Citrix Provisioning Master Device – Convert to vDisk

Last Modified: Oct 8, 2018 @ 6:56 pm

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This article applies to all 7.x versions of Citrix Provisioning, including Current Release 1808, 7.15.3 (7.15 LTSR 2), and 7.6.6 LTSR.

💡 = Recently Updated

Change Log

PXE Tester

If you will use PXE, download CTX217122 PXEChecker to the master machine.

The TFTP portion won’t work unless the client-side firewall is disabled.

To verify functioning PXE, run PXEChecker, and Run Test in Legacy BIOS mode. Or you can do a BDM Test (see the article for details).

Convert to vDisk – Imaging Wizard Method

The Imaging Wizard connects to a Citrix Provisioning server to create a vDisk (.vhdx file) and a device (database entry with device’s MAC address). Once that’s done, the machine reboots and the conversion process begins. You can also do all of these steps manually.

  1. In the Citrix Provisioning Console, create a Store to hold the new vDisk.
  2. In the Citrix Provisioning Console, create a Device Collection to hold the new Target Device. This could be a Device Collection for Updater machines.
  3. The Imaging Wizard will ask you to enter a new machine name. You can’t use the existing machine name because Citrix Provisioning needs to create a new Active Directory account so Citrix Provisioning will know the new machine’s computer password.
  4. If the Imaging Wizard is not already running, launch it from the Start Menu.
  5. In the Welcome to the Imaging Wizard page, click Next.
  6. In the Connect to Citrix Provisioning Site page, enter the name of a Citrix Provisioning server, and click Next.
  7. In the Imaging Options page, click Next to create a new vDisk. Alternatively, you can select Create an image file.
  8. In the Add Target Device page, enter a new unique name for the new Target Device.
  9. Select a Collection name and click Next.
  10. In the New vDisk page:
    1. Enter a name for the vDisk.
    2. Select an existing Store name.
    3. Leave vDisk type set to Dynamic and VHDX.
  11. Click Next
  12. In the Microsoft Volume Licensing page, select None, and click Next. We’ll configure this later when switching to Standard Image mode.
  13. In the What to Image page, leave it set to Image entire boot disk, and click Next.
  14. In the Optimize Hard Disk for Citrix Provisioning page, click Next.

    • Shown below are the optimizations it performs.
  15. In the Summary page, click Create.
  16. In the Restart Needed page, click Continue.
  17. When asked to reboot, click No.
  18. Then click Yes to shut down the machine. This gives you time to reconfigure the machine to boot from the network or ISO. The vDisk conversion process cannot continue until you are booted from Citrix Provisioning.
  19. If you look in the Citrix Provisioning console, in the Store, you will see a new vDisk in Private Image mode. Currently there is nothing in this vDisk. The new vDisk is sized the same as the machine you ran Imaging Wizard from. You might have to Refresh the display to see the new vDisk.
  20. In the chosen Device Collection, you will see a new Target Device record that is configured to boot from Hard Disk, and is assigned to the new vDisk. You might have to Refresh the display to see the new Device.

Boot from Network or ISO

  1. Power off the Target Device.
  2. If PXE, make sure the target device is on the same network as the Provisioning Server. Or configure DHCP options 66 & 67.
  3. For vSphere Client, edit the settings of the virtual machine.
  4. Switch to the VM Options tab.
  5. In the Boot Options section, check the box to Force BIOS Setup.
  6. If vSphere and booting from an ISO:
    1. Switch to the Virtual Hardware tab.
    2. Expand CD/DVD drive 1 and connect the virtual machine’s CD to the Datastore ISO File named PvSBoot.iso.
    3. Make you check Connect At Power On.
    4. Make sure the CD-ROM is IDE, and not SATA.
    5. Also, remove any SATA controller.
    6. Click OK to close the virtual machine settings.
  7. If Hyper-V:
    1. In VMM, edit the virtual machine properties
    2. Switch to the Hardware Configuration page.
    3. If booting from ISO, in the Virtual DVD drive page, assign the ISO from the library.
    4. Switch to the Hardware Configuration > Firmware page
    5. Move PXE Boot or IDE Hard Drive to the top.
    6. Click OK to close the virtual machine properties.
  8. Power on the virtual machine.
  9. If vSphere:
    1. In the Virtual Machine’s console, on the Boot tab, move Network boot or CD-ROM Drive to the top.

    2. Press F10 to close the BIOS Setup Utility.
  10. You should see the virtual machine boot from a Citrix Provisioning server and find the vDisk.
  11. Once the machine has booted, login. If you see a Format Disk message, just ignore it, or click Cancel. The Imaging Wizard will format it for you.
  12. The conversion wizard will commence. It will take several minutes to copy the files from C: drive (local hypervisor disk) to vDisk (Citrix Provisioning disk) so be patient.

    1. If the Imaging Wizard does not successfully copy the local drives to the vDisk, first make sure the vDisk is mounted by opening the systray icon.

    2. Then you can manually start the conversion by running C:\Program Files\Citrix\Provisioning Services\P2PVS.exe.

  13. When done, click Done. It might prompt you to reboot. Reboot it, log in, and then shut it down.

Master Target Device – Join to Domain

Citrix Provisioning must learn the password of the Target Device’s Active Directory computer account. To achieve this, use the Citrix Provisioning Console to create or reset the computer account.

Do not use Active Directory Users & Computers to manage the Target Device computer account passwords. Creating, Resetting, and Deleting Target Device Active Directory computer objects must be done from inside the Citrix Provisioning Console so Citrix Provisioning will know the computer’s password. Citrix Provisioning will automatically handle periodic (default 7 days) changing of the computer passwords.

