Category : VDA

Blog, Citrix, Licensing, Microsoft, RDS, VDA, VDI, Windows, XenApp, XenDesktop

Citrix VDI and Microsoft RDS licensing explained

People asks continually from me what kind of licenses are needed in current cases and often I come across situations where I need to clarifying for the customers Microsoft and Citrix different licenses. I’ve put together mine checklist in different scenarios.

To access VDI, you need Windows Software Assurance on the client device or Microsoft Virtual Desktop Access licenses. RDS CALs are not used in this case. Windows Software Assurance and Virtual Desktop Access licenses include home use rights.

To connect to VDI, you need the following licenses:

  • Citrix XenDesktop VDI Only Edition or higher.
  • Either Windows Software Assurance or VDA license. You don’t need both. The license is assigned to the client device.

XenDesktop Enterprise and Platinum include the Citrix licenses to connect to Remote Desktop Session Host. But each named user would also need an RDS CAL.

To connect to Remote Desktop Session Host, you need the following licenses:

  • Citrix XenDesktop Enterprise or Platinum
  • Windows Server OS license for the RDS server
  • Microsoft Remote Desktop Services CAL for each named user


Streaming App-V to virtual desktops you need MDOP licenses. If you are streaming App-V to Remote Desktop Session Host then App-V is included in the RDS CAL price.

To stream apps using App-V, you need the following licenses:

  • To stream to virtual desktops, purchase MDOP for each client device
  • To stream to RDSH, no additional license is needed.


And here is a good links!

Windows Server 2012 R2 Remote Desktop Services Licensing Data Sheet:

Understanding Remote Desktop Licensing:

Citrix product licensing information:

Citrix licenses explained:




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Adobe Flash, Blog, Citrix, Receiver, VDA, VDI, Windows, XenDesktop

How to get Citrix XenDesktop VDI and HDX MediaStream Flash Redirection on the User Device work?

Configuring HDX MediaStream Flash Redirection

HDX MediaStream Flash Redirection allows you to move the processing of most Adobe Flash content to LAN-connected user’s Windows devices rather than using server resources. This includes animations, videos, and applications. By moving the processing to the user device, Flash Redirection reduces server and network load, resulting in greater scalability while ensuring a high definition user experience.

Recently, I came across a situation where the Citrix HDX MediaStream and Client-Side Flash redirection did not work. Here are a few things to consider, however these are the latest version today, things may change when the vendors update their product versions in future.

Environment details, versions may vary but you could find interesting spots from this blog to narrow down your own Flash problems:

XenDesktop 5.6

VDA 5.6.200
Windows 7 64-bit
Internet Explorer 10
ActiveX Flash Player

Windows 7 32-bit
Citrix Receiver 4.1
ActiveX Flash Player


Situation was that when users browse web sites including Adobe Flash content e.g. YouTube, Flash was rendered on the Server-Side, though XenDesktop default policy is set to use Client-Side rendering for the flash contents by default.

It generated lot of vCPU load on the virtual servers and video was choppy and audio was not synchronized. This can have a huge impact on users, depending on the size of the infrastructure.

How to get XenDesktop VDI and Adobe Flash Client-Side redirection to work?

First thing was the update latest Flash version, which is today Adobe Flash ActiveX version for the Internet Explorer. Same version needs to be installed on the client device as well. Be aware, that Internet Explorer is the only browser which use ActiveX player, as for the other browser e.g. Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox Adobe Flash Plug-In needs to be installed. But in this blog I will only focus on the Internet Explorer 10 and Windows 7 64-bit VDI.

Adobe Flash Player archive source – all versions:

You can make sure of installed Flash players version to launch Flash Player tool -> Advanced from the Windows Control Panel.

This should normally be enough to get Client-Side Flash rendering to work, but if it’s not working, we might have a problem.

The next thing was to check Virtual Desktop Agent (VDA) version and update it, if necessary. I found out that there was a newer version, which could possibly solve my issues.

As the environment was XenDesktop 5.6 Desktop Delivery Controllers, latest VDA agent was:

Hotfix Rollup XD560VDAWX64400 (Version 5.6.400) – For Citrix XenDesktop Virtual Desktop Agent Core Services x64 – English

or if you have 32-bit VDI

Hotfix Rollup XD560VDAWX86400 (Version 5.6.400) – For Citrix XenDesktop Virtual Desktop Agent Core Services x86 – English


After that I realized we have to check Citrix Receiver version on the client device too, I found out there are some problems between Receiver 3.4 and 4.1 versions with VDA 5.6 (depending exact versions of course), so as I know latest working versions was the Citrix Receiver 3.3 and the latest 4.1 ( You can download Citrix Receiver 4.1 from there:

Citrix Receiver for Windows 4.1 (

If you need to Single Sign-On (SSON) enabled, remember to use command: “CitrixReceiver.exe /includeSSON”


Now we have all client and plugin versions up-to-date on the Client machine and on the VDI Image, but we still need to configure some policies to get it work, even as I said before Flash Client-Side redirection should work by default, in some cases it does not work.

Use this checklist:

Use Citrix HDX Monitor to narrow down any issues, it shows easily what is wrong:
Check Internet Explorer 10 – Citrix Known Issues

In the VDI machine, you might need to add registry setting for the Internet Explorer 10


“IEBrowserMaximumMajorVersion” = dword:0000000a

(use hexadecimal 00000010 for the IE version 10)


Enable XenDesktop policies:

Flash Acceleration -> Enabled


Enable Active Directory Group Policies:

To configure HDX MediaStream Flash Redirection on the User Device with Group Policy Objects

Create or select an existing Group Policy Object.

Import and add the HDX MediaStream for Flash – Client administrative template (HdxFlash-Client.adm), available in:

– For 32-bit computers: %Program Files%\Citrix\ICA Client\Configuration\language.
– For 64-bit computers: %Program Files (x86)%\Citrix\ICA Client\Configuration\language.


To enable HDX MediaStream Flash Redirection on the user device:

Configure Enable HDX MediaStream for Flash on the user device to determine whether Flash Redirection is enabled on your users’ Windows devices. If no configuration is set, one of the following will occur, based on your users’ environment:

– XenDesktop Viewer is used: Flash Redirection is disabled by default.
– XenDesktop Viewer is not used: The user receives a dialog box the first time they access Flash content in each session in which the user can enable HDX MediaStream Flash Redirection.
– Locked Desktop Appliance is used: Flash Redirection is enabled by default.

1. In the Group Policy Object Editor, expand either the Computer Configuration or User Configuration node.
2. Expand the Administrative Templates and Classic Administrative Templates (ADM) nodes and select HDX MediaStream for Flash – Client.
3. From the Setting list, select Enable HDX MediaStream for Flash on the user device and click policy setting.
4. Select Not Configured, Enabled, or Disabled.
5. If you selected Enabled, from the Use HDX MediaStream for Flash list, select Always, Ask, or Never.

Note: Selecting Ask results in users receiving a dialog box the first time they access Flash content in each session in which the user can enable HDX MediaStream Flash Redirection. If the user does not enable HDX MediaStream Flash Redirection, the Flash content is played on the server. Selecting Always and Never do not result in this dialog box. Select Always to always use HDX MediaStream Flash Redirection to play Flash content on the user device. Select Never to never use HDX MediaStream Flash Redirection and have Flash content play on the server.

6. For the policy to take effect:

– Computer Configuration: Changes take effect as computers in the organizational unit restart.
– User Configuration: Users in the organizational unit must log off and then log on to the network.


Test it and now your Adobe Flash Client-Side direction should work!





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