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 134 through 136.

    Figure 134
    Figure 134
    Figure 135
    Figure 135
    Figure 136
    Figure 136

    Closing

    And there you have it, one way to do a XenDesktop 7.12 with Personal vDisk process.

    Citrix lists four ways to do this process in the product documentation, three with PVS and one with MCS.

    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 7.12 and PVS 7.11.

    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

    10 Responses to “Citrix XenDesktop 7.12, Provisioning Services 7.11 and the XenDesktop Setup Wizard with Personal vDisk Drives”

    1. Keith Wills Says:

      Hi Carl, excellent and detailed article as always. My question is on the drive configuration for the writecache and PvD disks. In your previous article (XD/PVS 7.7) you laid out adding in VMware and configuring but not formatting the 2 drives, that were later formatted when running the XD Setup Wizard (set to D: and P: and apparently formatted via the wizard). There’s no mention of adding the drives in this version. So my question is – is that step no longer required? Do I just configure a VM with an OS disk and the XenDesktop Setup wizard will take care of the other drives when running? The previous version also would have had the template created with the additional drives, where this version appears to not have or care, assumable that it adds them during the wizard process. Thanks for your time in responding.

      Reply

      • Carl Webster Says:

        The original article was based on a specific customer who wanted the drives on specific storage. When you use the wizard, all drives are placed in the same storage. Not always a viable solution for large deployments.

        Webster

        Reply

    2. Max Says:

      Carl, I got a problem with write cache and pvd.i have configured wcdisk with 15 GB and pvd to 25 GB. Everything was fine, but after some reboots, the machine starts the write cache on server and pvd assumed the disk with 15 GB, and the disk with 25 GB is unformatted. Do you have any idea what could be happening? Thank you

      Reply

    3. tony Says:

      hello carl,

      I try your doc to create image it come down to step 27 in my vm try to boot from network when it came up the vm stuck at TFTP open timeout. please advise what I doing wrong here. thanks

      Reply

      • Carl Webster Says:

        That is either a DHCP misconfiguration, the wrong info entered in the wizard or a firewall issue. If you search on “citrix pvs tftp timeout”, you will find a lot of hits on that specific issue.

        Webster

        Reply

    4. Rikesh Says:

      Hi Carl,

      Regards to Pvd – is there a way to clone a personal vDisk in XenCenter. So it can save me time installing the same set of applications for another user.

      Reply

      • Carl Webster Says:

        As far as I know, that is not possible. The PvD disk is tied to the user who logged in to it and the VM it is associated with. You could try it but I doubt it would be supported and it would cause you more time and trouble than you are trying to save.

        Webster

        Reply

        • anthony Says:

          Hello Carl,

          thank you for the info you provide, my question to you is on the Running the Imaging Wizard, you only install the pvs target but not Virtual Delivery Agent at the same time? why not together and then put the image? please help me understand on this? thanks

          Reply

          • Carl Webster Says:

            As I state at the end of the article, there are four ways to handle this. One is for MCS and three are for PVS.

            https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/provisioning/7-12/configure-personal-vdisk.html

            Configure and deploy a new personal vDisk image

            Configuration methods include:

            Configure in the following order: Provisioning Services, then capture the image, then XenDesktop
            Configure in the following order: Provisioning Services, then XenDesktop, then capture the image
            Configure in the following order: XenDesktop, then Provisioning Services, then capture the image
            Configure using Machine Creation Services (MCS)

            Each option is explained at the link above.

            Webster

            Reply

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