  1. In the Citrix Provisioning Console, right-click the new Target Device, expand Active Directory, and click Create Machine Account.
  2. Select the correct OU in which the Active Directory computer object will be placed, and click Create Account.
  3. Then click Close.

Boot from vDisk

  1. In the Citrix Provisioning Console, go to the Device Collection.
  2. Right-click the new device, and click Properties.
  3. On the General tab, set Boot from to vDisk.
  4. Restart the Target Device.
  5. At this point it should be booting from the vDisk. To confirm, in the systray by your clock is an icon that looks like a disk. Double-click it.
  6. The General tab shows it Boot from = vDisk, and the Mode = Read/Write.

vDisk – Save Clean Image

If you have not yet installed applications on this image, you can copy the VHDX file and keep it as a clean base image for future vDisks.

  1. If this vDisk is in Private Image mode, first power off any Target Devices that are accessing it.
  2. Then you can simply copy the VHDX file and store it in a different location.

If you later need to create a new vDisk, here’s how to start from the clean base image:

  1. Copy the clean base image VHDX file to a new folder.
  2. Rename the file to match your new Image name.
  3. In the Citrix Provisioning Console, create a new Store, and point it to the new folder.
  4. Give the new Store a name.
  5. On the Servers tab, select all Provisioning servers.
  6. On the Paths tab, enter the path to the new folder. Click OK.
  7. Click OK when asked to create the default write cache.
  8. Right-click the new store and click Add or Import Existing vDisk.
  9. Click Search.
  10. Click OK if prompted that a new property file will be created with default values.
  11. Click Add, click OK, and then click Close.

  12. You can now assign the new vDisk to an Updater Target Device and install applications.

KMS

Skip this section if you are using Active Directory-based Activation instead of KMS Server.

This only needs to be done once. More information at CTX128276 Configuring KMS Licensing for Windows and Office.

  1. Make sure the Citrix Provisioning services are running as an account that is a local administrator on the Provisioning Servers. Citrix Provisioning needs to mount the vDisk but only local administrators can mount VHDX files.
  2. In the Citrix Provisioning Console, right-click on the virtual disk, and select Properties.
  3. Click on the Microsoft Volume Licensing tab, and set the licensing option to None. Click OK.
  4. Boot an Updater device from the vDisk in Private Image mode.
  5. Login to Windows and rearm the system for both Windows and Office, one after the other.
    1. For Windows Vista, 7, 2008, and 2008R2: Run cscript.exe slmgr.vbs -rearm
    2. For Office (for 64-bit client): C:\Program Files(x86)\Common Files\Microsoft shared\OfficeSoftwareProtectionPlatform\OSPPREARM.EXE
    3. For Office (for 32-bit client): C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft shared\OfficeSoftwareProtectionPlatform\OSPPREARM.EXE
  6. A message is displayed to reboot the system, DO NOT REBOOT- Instead, run sealing tasks and then shut down the Target Device.
  7. In the Citrix Provisioning Console, right-click on the virtual disk, and select Properties.
  8. Click on the Microsoft Volume Licensing tab, and set the licensing option to Key Management Services (KMS). Click OK.

Note: After streaming the vDisk to multiple Target Devices, Administrators can validate that the KMS configuration was successful by verifying that the CMID for each device is unique.

  • For Windows Vista, 7, 2008, and 2008R2: Run cscript.exe slmgr.vbs –dlv
  • For Office: Run C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\cscript ospp.vbs /dcmid

Also see Citrix Blog Post Demystifying KMS and Provisioning Services

And Ingmar Verheij Citrix PVS: Enabling KMS licensing on a vDisk

vDisk – Seal

Do the following sealing steps every time you switch from Private Image mode to Standard Image mode, or promote a Maintenance Image to Test or Production.

  1. Run antivirus sealing tasks.
  2. Citrix Blog Post Sealing Steps After Updating a vDisk contains a list of commands to seal an image for Citrix Provisioning.
  3. Citrix Blog Post PVS Target Devices & the “Blue Screen of Death!” Rest Easy. We Can Fix That has a reg file to clear out DHCP configuration.
  4. Shut down the target device.
  5. Note: Login Base Image Script Framework (BIS-F) automates many sealing tasks. The script is configurable using Group Policy.

Defrag the vDisk

In the Citrix Blog Post Size Matters: PVS RAM Cache Overflow Sizing, Citrix recommends defragmenting the vDisk.

If the vDisk was created by App Layering ELM, then Gunther Anderson at Performance considarations? at Citrix Discussions says there’s no point in doing a defrag.

  1. While still in Private Image mode, right-click the vDisk, and click Mount vDisk.
  2. In File Explorer, find the mounted disk, right-click it, and click Properties.
  3. On the Tools tab, click Optimize.
  4. Highlight the mounted drive and click Optimize.
  5. When done, back in Citrix Provisioning Console, right-click the vDisk, and click Unmount vDisk.

Standard Image Mode

  1. In the Citrix Provisioning Console, go to the vDisk store, right-click the vDisk, and click Properties.
  2. On the General tab:
    1. Change the Access Mode to Standard Image.
    2. Set the Cache Type to Cache in device RAM with overflow on hard disk. Don’t leave it set to the default cache type or you will have performance problems. Also, every time you change the vDisk from Standard Image to Private Image and back again, you’ll have to select Cache in device RAM with overflow on hard disk.
    3. Change the Maximum RAM size to a higher value. For virtual desktops, set it to 512 MB or larger. For Remote Desktop Session Hosts, set it to 4096 MB or lager. Make sure your Target Devices have extra RAM to accommodate the write cache.
    4. On the bottom of the General tab is a new checkbox to disable cleanup of cached secrets. By default, Citrix Provisioning 7.12 and newer will delete any cached credentials. This behavior can be disabled by checking the box.
  3. Click OK when done.

