EMC NetWorker – Delete the contents of the MNT directory

When troubleshooting NetWorker backups, I typically look to see if the failed VM has an older snapshot that was not deleted and remove it.  Thinking I’m awesome and have solved the VMs backup problem, I’m surprised to see that, more often than not, the VM backup fails the next time the backup runs.  Why, because the MNT directory for the failed backup job/VM still exists on the backup proxy.  Why do I always forget to check the MNT directory!!  Hopefully writing it down will help me to remember.



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CentOS 7 and Citrix – ctxvda status error

Over the course of the last few weeks, I’ve gotten an opportunity to explore building and publishing Linux virtual desktops using Citrix XenDesktop 7.11.  Now, I’m no Linux admin/expert which means configuring all this has been challenging at times even with the resources available on the web. Though the Linux VDA will support Red Hat, SUSE, and CentOS, I chose CentOS as my starting point because it’s free in that it does not require additional licensing to use beyond a 60-day demo period.

With that, my starting point for configuring CentOS 7 with XenDesktop 7.11 was the Citrix blog Installing the Linux VDA on Red Hat or CentOS 6.  I highly recommend this blog if you are new to Linux and need a launching pad from which to start your own feasibility testing for publishing Linux via Citrix.

Upon completing the installation of the Citrix VDA and executing ctxsetup to customize the VDA, I waited patiently (2 minute of hitting refresh) for the machine to register with the delivery controller but it never did and so commenced my Linux troubleshooting career.

1. On my Linux workstation, I started a terminal session and ran the command service ctxvda status to see if the VDA service was running:


2. So the VDA service failed to start….but why?  Next I reviewed the VDA log file to see a reference to Citrix KB article CTX119736:


Sweet!!!!  My solution is waiting for me….all I have to do is find the article and my issue will be resolved very shortly and I’ll be accessing my virtual desktop in no time.  BUT, if you try and find CTX119736, you’ll likely encounter the following:


3. Though I couldn’t find CTX119736, the more time I spent looking for it, the basic troubleshooting starting points became somewhat clear and really they are not that much different for Windows hosts….check the time, check the network, check name resolution, etc.  What I found going through those steps is that the time, the network and name resolution worked from the Linux workstation side, but the delivery controller could not ping the Linux workstation by name.  Looking at DNS on the server side revealed that though the workstation retrieved a DHCP address, a host (A) record was not created for it in DNS, thus the delivery controller could not communicate by name.  The DHCP scope options were set to dynamically update DNS records for clients that do not request updates.


4. I rebooted the Linux workstation and after doing so, the Citrix VDA service started and it successfully registered with the delivery controller.


I was surprised that a name resolution issue kept the ctxvda service from starting altogether and it was one of the last basic options I checked.  I figured that if DNS/name resolution was the issue that the ctxvda service on the Linux workstation would start, but that registration would fail.  However, when troubleshooting ctxvda service errors from this point forward, name resolution will be my first test.

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“Why can’t I click OK?” – Resizing the Citrix Logon Window

Many clients that I work with (I’d say over 90%), have logon disclaimers that must be acknowledged prior gaining access to enterprise resources…seen below is simply an example I found online to serve as a frame of reference:


When publishing applications from Citrix XenApp, if the logon banner is applied via GPO at the domain level, users must acknowledge the disclaimer when accessing published applications….so they acknowledge once when logging into their domain computer, and then again when launching published applications.

Thus, some organizations disable the logon disclaimer on the by disabling policy inheritance on the XenApp Server OU and others leave the disclaimer in place so as to ensure any users making XenApp connections from non-domain computers will have to acknowledge the logon disclaimer.

The problem I have seen when using Server 2012R2 is that the logon disclaimer is “larger” than it was with Server 2008R2 and thus when the users launched applications from the 2012R2 server, the logon disclaimer page had a scroll bar.  If the scroll bar was not to the far left of the disclaimer page, the OK button “wouldn’t work”, which confused the users.

Citrix support told me the logon disclaimer window has a default size of 600 (W) and 520 (H) but that the size can be adjusted (in this case increased) so as to get rid of the scroll bar in order to maintain the focus of the disclaimer window.  To set the width and height of the logon disclaimer window, add the following registry keys:

  • HKLM\Software\Wow6432node\Citrix\CtxHook\AppInit_DLLS\Multiple Monitor Hook
    • Name: LogonUIWidth | Type: REG_DWORD | Value: 800 (Decimal)
    • Name: LogonUIHeight | Type: REG_DWORD | Value: 600 (Decimal)


After creating the keys shown above, the logon disclaimer window was larger, the scroll bar was gone, and the users could once again click OK without worrying about focus or scroll bars.  The change did not require a reboot of the XenApp server(s).



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Creating Custom EXEs with Smart Install Maker

On a recent Citrix project, I needed/wanted to do 3 things on end-user computers:

  • Remove the 11.x Citrix Web Plugin if it existed
  • Run the ReceiverCleanupUtility to uninstall older versions of the Online Plugin or Citrix Receiver
  • Install Citrix Receiver 4.4 using a custom command-line

Ultimately, I wanted the users to be able to do all this with a single click from the StoreFront page.  After a little research, Citrix has published steps on creating a custom Receiver package with Smart Install Maker.  I used Smart Install Maker to create a custom EXE to complete the 3 items listed above and will use StoreFront to make it available to the end-users.  This post is simply a recap of the steps required to create the EXE with screenshots.

1.Personally, I used VMware Workstation to create a “clean” VM (Windows 7) on which to install Smart Install Maker and test my custom EXE.  Perhaps you have access to other tools, but I recommend performing these tasks on your primary administrative device.

