Citrix XenApp

Enabling Windows 7 Desktop Experience on XenApp 6.5

In this post I will go through the steps to enable the Windows 7 Desktop Experience on a XenApp 6.5 server.  By doing this the end user experience will be much better if the users are used to using native Windows 7 Desktop’s. The process involves importing some group policy settings via PowerShell and enabling the Desktop Experience feature.  Below is the before and after shots so you can see what is being achieved.  Note to get this to work I had to remove the existing profiles off the server after it had been implemented. It will only work if a user loads a clean profile.

Capture1 - BEFORECapture12 - AFTER1

The GPO’s that are being applied perform the following functions: (taken from

1) CtxStartMenuTaskbarUser
Changes the pinned shortcuts on the Taskbar and configures the Start menu to match a Windows 7 environment. This GPO includes a script that executes when a user logs on to the server for the first time. To ensure the script executes correctly, the PowerShell execution policy on the server must be set to AllSigned.

2) CtxPersonalizableUser
Enables users to change the desktop wallpaper. Prevents users from installing programs, viewing properties, scheduling tasks, or shutting down the server. Used with the CtxRestrictedComputer GPO.

3) CtxRestrictedUser
Includes the restrictions in the CtxPersonalizableUser GPO and prevents users from modifying desktop wallpaper and Start menu and Taskbar settings. Used with the CtxRestrictedComputer GPO.

4) CtxRestrictedComputer
Prevents users from accessing the Task Manager, Administrative Tools, Windows Update, Help and Support, and removable drives. Used with either the CtxPersonalizableUser or CtxRestrictedUser GPOs

So here is how to implement this solution.

1) Enable the Desktop Experience feature on the XenApp Server using the Add Features Wizard


2) Launch PowerShell and navigate to the “C:\Program Files (x86)\citrix\app delivery setup tools” directory and launch the PowerShell script .\New-CtxManagedDesktopGPO


3) Verify the output and make sure that it has completed successfully


4) If you launch the group policy management console you should now see the imported group policy objects


5) Next up we need to link the GPO’s to the correct OU’s.  The following GPO’s need to be linked to the user’s OU

  • CtxStartMenuTaskbarUser
  • CtxPersonalizableUser or CtxRestrictedUser

And the following GPO to the OU where the XenApp server resides

  • CtxRestrictedComputer





6) After the GPO’s have been linked to the relevant OU’s then we need to force a GPUpdate and reboot the server.  Once this is done delete any local profiles stored on the XenApp server and that is all.



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