For more information about KMS and Citrix Provisioning , see Ingmar Verheij Citrix PVS: Enabling KMS licensing on a vDisk

vDisk – High Availability

  1. Magnar Johnsen – Citrix PVS – DFS replication configuration script
  2. In the Citrix Provisioning Console, right-click the vDisk, and click Load Balancing.
  3. Ensure Use the load balancing algorithm is selected. Check the box next to Rebalance Enabled. Click OK.
  4. Go to the physical vDisk store location (e.g. D:\Win2016Common) and copy the .vhd and .pvp vDisk files for the new vDisk. Do not copy the .lok file.
  5. Go to the same path on the other Provisioning Server and paste the files. You must keep both Provisioning Servers synchronized.
  6. Another method of copying the vDisk files is by using Robocopy:
    Robocopy D:\vDisks\ \\pvs2\d$\vDisks *.vhd *.avhd *.pvp *.vhdx *.avhdx /b /mir /xf *.lok /xd WriteCache /xo
  7. Citrix Blog Post vDisk Replicator Utility has a GUI utility script that can replicate vDisks between Citrix Provisioning Sites and between Citrix Provisioning Farms.

  8. In the Citrix Provisioning Console, right-click the vDisk, and click Replication Status.
  9. Blue indicates that the vDisk is identical on all servers. If they’re not identical then you probably need to restart the Citrix PVS Stream Service and the Citrix PVS SOAP Service. Click Done when done.

Cache Disk – vSphere

Here are instructions to remove the original C: drive from the Master Target Device, and instead add a blank cache disk.

  1. In vSphere Client, right-click the Master Target Device, and click Edit Settings.
  2. Select Hard disk 1, and click the x icon. Click OK.
  3. Edit the Settings of the virtual machine again.
  4. On the top right, click Add New device, and select Hard Disk.
  5. This is your cache overflow disk. Size is based on the type of VDA.
    • 40 GB is probably a good size for session hosts.
    • For virtual desktops this can be a smaller disk (e.g. 5 GB).
    • Note: the pagefile must be smaller than the cache disk.
  6. Expand the newly added disk, and set Disk Provisioning to Thin provision if desired. Click OK when done.
  7. Configure group policy to place the Event Logs on the cache disk.
  8. Boot the Target Device and Verify the Write Cache Location.

Cache Disk – Hyper-V

Remove the original C: drive from the Target Device and instead add a cache disk.

  1. Edit the settings of your Citrix Provisioning master virtual machine and remove the existing VHD.
  2. Make a choice regarding deletion of the file.
  3. Create a new Disk.
  4. This is your cache overflow disk. 15-20 GB is probably a good size for session hosts. For virtual desktops this can be a smaller disk (e.g. 5 GB). Note: the pagefile must be smaller than the cache disk. Click OK when done.
  5. Configure group policy to place the Event Logs on the cache disk.

Verify Write Cache Location

  1. Boot the target device virtual machine.
  2. Open the Virtual Disk Status window by clicking the Citrix Provisioning disk icon in the system tray by the clock.
  3. Make sure Mode is set to Read Only and Cache type is set to  device RAM with overflow on local hard drive.
  4. If Cache type says server, then follow the next steps:

    1. For the cache disk, only MBR is supported. GPT will not work.
    2. The cache disk must be a Basic disk, not Dynamic.
    3. Format the cache disk with NTFS.
    4. Make sure the pagefile is smaller than the cache disk. If not it will fail back to server caching.
  5. After fixing the problem and rebooting, the Cache Type should be device RAM with overflow on local hard drive.
  6. To view the files on the cache disk, go to Folder Options, and deselect Hide protected operating system files.
  7. On the cache disk, you’ll see the pagefile, and the vdiskdiff.vhdx file, which is the overflow cache file.

Related Pages

96 thoughts on “Citrix Provisioning Master Device – Convert to vDisk”

  1. Carl, I’ve completed the P2PVS option for creating the vhdx vdisk (I also completed with imaging wizard to same effect). The hard disk boots fine, (no sata drive on vm). When I get to the step of changing the target device back to boot from Vdisk (instead of hard disk), everything starts to load fine. However, following the windows icon the image blue screens with an error of “system thread exception not handled”. Which seems to be such a generic error code. Have you seen this? When I’m booted to the hard disk, and vdisk is showing attached on the vdisk status, I can browse the newly copied volume without issue.

  2. Right, I noticed that was a typical symptom or cause in the other comments. I should have included in my statement below that there is NO sata controller connected. Nor has there ever been. Any other thoughts?

    chris hoyle says:

    September 27, 2018 at 10:58 am

    I’m having a similar issue. Post TD installation, I’m setting the vm to boot to cd (ide0:0). In pvs the TD is set to boot to Hard disk with the new disk assigned. I don’t understand this method, but I assume it has to do with booting to the hard disk getting the new, blank vDisk mounted. During the initial boot, it connects to pvs and finds the vDisk, but just stalls at that point. Will not go into the rest of the boot process. Any thoughts what could cause this? Boots fine to the hard disk, and upon logging in, the imaging wizard will continue to prompt “imaging process didn’t start, do you want to restart again”

  3. Hello Carl,

    I have an environment with single PVS server and local vdisk storage running PVS 7.18 on Windows Server 2016 under Hyper-V on WIndows Server 2016. My master target device runs Windows 10 1804 and I need to create target devices from the master. I have followed the procedure to the letter and still cannot get the vdisk to be created by the Imaging Wizard. When the master target reboots with PXE boot as the first boot option, i can see that the master gets ip configuration from dhcp but it finally boots from hard disk with message “the imaging wizard did not restart. Please check your network boot configuration”.