2.On my clean VM, I created a Receiver directory on the root of C and in that directory, I downloaded Citrix Receiver 4.4, the Citrix ReceiverCleanupUtility, and the .BAT file I created to perform these steps.  My .BAT file is shown below:

  • ECHO.
    ECHO Removing existing Citrix ICA/Receiver Clients
    REM ***********************************************************
    REM * The MsiExec executable uninstalls the Citrix Web Plugin *
    REM ***********************************************************
    MsiExec.exe /X{C0B165DC-F037-483F-B1C9-D89D91529CEB} /qn /norestart
    ReceiverCleanupUtility.exe /silent
    ECHO Existing Citrix ICA/Receiver Client removed
    ECHO Installing and Configuring Citrix Receiver 4.4
    CitrixReceiver.exe /includeSSON STORE0=”StoreService;https://yourstorefrontBaseURL.yourdomain.com/Citrix/Store/discovery;On;CTXStore” ALLOWADDSTORE=A ALLOWSAVEPWD=A

3. Download and install Smart Install Maker and your clean VM.  **Note:  A “full” copy of Smart Install Maker is $99.  If you do not purchase a full copy, you can use SIM for 30 days, though each execution of a custom EXE will display a “You are using a Demo” popup window.  The install of SIM is pretty straightforward.

4. Launch SIM.  On the Installer | General options screen, specify a name for the custom installation package in the Save as heading which determines where the final executable will be saved.  In this example, SIM will save the custom EXE (CustomSetup.exe) into the C:\Temp\Receiver folder.


5. On the Installer | Files options screen, click the plus icon (highlighted below) to add files to the project.



6. On the Add Item window, click the folder icon to the right of the Source file heading.


7. On the Open window, select the Citrix Receiver installation executable as well as any required BAT files and click Open.


8. When returned to the Add Item window, change the Destination directory and click OK.  The destination directory is simply the location to which the process will copy any necessary files.  In this example, I changed the destination directory to C:\CitrixRec…when the custom EXE is executed on a remote computer, a C:\CitrixRec directory will be created which contains the files added into the project.


9. On the Installer | Dialogs options screen, select Silent installation and change the Destination Path to C:\CitrixRec.


10. On the Installer | Commands options screen, click the plus icon (highlighted below) to command files to the project.


11. On the Add Item screen, click the select file icon (highlighted below) to add command files to the package.



12. On the Select a file window, select the BAT file used to install Citrix Receiver with customized settings and click OK.  When returned to the Add Item window, select After unpacking under Run schedule, then select the Wait until the application finishes checkbox and click OK.



13. On the top level menu, click Project | Build Installer.


14. The project will begin to compile as shown below.  Click OK when compiling has completed successfully.



15. On the Compile screen, click Test if you want to test the new executable from the compile screen; otherwise click Close.


16. Verify the success/failure of the package and make changes as required to the .BAT file. Once the package performs as desired, deploy and test the custom EXE to a pilot group, and then map out a strategy for deploying to the organization.

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Filed under Citrix, Utilities

Installing Office 2013 on XenApp 7.6

When installing Office 2013 on a Citrix XenApp 7.6 server (or any version of Office on any version of XenApp….or any VDI implementation), I use the Office Customization Tool (OCT) to create a custom MSP to tailor the Office installation.

Here are my general overall steps:

  1. To launch the OCT, open a command prompt, browse to the directory containing the Office setup files and execute the command setup /admin
  2. Create a new, or select an existing customization file and click OK.
  3. Under Setup, click Install location and organization name and set the Installation Path and the Organization Name
  4. Click License and user interface, and then specify the following
    • KMS or MAK Licensing
    • Access the License Agreement
    • Set the preferred Display level (personally, I set the display level to Full because I like seeing the installation wizard doing stuff)
  5. In this example, I am working with a MAK license key and thus I clicked Modify setup properties | Add
    • 1-OCT_Add
  6.  When the Add/Remove Property Value window appears, enter AUTO_ACTIVATE for the Name with a Value of 1 and click OK.
    • 2-OCT_AutoActivate
  7. Under Features, click Modify User Settings and feel free to go nuts customizing Office 2013.  The settings below represent my baseline configuration settings
    • 9-OCT_Options
  8. Once your preferred options are set, click Features | Set feature installation states and configure the installation states of the various Office applications
    • 4-OCT_SetFeatureInstallationStates
  9. Another thing I like to do is create registry values that will “auto-populate” user information to give Office a somewhat personal feel for the end user.  To do so, click Add registry entries under the Additional content heading.  Click Add and then create the two registry keys shown below:
    • 6-OCT_Reg1
    • 7-OCT_Reg2
  10. Assuming there are no additional modifications needed, click File | Save As, specify a name, and then click Save.  Typically clients have their Office installation files on an IT or Installs share, I usually save my MSPs to that directory.
  11. To install Office using the MSP file, do the following on the XenApp server:
    • open a command prompt as administrator
    • type change user /install and press <ENTER> (yes, I still do it but you can do what you want)
    • browse to the directory containing the Office setup files and type setup /adminfile <MSPFileName>.MSP and press <ENTER>.  If the MSP file resides in a directory other than the installation files, you’ll need to specify the path.
    • when the install completes, download and install the latest Office service pack
    • once all required updates are installed, type change user /execute and press <ENTER> to complete the installation
  12. Use Citrix Studio to create any relevant Machine/Delivery Groups and publish the Office applications.
  13. Test Office functionality and activation

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