Citrix admins prepare for NPAPI being disabled by Google Chrome

To improve Chrome’s security and stability, Google announced late last year that NPAPI plugin support, a capability we’ve depended on for years, will be disabled by default in Chrome in April 2015. The NPAPI plugin that Receiver for Windows and Mac install enables Receiver for Web to detect that Receiver is installed and enables users to launch applications simply by clicking on them. The removal of NPAPI support will affect user experience for users who access Citrix Receiver for Web using the Chrome browser on Windows and Mac.

After first making a backup of my files, I edited the files referenced in this Citrix article. While testing I noticed that regardless if Receiver is installed, opening the StoreWeb site in Chrome used HTML5 to open the published application in a new browser tab. Opening the site in Internet Explorer used Receiver if installed, otherwise it uses HTML5 if your site is configured for it.

We already have quite a few users using our Citrix site in a browser despite having Receiver installed because that’s the way they are used to using it. I’m not going to change things on them now. I restored the original files and kept a copy of the edited to use when Google finally kills off NPAPI plugin support in September 2015. Then when users start reporting access issues with Chrome I’ll be ready.

How to disable Citrix desktop auto launch in StoreFront

I’m not sure why Citrix thought it would be a good idea to automatically launch a published desktop in the Citrix Receiver for Web (StoreWeb) site in StoreFront and assumed that users wouldn’t want to launch an application instead. It seems logical to not auto launch a desktop and have the administrator edit this config file value if they DO want it to auto launch.

To disable desktop auto launch:
Complete the following steps to disable the desktop launch:

  1. Go to C:inetpubwwwrootCitrixStoreWeb directory.
  2. Open the Web.config file with notepad.
  3. Set the autoLaunchDesktop parameter to “false”.
  1. Save the web.config file.

XenApp and XenDesktop 7.5 MCS creating Machine Catalogs and can’t add VM’s from vCenter 5.5

I’m building a XenApp 7.5 (Same code as XenDesktop 7.5 only a different license) environment, and hitting a wall when creating Machine Catalogs. Under the step “import or add virtual machines”, I click on the “Add VMs” button, and can’t browse past the top level of my vCenter cluster and can’t see any vm’s. I checked and the account I’m using meets the permissions requirements. I know that the issue isn’t with this XenApp DC because I am able to connect to our secondary data center and browse vm’s from this same DC.

I opened a support ticket with Citrix and VMware and after two weeks it still wasn’t working.

While I was looking at the differences between the working and non working data centers, I noticed that in the data center that’s working, I can only see vm’s that are not part of a vApp in the Citrix Studio Console. I moved my XenApp 7.5 vm’s out of the vApp and I can now connect to them with Citrix Studio.

If you are connecting XenApp or XenDesktop 7.5 to VMware vCenter 5.5, don’t place your Citrix virtual machines to be managed inside of a vApp. I can’t verify this issue on other versions of Citrix XenDesktop/XenApp or VMware vCenter.

Printing IS important in the VDI environment

I manage a Citrix XenApp system. Recently during a business lunch our sales rep told us that his customers have had “great success” with VMware Horizon View as a Citrix replacement.

From what I’ve been reading on comparisons of VMware vs Citrix VDI, VMware is a little immature at the moment. I consider Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp to be mature and complete end to end products. Profile management? Check. Universal Printing? Check. Remote access? Check. (Netscaler) Then you also have GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, Sharefile, and MDM. At first glance it looks like it would be easy to upgrade a Citrix environment with VMware Horizon View 6. VMware’s webinar I watched recently said you just install the Horizon agent on your Citrix server to publish apps and you don’t even have to uninstall Citrix.

The reality is that VMware Horizon View 6 lacks some key features, including universal printing and profile management. To be fair, if you are doing VDI on a Windows desktop OS, VMware has universal printing. However if you are publishing a desktop or application on a server OS, no universal printing. I think I’ll stick with Citrix, thank you.

Here’s a good summary of the differences between Citrix and VMware VDI client printing support.

First lonely post

Today I’m recovering from a very simple mistake that could have cost me weeks of work if I hadn’t made a backup copy in VMware of my application server I am building for XenApp 7.5. I painstakingly installed and tweaked a long list of applications on Server 2008 R2 to be used for the master image in XenApp 7.5 Machine Creation Serices (MCS).

I hit a wall with an issue connecting my XenApp 7.5 DC to vSphere for the MCS connection. I submitted traces to Citrix support, who eventually called it a VMware issue. While waiting for VMware support, I decided to manually create the servers in VMware instead of using MCS so that I could forge ahead in the Citrix upgrade. I can always go back and integrate MCS after the VMware issue is resolved. I sysprepped my application server and created a vm template. After creating my first server from the template, I realized that I FORGOT TO UNCHECK “User cannot change password” for the administrator account before shutting the server down after running sysprep. Great, now I can’t login since it forces you to set the administrator password on first login, and the password can’t be changed.

What I SHOULD HAVE DONE is to clone my app server, then sysprep the clone and leave the original server intact. Thankfully I had created a backup copy of this server in the lab, so with a few clicks and a short delay I’m making progress again.

Sometimes its the simple things that can cause you the most pain.