    The PXEChecker tool reports successful operation of DHCP/PXE/TFTP on the PVS server.

    I checked the event log and PVS log on the PVS server and master target and there is no exception or error message. There are only errors in Citrix CDFControl tool run on the PVS server, error is “tmf file not found. fail to find tmf file in searching path:”.

    I had similar case as per https://discussions.citrix.com/topic/389362-imaging-wizard-did-not-restart-error/ but this time disabling secure boot and removing the DVD drive did not fix the issue.

    I followed instructions at https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX133193, none fixed the issue. I also followed instructions at https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX133188 and I noticed that there is indeed a ghosted NIC which however is created by the installation of the PVS target device software itself. That means that the ghosted NIC is uninstalled when the PVS target device software is uninstalled. Is this expected behavior? Am I missing something specific to Windows 10 1804 master targets? Any ideas?

  4. Hi Carl:
    During the Image Creation process, I click “No” so that my Imaging VM shuts down. I then change the Boot order on that VM (this is vSphere 6.0) to “Boot from VMXNET3” in the BIOS… Start the VM (where I’m expecting to go back into Windows so that the Image Creation process can complete)… PXE-boot works fine, and the Windows logo appears… the spinning circle of dots, 2 or 3 times… and then…. NOTHING. The boot process “freezes” right there… I’ve let it stand like that for more than 40 minutes, to no avail… On the PVS server, on the TD (created during the first part of Image Creation) I made sure “Type” is “Maintenance” and “Disk” says “Hard Disk”… made sure the Windows Firewall on my PVS Server is Disabled… What could be causing this “freeze” at loading the OS, at this point in the process?

      1. Yes, I tried that just now. Went over all the Settings very carefully to make sure I got it all right. When trying to boot the Target Device (made during the first half of the Imaging Wizard process) from (my Imaging Machine)’s HARD DRIVE (as specified in the Device Collection), it just freezes at the Windows logo screen…

          1. I’m having a similar issue. Post TD installation, I’m setting the vm to boot to cd (ide0:0). In pvs the TD is set to boot to Hard disk with the new disk assigned. I don’t understand this method, but I assume it has to do with booting to the hard disk getting the new, blank vDisk mounted. During the initial boot, it connects to pvs and finds the vDisk, but just stalls at that point. Will not go into the rest of the boot process. Any thoughts what could cause this? Boots fine to the hard disk, and upon logging in, the imaging wizard will continue to prompt “imaging process didn’t start, do you want to restart again”

          2. Right: In my case, I totally removed the CD/DVD drive AND I totally removed the SATA Controller from the VM. After that, the Image Creation process worked great. No more hangs at the Windows logo just prior to copying to the vDisk (back inside the Master device)…

  5. Hi Carl,

    I installed the PVS TDS 7.15.1 on a new machine I want to bnimage but my PVS Server is still runing 7.6.1
    Is it the reason why I cannot run the wizard successfully ?

    Kind regards

    Yvan

    Tuesday, April 24, 2018 16:52:56
    04/24/18 16:52:56: Provisioning Services 7.15.1 Copyright (c) 2001-2017 Citrix Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.
    04/24/18 16:52:56: Microsoft Windows 6.2.9200 Server
    04/24/18 16:52:56: Suite=0x00000010
    04/24/18 16:52:56: Processor Architecture: x64
    04/24/18 16:52:56: Number of processors: 2
    04/24/18 16:52:56: WindowsFreePercentage that can be set in [parameters] section of P2PVS.ini: 25
    04/24/18 16:52:56: PartitionOffsetBase that can be set in [parameters] section of P2PVS.ini: 1048576
    04/24/18 16:52:56: VolumeDiscoveryTimeoutAsSeconds that can be set in [parameters] section of P2PVS.ini: 30
    04/24/18 16:52:56: VolumeShadowCopyPollTimeAsMs that can be set in [parameters] section of P2PVS.ini: 0
    04/24/18 16:52:56: A Provisioning Services vDisk was not found.
    04/24/18 16:52:58: Loading ImagingWizardM.dll
    04/24/18 16:53:13: Connecting to server:
    04/24/18 16:53:13: SoapServer version: 7.6, ImagingWizard version: 7.15
    04/24/18 16:53:13: The format field does not exist.
    04/24/18 16:53:13: The format field does not exist.
    04/24/18 16:53:13: The format field does not exist.
    04/24/18 16:53:13: The format field does not exist.
    04/24/18 16:53:13: The format field does not exist.
    04/24/18 16:53:13: The format field does not exist.
    04/24/18 16:53:13: The format field does not exist.
    04/24/18 16:53:13: The format field does not exist.
    04/24/18 16:53:14: The format field does not exist.
    04/24/18 16:53:14: The {0} command does not exist.
    04/24/18 16:53:15: Task selected: Create a vDisk
    04/24/18 16:53:15: GetStoreFreeSpace: 404854
    04/24/18 16:53:15: GetStoreFreeSpace: 109638
    04/24/18 16:53:15: GetStoreFreeSpace: 404854
    04/24/18 16:53:15: GetStoreFreeSpace: 404854
    04/24/18 16:53:15: GetStoreFreeSpace: 109638
    04/24/18 16:53:15: GetStoreFreeSpace: 404854
    04/24/18 16:53:15: GetStoreFreeSpace: 109638
    04/24/18 16:53:15: GetStoreFreeSpace: 109638
    04/24/18 16:53:15: GetStoreFreeSpace: 109638
    04/24/18 16:54:54: CreatevDisk: xappia_v1 in Store: xappia with MB size: 56320 vhd fixed: false sector size: 512 block size: 2 MB
    04/24/18 16:54:54: The format parameter is not valid.
    04/24/18 16:54:54: Create vDisk failed

  6. Hi Carl

    I am getting following error when I try to create Vdisk from Master image. Any Idea how to fix this ?

