Setting Up HDX Flash Redirection – XenApp & XenDesktop


Setting up flash redirection to work in Citrix could sometimes be a daunting task. There are a multitude of moving parts to this solution and a slight error could lead to days of troubleshooting and remediation work. I thought i will document the procedures that I followed to successfully setup Flash redirection to work on  XenApp 7.5 farm and thin clients for a customer environment.

I am not going into the details of this technology and what each versions flash redirection does as you can read about them here

I strongly recommend you read the PDF document from Citrix on HDX redirection in general.

The below procedures apply to all the versions of XenApp and XenDesktop where flash redirection is applicable. My particular case was XenApp 7.5 with IE 11

Please also check the pre-requisites section on this Citrix KB article https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX205558

We will split the setup into 2 parts – Server side (VDA or Citrix Servers) setup and Client side setup

Server Side setup

  • Citrix Policies – Setup the Citrix policies for flash in Studio or Delivery Services Console as the case may be. Below is how they should look like if they are correctly configured. Also note that the latency threshold may differ according to your network conditions.

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  • Flash Hotfixes – Look out for any specific hotfixes by Citrix to enable Flash acceleration. There is one required for XenApp 7.5 VDA and is available here . You may have a different version so go online and check if there is a specific hotfox availabe for Flash redirection to work. I had to download the hotfix and install on the VDA

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  • Version of IE – 32 bit Internet Explorer must be used for Flash redirection to work even if you are using a 64 bit OS like Windows Server 2012 R2. Citrix recommends using IE 11
  • Flash Player Active X Plugins – Active X plugins are required on the server side for flash acceleration to work. These plugins integrate with Internet Explorer and could be installed separately if you are using IE 10 and below. You may visit Adobe Flash website to download a specific version of the Active X component. With IE 11, the Active X components are built-in alongside the browser (not a good thing in my opinion) and update are available as Windows updates from Microsoft’s site.

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  • Flash Player NPAPI Plugins – It’s good to keep the IE Active X Controls and the NPAPI plugin versions the same. Though NPAPI plugins are required only for non-IE browsers according to theory, this seem to have an effect on the success of flash redirection

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  • Special IE Settings – Disable Enhanced Protection Mode in IE, Some websites like YouTube.com need to be added to compatibility view mode for flash redirection to work. you may also need to add the website to Trusted Sites in IE in certain cases.

Client Side Setup

  • Flash Player Active X Plugins/Controls – This is a critical piece. This should either be equal to or greater than the version being run on the server.
  • Flash Player NPAPI Plugins – I would say this is the most important bit as we found out that even though you use IE in the Citrix session, NPAPI versions are compatibility checked and matched. If the check failed, flash redirection stopped working regardless of the Active X (IE) version. Keep client side NPAPI version the same or above as your NPAPI version on the server for Flash redirection to work.
  • Configure the ADM file for HDX Mediastream for Flash on all the corporate domain joined clients. This is not a requirement but still nice to have configured. Without this, your clients will still work if they meet the rest of the requirements

Other key things to note

  • Dont perform an upgrade of an existing Flash player plugin for client or server. Always install a fresh copy.
  • Flash Logging is a must have when you setup flash redirection. In most of the cases, logging will be turn ON by default and will be found under Event Viewer > Applications and Service Log > Citrix >Multimedia >Flash
  • When Flash redirection works, PseudoContainer.exe will run on the client device. Spot it using Task Manager >Details/Processes Tab
  • There is a troubleshooting guide for Flash redirection from Citrix and could be found here http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX127188
  • Citrix has got a How to guide for setting up Flash and could be found here http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX124190
  • Flash Logging could be enabled following the KB http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX141595
  • Check the Flash Redirection compatibility KB from Citrix here http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX136588

That’s it folks. Feel free to post your comments below

 

Tuning HDX policies for optimal end user performance – XenApp/XenDesktop 7.6 FP3


With the release of 7.6 feature pack 3, the default graphics delivery behavior has changed and the enhanced Thinwire Compatibility mode is not available via user policies. You will need to take into consideration about the different use cases and the importance of policy precedence to ensure the intended delivery method is used. If FrameHawk is specifically applied to a subset of users, they will use FrameHawk even if a higher priority policy specifies Thinwire Compatibility mode. here is a cheat sheet from Citrix to make your life a lot easier when configuring HDX policies