    04/02/18 05:19:08: Destination is \\?\Volume{000158f8-0000-0000-0000-100000000000}.
    04/02/18 05:19:08: Destination is \\?\Volume{000158f8-0000-0000-0000-501f00000000}.
    04/02/18 05:19:08: Volume to Volume started at Monday, April 02, 2018 05:19:08
    04/02/18 05:19:08: Gathering Volume Shadow Copy Writer metadata…
    04/02/18 05:19:21: Adding volume \\?\Volume{00006c17-0000-0000-0000-100000000000}\ to snapshot…
    04/02/18 05:19:22: Adding volume \\?\Volume{00006c17-0000-0000-0000-501f00000000}\ to snapshot…
    04/02/18 05:19:22: Preparing for backup…
    04/02/18 05:19:22: Gathering writer status…
    04/02/18 05:19:23: Committing shadow copies…
    04/02/18 05:19:23: Failed to finish DoSnapshotSet.
    04/02/18 05:19:23: VSS_E_INSUFFICIENT_STORAGE
    04/02/18 05:19:23: Failed to snapshot. (0x8004231F)
    04/02/18 05:19:23: Aborting Volume Shadow Copy…
    04/02/18 05:19:23: Volume to Volume stopped at Mond

  7. Hi Carl

    Very helpful article. We are in the process of setting up a XA/XD 7.15 environment with PVS ( BDM )

    Referring to the section Boot from Network or ISO, once the imaging wizard has run – the VM is booting from ISO and makes a connection to the PVS server – post that the template box ( windows 7 ) goes into Windows Repair startup – the vdisk is created in PVS but conversion does not start post boot.

    The PVS server has the firewall switched and the following ports enabled 6969 6910 -6930, 69, 5432154322,

    Would you be able to advise where to look ?

  8. Carl,

    I am still having problems with getting the cache type. I am still in standard image mode and did set the page file. I haven’t done the private mode setup since we import our vDisks. I have changed the vDisk drive letter to D. All the other parameters are correct. MBR, Simple, NTFS.. What am I missing? We’re on 7.15. I did not setup the environment, BTW.

    any assistance would be great.

  9. Hi Carl,

    I started imaging wizard, after rebooting from network Virtual Desktop status is inactive and target device is currently not accessing this vdisk. I Checked vdisk in store and target device appeared on device collections and I even checked pxecheck.

    1. Either the machine didn’t actually boot from the network, or there’s a communication problem between the Target Device software driver and the PVS server. Firewall is open? What’s the NIC type on the Target Device? What hypervisor?

  10. Having a strange issue, when installing the VDA (7.13) in the vDisk, the WriteCache disk is suddenly non-persistent. Things saved to the writecache is lost at reboot, things deleted are back after a reboot?
    Using PVS 7.13 with HyperV.
    Tried several installation orders, but issue keeps coming back..

      1. No, McAfee. We do have one image which does work properly, but no information on how this image was created (which components were installed in which order). When deploying a new server using the XenDesktop wizard a writecache disk is created, but not formatted. Trying to look for differences between the two vDisks, so far noticed a missing key WriteCacheSize in HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\services\bnistack\pvsagent.

        1. Well, after some testing it looks like a (Microsoft) policy is responsible for the strange behavior, now finding out which policy is breaking the PVS functionality..
          (Moved the computers to a location with less policies applied, works fine)

  11. Hi Everyone. I so happy about you Guides Carl, as I am currently setup a huge Citrix Farm. Currently I run into a problem with imaging Process. I needed another 2008R2 VDA to publish a specific App that needs SMB1 enabled. I already created a 2008R2 Image(vdisc) successfull for all the other apps. I took the same Template did the VDa Setup and then the pvs Setup. When Imaging the Device, Collection and vdisc gets created. Then I shutdown the TD and change to boot from pxe (vmxnet3)
    Then I boot the Server, it does find PVS and get the vdisk (vdisc found) and start booting to the OS. Then after a while, it restarts and then I get asked of I want to boot Windows normally or do a repair. I can repeat this forever.
    When changeing back to boot from Harddisc all seems fine.
    What did I miss? Why does the new TD not boot up correctly so I can Finish the imageing process?

    Thank you in advance for reply!

    1. Check C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\pci.sys. What is the modified date? It should be June 2011 or newer.

      Did you delete ghost NICs?

      1. Hi Carl, than you for that fast Answer. The pci.sys is date 23.03.2016, has file version 6.1.7601.23403.
        I checked for Ghost Nics but there is none. What exactly i a ghost Nic? I cannot see any hidden network card, but there are some visible network cards in device manager.
        I have: Microsoft ISATAP Adapter, RAS Async Adapter, vmxnet3 Ethernet Adapter and this Wan miniport Nics for several Protokolls. the same Nics are still present in my working 2k8R2 image which I’ve done before.

        regards

        1. I fixed the problem. I did not have much time and just restarted the whole os install again (vda, pvs) and images successfully. The Error was an Error 40. I misstyped the Folder where the vdisc should be placed in. However vdisc was created but could not boot afterwards. I also forgot to Add the Site that will be owner of the Store in PVS I think that was the problem. I found it out later, when recreated the Folder and Store. NVM thanks!

  12. Hi Carl,

    I followed your steps up to step 17 in “Convert to vDisk – imaging wizard method” and the imaging wizard did not start after reboot.

    The following error displayed “Imaging Wizard Restart Errro – Imaging Wizard did not restart. Please check your network boot configuration….” instead of Step 9 in “Boot from Network or ISO”

    Do you have any ideas ?

    Regards,

    Jen

    1. You can run “C:\Program Files\Citrix\Provisioning Services\P2PVS.exe” manually. Assuming the machine is actually connected to the vDisk.

  13. Hello Carl,

    1) How can you configure PVS to use a drive letter other than default D: for the write cache, e.g. use drive Q?
    2) Also can a separate drive letter be used with a Windows crash dump disk, separate from the write cache? Or is the pagefile, crash dump and other system files stored by default in a single write cache disk?
    3) Can you point to general recommendations for write cache disk sizing?

  14. Hi Carl

    After converting to vDisk, do you remove the pagefile.sys still present on C of the image ?
    I think this pagefile is not useful anymore and take space on my vDisk.

    Regards,
    Stephane

    1. I don’t. When you boot from a vDisk, it moves the pagefile to the D: drive. However, I do recommend shrink the size of the pagefile.

        1. Before Standard Image mode, yes. It needs to be smaller than the cache disk. You can shrink it before conversion if you prefer.

  15. 4.Change the Maximum RAM size to a higher value. For virtual desktops, set it to 512 MB or larger. For Remote Desktop Session Hosts, set it to 4096 MB or lager. Make sure your Target Devices have extra RAM to accommodate the write cache.

    Scenario – Windows 7 VM – 16GB Memory Allocated and 10GB Write Cache, if I set it to 512MB maximum ram size, when does it use the 512mb maximum ram size? Or do I need to assign 16GB memory as maximum ram size before it uses the 10gb write cache data.

    1. Writes go the RAM cache first (512 MB in your case). Once the RAM cache is full, it spills over to the 10 GB Write Cache disk.

      1. If I assign it the same as the Memory – 16GB also in RAM cache, would this be a good idea?

        Windows Page File config on C: is set to none and D: set to 256

  16. I cannot get past step 11 (MS Licensing) On step 10 when I click next, it crashes the wizard.
    What am I doing wrong?

    I’ve done this all on previous versions but for some reason it is not working. PVS 7.13

    I am tempted to roll back to an earlier version.

    I had a similar problem with the VDA media for 7.12
    I had to roll back to 7.6 in order for the DDC to register the VM (I did this as a 1:1 vm not a pvs one)

    So basically I am almost done with the farm but I cannot get a VHD going…

    1. Something to consider, I tried to do things reversed and manual (Create the vdisk ahead of time, pxe to it, image to it, etc)

      When I went to create vdisk, I name it and then click next the PVS console crashes with a lengthy exception error.

      “Retry limit exhausted error”
      which I also get when I run the imaging wizard and click next after setting up the image info (hostname, etc)
      but it continues to step 10. Then when I click next it crashes.

      I am attempting to run a split NIC configuration where PVS has NIC 1 – main LAN NIC 2 isolated vlan for streaming to hosts. Could this be the issue? The VDA gold VM has NIC 1 – main Lan NIC 2 on the PVS Vlan of its NIC 2

  17. Should there be any problem if VDA is installed after the Master-Device must have been converted to vDisk?

    Thanks

  18. Carl, I followed this procedure to take a XenApp 6.5 vm and convert it to a vDisk. Everything went as planned but now that it is done the vDisk will not boot on the target device. It does the PVS boot process fine and then when the OS should be loading it just sits at a black screen for a bit and then shuts down. Any thoughts on what this might be?

  19. Hi Carl,

    With XD 5.6, besides pooled desktop groups, I had a dg with 50 pvd machines running w7.

    I have now a XD 7.6 LTSR platform in place.

    According to http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-6-long-term-service-release/xad-whats-new/long-term-service-release.html, PVD is still excluded for the LTSR compliance.

    As I’m not a PVD fan either, I intend to create a persistent desktops DG for several support teams.

    Are tools like BNImage or Disk2VHD pvd agnostics ? In other words, if I run BNimage on a PVD machine, is it possible to create a vdisk containing the full image content (win7 os part taken from the vdisk the machine booted on plus the pvd part). I will then convert the vdisk to vmdk file, put it on a vmfs store and use it when creating my vm.

    Of course, I you have a better/quicker approach, I take it 😉

    Kind regards

    Yvan

    1. I don’t think I’ve tried converting a PvD to a full clone. But after conversion, you would have to remove the PvD software, or at least disable it.

  20. Hi Carl, for symantec AV do you recommend or seen any setup with redirecting the virus definitions to another drive other than C drive, since PVS is involved and streaming? I was thinking of creating another drive (other than the write cache disk) on the template as to redirect virus definitions there so that the machines aren’t redownloading them at reboot each time until an update to vdisk is done. What do you think?

  21. Hi Carl,

    We want to have two different Windows 7 Desktops

    One for our Systems Team – giving them the ability to install applications – That would be persistent – static VM which would require a PvD drive (We can only use B,K,O or U as P: is already in use, would that be ok)

    Our users to have 1-1 non-persistent – do we need a PvD drive is we don’t want them to install applications and for us to control it via Master Image?

    Do we create the PvD drive before we install VDA Agent and then the PVS Software?

    Can the VDA be 7.6 LTSR, while the pvs target software is 7.1

    Per machine looking to do WBC (10GB) and PvD (15GB) – is that enough?