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HDX Monitor 3.2 Published


I am all excited about the new release of HDX Monitor 3.2. The tool is packed with far more features this time and could be downloaded from the link below

https://taas.citrix.com/hdx/download/

There are a few things to keep in mind about the differences  HDX Monitor and Desktop Director

HDX Monitor

  • HDX Monitor is a stand alone tool helpful for in-depth troubleshooting
  • Allows technicians to customise the metrics that the tool collects and displays.
  • The tool also could be run as a published application which could be leveraged by anyone in the organisation
  • HDX Monitor can target machines remotely which means you can install it on one machine and use it for troubleshooting any machines in the network

Desktop Director

  • Desktop Director have an integrated system that is aware of your complete system
  • It is a dashboard that is capable of displaying the HDX Monitor data plus a host of various metrics and performance related data

More information on the new version of HDX Monitor is available here http://blogs.citrix.com/2013/06/12/hdx-monitor-3-2-published/

 

HDX 3D Pro Health Check Tool


This article contains information about HDX 3D Pro Health Check Tool.

The tool could be downloaded here

Background

The HDX 3D Pro – Health Check tool validates the hardware, setup, and configuration for the HDX 3D Pro feature in XenDesktop 5.5. Following are the HDX 3D Pro Components covered by Health Check Tool:

  • 3DPro Binaries
  • 3DPro Processes
  • Citrix Mirror Driver
  • 3DPro Registries
  • 3DPro Required Adapters
  • 3DPro Hardware Requirement
  • 3DPro VGX
  • Virtual Desktop Agent (VDA) Current Setting (Current Codec, Quality Mode, Lossy\Lossless state, Max FPS, Logging, Force Codec)
  • FPS Check for XenDesktop 5.6 Feature Pack 1

Prerequisites

  • XenDesktop 5.5 or 5.6 or 5.6 Feature Pack 1
  • For VDA Check, run this tool as an administrator locally on the VDA or over the ICA connection

How to Use HDX 3D Pro Health Check Tool

  • When you click Run, the tool does the validation of HDX 3D Pro components and gives the status as Pass or Fail. When you click Pass or Fail status, it displays the relevant information in the textbox. For Fail status, additional Suggestions button is enabled where the users can find the suggestions to solve the issue.
  • The tool does the validation of the hardware spec for VDA and client from HDX 3D Pro perspective. For VDA hardware spec check, clicking on Run gives the status as Pass and Fail followed by percentage. For Client check, clicking Windows Client Spec Validation gives client details.
  • The tool provides current VDA settings. Clicking on Check Current Settings gives the VDA setting details.
  • The tool provides current FPS for 5.6 Feature Pack 1. For fetching FPS count, start some complex application auto rotate model and clickStart.

Notes

  • For FPS validation “DBgview.exe” should be present with “HDX 3D Pro – HealthCheck.exe”.
  • The 3D Pro Health Check Tool is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind. Citrix makes no commitment to provide support for this tool.

Security Permissions

This application requires administrative rights to install or run the application.

This document applies to:

Disclaimer

These software applications are provided to you as is with no representations, warranties or conditions of any kind. You may use and distribute it at your own risk. CITRIX DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES WHATSOEVER, EXPRESS, IMPLIED, WRITTEN, ORAL OR STATUTORY, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, TITLE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, you acknowledge and agree that (a) the software application may exhibit errors, design flaws or other problems, possibly resulting in loss of data or damage to property; (b) it may not be possible to make the software application fully functional; and (c) Citrix may, without notice or liability to you, cease to make available the current version and/or any future versions of the software application. In no event should the code be used to support of ultra-hazardous activities, including but not limited to life support or blasting activities. NEITHER CITRIX NOR ITS AFFILIATES OR AGENTS WILL BE LIABLE, UNDER BREACH OF CONTRACT OR ANY OTHER THEORY OF LIABILITY, FOR ANY DAMAGES WHATSOEVER ARISING FROM USE OF THE SOFTWARE APPLICATION, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION DIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, PUNITIVE, CONSEQUENTIAL OR OTHER DAMAGES, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. You agree to indemnify and defend Citrix against any and all claims arising from your use, modification or distribution of the code.

Source: CTX135593