    1. Apologies I mean can the VDA be 7.6 LTSR CU1 and the PVS Target be 7.6.2, our PVS Servers are still behind on 7.6.0.5019

      Or do we have to keep them all on the same version, so VDA 7.6.5026. PVS 7.6.5019

      1. PvS servers must be upgraded before you upgrade the Target Device Software.

        The VDA software can be upgraded any time since there’s no official connection between PvS and XD other than the XD Setup Wizard in the PvS Console.

      1. Thanks Carl, always a big help

        How do you replicate, backup and restore them?

        I followed websters guide, createf the drives as stub holders. But not create the simple volume and left unallocated.

        Ran xendesktop wizard successfully for 3 provisioned machines, the storages for wbc and pvd are created.

        Where do I set the paging files? On the master image still in standard mode? Will i need to create the simple volume now on the master image or leave it unallocated as the article shows?

        1. You’ll have to figure out a way to backup and restore PvDs. This is one reason I’m not a fan of PvD.

          PvS will move the pagefile to the cache disk automatically. But make sure the pagefile is smaller than the cache disk.

          1. Thanks

            Do I have to do it in the master image or individually on each target device?

            My master image hasn’t allocated the D:, there is 10gb but not created as simple volume as websters guide?

            Any reason why he leaves both drives unallocated?

            Do I need to put it in standard mode> allocate volume and page file to D:?

          2. If pagefile is on C:, PvS will move it to D: automatically, assuming it can fit in D:. You’re welcome to boot a Maintenance Version (Private Mode) vDisk and manually configure the pagefile settings.

  22. Thanks Carl,This worked just fine and as described.

    How can I move a vdisk from one partition to another? We are running out of space and have created a new location to store vdisks.

  23. Hello Carl, here’s a fun question. Is it advisable to do an offline defrag when a vdisk is in maintenance and not private mode? Both allow writes, but citrix seems unclear on the distinction with regards to an offline defrag. Getting downtime to do private mode is very hard, so being able to merge a vdisk into maintenance and doing an offline defrag would be best. Any advice?

    Congrats on the great blog.

      1. I agree. But I mean putting the vdisk into a merged base state in maintenance mode and doing an offline defrag. Does that help shed any light on recommendations?

        1. Merged base is no longer a snapshot so that should be fine. I can’t remember if it lets you mount a merged base. Another option is to defrag it and import it as a new vDisk.

  24. Hi Carl,

    During the “seal” steps it is recommended to stop the DHCP Client service and import the regkey to clear the DHCP config.
    However, as soon as the DHCP service is stopped, the connection with the PVS server (and vDisk) is lost, and the server stops responding.
    If the regkey alone is imported without stopping DHCP, the values in the registry are not added.
    Any advise on this?

  25. Hey Carl, after you switch your first target device to boot from the vdisk (which now still has the hard disks attached), What are the recommended steps to do with the target device? Make it into a template? Clone it to an update machine? Thank you sir!

  26. Carl,

    What would be the recommended “Maximum RAM Size” for PVS Ram with overflow on hard disk? Using Server 2008 R2. Currently set at 2048MB but im noticing its filling up quite fast after reboots.

    1. Are you referring to the target devices (vDisk)? For RDSH, I normally set it to 4 GB or higher. More RAM = less IOPS. Citrix has found around 4 GB to reduce IOPS by 90%.

  27. Hey Carl, I read religiously your blogs, and they are very helpful..

    I’m trying to setup PvS 7.8 for the first time… Everything was going well until I tried to capture my master image (2008 R2, vSphere, EFI, hardware version 10, VMXNET3). My uEFI PXE is working properly, because the VM is redirected to “Citrix Provisioning Services 7.8.0.8001 UEFI streaming). I get an address by DHCP, but the VM stays “stuck” on “connecting to 10.20.0.74 (the IP of my PVS server)…

    Any hints would be appreciated… 🙂

    Thx!

    1. I haven’t tried EFI yet. Not sure it’s useful on vSphere. Try posting your question to discussions.citrix.com. The PvS product manager reads the posts there.

    2. For an unknown reason, there was a problem with permissions in my SQL database. Rerunning the config wizard (on my PVS servers) solved it… Thx!

  28. Carl –
    Your guides have been a godsend. Thank you! A quick question – I see that you’ve mentioned both booting from Network and ISO options. What are your feelings about configuring with a boot partition? We’ve configured this in our environment in a test setting and it seems to work well, but I haven’t really seen any documentation mention it. As such I’m leery on using it in production until I see it blessed by someone who knows what they’re doing.

    1. Boot partition works fine but is difficult to change. Basically you’d have to delete and re-create the VMs. Not a big deal.

  29. Hi Carl –

    Great site and series of articles! We are just in the process of rolling out XenApp/Desktop 7.6.3 with provisioning services 7.7 (single server). I’m just labing the whole thing out but i’m stuck at Create/Delete/Reset Machine Accounts from AD.

    I get the following error when attempting to Create/Delete/Reset Machine Accounts

    Failed: Unable to perform the requested Search: Error Code: 0, message: ,provider : LDAP Provider. (21)

    Single DC running Windows 2008 R2 (2008 R2 FFL/DFL).

    The PVS service account has the following permissions:

    Database – sysadmin
    PVS Server – Local Admin
    Citrix Studio – Machine Creation
    AD – Domain Admin

    There doesn’t seem to be anything in the event log.

    The config should be pretty much identical to what you’ve documented.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks!

  30. Carl, I’m getting very strange behavior and perhaps you can help. I am working with NVIDIA GRID vGPU on vSphere 6 and PVS 7.6. When I installed the NVIDIA video drivers, I got a black screen on the vSphere Console so my workaround is to use RDP. I will figure out the vSphere Console issue later as that is not my huge concern right now. My problem is the Target Device was created fine. As long as the TD is set to boot from Hard Disk, I can ping and RDP into the virtual machine. When I change it to boot to vDisk, I can no longer ping and I can’t RDP. What is strange is it does seem to boot up fine. Its all green check marks in the PVS Console. I verified the IP address it is using through the vSphere Client and the PVS Console. What could be stopping the networking on the TD once I change it to vDisk?

    1. Single NIC?

      What OS version? If 2008 R2, did you install 2550978 (pci.sys)? Did you check for ghost NICs?

      Is the firewall enabled? Maybe DNS or AD is not working properly so Windows thinks it’s not on the domain network and thus enables the Public firewall.

  31. Thanks Carl,

    Some Xendesktop sessions freeze intermittently:

    Error: provisioning service virtual disk – connection lost

    Can last for a few seconds to a minute and then says “provisioning service virtual disk – connection restored”

    any ideas?

  32. Hi Carl;

    Thank you for all you do! Your posts are extremely valuable for small shop Citrix operators such as myself. 🙂

    I’ve spent some time Googleing and researching but am having a hard time finding information about block sizes. Maybe it means I don’t have to worry about it as much as I am… but when setting up my vDisk storage I had to pick block sizes on my SAN volume, on the NTFS volume, and for the VHD file itself.

    Am I fine with 4K default sizes on the SAN and NTFS volume and 2MB on the VHD file? Or could I tweak these and improve my performance? I’m caching on the target devices, not the PVS servers.

    Thanks!

    Curtis

    1. On the PvS server side, I don’t think it matters. The PvS server should have enough RAM to cache the vDisk in memory and thus there should be very little disk activity. The only exception is Private Mode vDisks and I only recommend those for image updates.

      Client-side caching is a different story. You have RAM caching to help with that.

  33. Hi Carl,
    Hope you can help me here.
    I have been trying to create a Write Cache disk for the targets but only the Master device can see it.
    I have read somewhere prob from Carl Webster that on PVS 7.6 the disk on the Master Image should be left unformatted and that the targets do that on boot, but previously I formatted them but not on PVS 7.6.
    I have tried both methods and no joy 🙁
    I successfully created PVS disks before for another client but that was on Xenapp 6.5 also and an older version of PVS.
    I am going mad here trying to get this to work.
    The hyper visor is Xenserver, disk part says disk 0 for cache and disk 1 for streaming.

    Hope someone can help
    Cheers
    Mike

    1. When you use the XenDesktop Setup Wizard, it automatically adds a cache disk and formats it. If you use the Streamed VM Setup Wizard then I don’t think it adds or formats the cache disk. I usually add an empty formatted cache disk to my template and that works.

  34. Hi Carl, I keep receiving a “Failed: Unable to save Active Directory change. Ensure the appropriate permissions exist to perform this task…” message when trying to join the device to domain. Do i need my AD rights delegated?

    1. I work mostly with mid-to-large sized enterprises and vSphere is the hypervisor that they use with some of them dabbling in Hyper-V. I think Carl Webster has PvS instructions that are more specific to XenServer.

  35. Hi Carl
    I am testing PVS 7.6 in my test lab on VMware workstation 11. I was able to create 2012R2 vDisk successfully but when trying to boot from the vDisk, the streaming does not happen. I was able to network boot the target and the target can find the PVS server and got the vDisk found message but is not proceeding afterwards. I tried

    Changing the network adapter from e1000 to vmxnet3
    Changed the hard disk and CD drive from SATA to IDE and removed IDE before vDisk creation
    I have enabled PVS server logging into Eventviewer and could not find any error in the PVS server.

    I am wondering how to proceed on this. Appreciate your assistance.

    1. I suspect that Workstation is not supported for PvS and I have no experience with it. You can try searching or posting at discussions.citrix.com

  36. Hi Carl, As usual Excellent Article.

    I am trying PVS in my single host Hyper-V lab. I have XA 7.6 Master VMs and targets are created manually on hyper-v (No SCVMM. What I am finding is that my targets have their write cache going to server (checked the WC partition is formatted with MBR) even though the vDisk is configured with ‘RAM with overflow to disk’

    1. Is it possible to create 2 or 3 targets manually from the master VM (without using SCVMM) that will use RAM cache with overflow to disk as WC location? if yes please let me know how this can be done?

    2. In my PVS server, I cannot power manage (start or shutdown) the devices. How would I configure PVS to power manage VMs in the hypervisor?

    1. 1. Make sure the pagefile is smaller than the cache disk. Also, make sure the cache disk is formatted with NTFS partition. The XenDesktop Setup Wizard can do this for you or make sure your template has formatted disk.

      2. I’m guessing Hyper-V doesn’t support Wake-on-LAN. But once the targets are booted you can send them a shutdown command from PvS console assuming the TD Agent is running.

  37. Great tutorial! The only problem I have is on “Verify Write Cache Location”, step 3a, my target device from which I created the golden image recognizes write cache disk as #1, not zero. Due to that, it keeps writing cache to PVS server. If I create new target devices, they are good to go. I guess I attached the write cache disk before capturing the image, and that screw up my target device.
    Is there an easy way to invert the disk numbering?

    1. What hypervisor? In vSphere, you can power off the VM, edit the settings, and you can change the SCSI from 0:1 to 0:0. When creating the PvS template, I always clone the original VM so the hardware is as identical as possible.

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