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04: PP Start Screen and Taskbar manager with Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop

Got icons from Citrix, and want to dynamically get them onto your REAL and VIRTUAL desktop Start Menus and Taskbars? Good luck… if you don’t have PolicyPak Start Screen and Taskbar manager. Here’s the video to show you how to manage XenApp and XenDesktop icons on the Start Menu and Taskbar.

PP Start Screen and Taskbar manager with Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop

Hi. This is Jeremy Moskowitz, former Group Policy MVP and Founder of PolicyPak Software. In this video, I’m going to show you how you can use PolicyPak Start Screen Manager in conjunction with your Citrix world.

You probably have this scenario, which is this is a standard desktop over here. You might even have a little folder called “Citrix.” In Windows 10, it’s freaking hard to get these icons. For instance, if you launch “Firefox,” it’s going over there to the Citrix machine and, as you can see, kicking off “Firefox” right there.

It’s really hard to get the icons that are here in Citrix land over to a little group here on your real Windows 10 start screen. I’m going to show you how to do that. Then I’m going to also show you when you’re inside a virtual desktop or a remote desktop, how to configure the icons in there. So this is a two-part video.

The first thing we’re going to do is let’s say you wanted to get “Firefox” and “Internet Explorer,” the ones that are over there on Citrix as icons over here on your real desktop. However are we going to do that?

What you’ll do is you’ll right click over and go to “Properties” here in Citrix land and you’ll take this “Target” location and “Copy” it. Then here in PolicyPak Start Screen Manager, this is for our “East Sales Users.” So you’re saying wherever the user logs on, they’re going to get these settings.

I’m going to say “PP SSM Citrix Demo 1” here. I have some other unrelated things that are not linked here. We’ll go ahead and click “Edit” here and we’ll dive down under user side “PolicyPak.” We’ll go to “Start Screen Manager for Windows 10.”

We’ll “Add” a “New Collection.” The collection is going to dictate the style of how we’re going to be doing this. We can either nuke everything that the user already has [“FULL (REPLACE)”], or we can simply add more to what they already have [“PARTIAL (PRESERVE)”]. I’m going to go ahead and do that. I’ll call this “Collection 1.”

Now inside the collection is where you create that actual group name. Maybe the group name I’ll create here is called “Remote XenApp apps.” We’ll click “OK” here. Then we want to put our first icon in there. Like I said, you have to right click over the icon in Citrix land and copy the “Target” in.

We’ll go ahead and right click, “Add” a “New Desktop Application Tile.” This is going to be considered a “Custom application” because it’s not registered. You’re going to simply paste it in. You can see it’s taking the information that we’ve already got here as the “Target Application” for the Citrix receiver. This is Firefox here. You can see it’s doing the “Firefox” stuff there.

We’ll go ahead and click “Next” here, and actually the rest of it doesn’t matter. It all comes from Citrix land. You have to give it a name, but it doesn’t really matter: “Firefox.” We’ll go ahead and give it a “Medium” icon and click “Next.” We’ll call this “Firefox app.”

Once we’ve done this, let’s go ahead and do one more here. Let’s go ahead and take “Internet Explorer” here. We’ll right click, go to “Properties,” and we’ll “Copy” the “Target” thing. Again, you can see it has that specially formatted Citrix idea here.

We’ll “Add” a “New Desktop Application Tile,” “Custom application,” and we’ll paste it in. Again, the “Shortcut Name” doesn’t matter. It grabs that. We’ll call this “IE.” We’ll go ahead and go to “Medium” here and click “Next.” We’ll call this “IE from xenapp.”

All right, now that we’ve done that, let’s see it work. We’ll go over here. We can see there’s nothing up my sleeve here. I don’t have those groups right now. When I go to a “Command Prompt” and run GP Update (“gpupdate”), we can actually watch this in real time.

We’ll go ahead and watch that. We’ll be adding another group or merging that group that we just created right there. Here’s our “Remote XenApp apps” right there. When we run “Firefox” now, it’s not running it locally. No, it’s getting it all the way from the Citrix server and presenting it to us through XenApp and we could do the same thing with Internet Explorer.

That is beautiful thing number one. Beautiful thing number two is what if you click here and you decide you want to launch. Actually, let me do that. Let me go ahead and take that “Desktop” app. Let me grab that guy, and we’ll “Copy” that in too. Why not?

We’ll copy that guy here and we’ll go ahead and “Add” a “New Desktop Application Tile,” “Custom application.” I’ll paste this. This is a full remote desktop, a full RDP remote desktop. Give it a name: “Remote 123.” Again, the name doesn’t matter. It’s pulled from Citrix. We’ll go ahead and pick “Medium” tile here and we’ll call this “Remote Desktop.”

All right, I meant to do that earlier. Let’s go ahead and see that that takes effect. Then when we click in it, that’s where I want to show you something that’s interesting. There we go. Perfect. Now that we have our applications and our remote desktop, let’s go ahead and click into there and see what happens.

Now we’re going in remotely. When we’re going in remotely, what’s it going to do? It tells you if you want to get out of that, hit “SHIFT+F2.” That’s totally fine. Here we are. Now we’re on the inside of the Citrix server. Now again, mine is not totally set up so you’re going to see some server stuff and my apps.

That’s great, but wouldn’t it be amazing here inside the Citrix world that I could make my own groups? The question is, how do you distinguish between inside the Citrix world and outside the Citrix world? In fact, let me go ahead and “Disconnect” here. We actually “Sign out” here.

Let’s think about this one more time. This is my real desktop here. Then inside is my RDP desktop. Here’s what I’m going to do to correct for that. Let me rename this first collection. That might actually make it smarter. I’ll “Edit Collection” and I’ll call this “Stuff for REAL desktops.” Then I’ll create another collection called “Stuff for inside RDP desktops.” Does that make sense? I want to make this maybe “FULL (REPLACE).” I’ll nuke whatever is out there and I’ll put just the things I want to in this particular case.

But the question is, how do I make the distinction between “Stuff for REAL desktops” and “Stuff for inside RDP desktops”? That’s where item-level targeting comes in. Let’s do the “Stuff for inside RDP desktops” first.

We’ll go ahead and “Change Item Level Targeting” here. We will say only do the “Stuff for inside RDP desktops” when it’s a “Terminal Session.” So the RDP session type is “Any.” Great, so we light this up as orange here.

Let’s go ahead and create some icons. We’ll “Add” a “New Group.” We’ll call this “inside Apps.” Let’s do something a little bit different. We’ll go ahead and do Chrome and maybe Firefox this time. We’ll “Add” a “New Desktop Application Tile” here, “Registered application.”

We’ll pick “Google Chrome,” go ahead and pick “Medium.” We’ll call this “Chrome.” Again, these are the icons that we’re going to see inside the remote desktop. Now we’ll go ahead and do another one here for “Mozilla Firefox.” We’ll call this “Firefox.”

Great, but we still haven’t made the distinction for how to describe “REAL desktops” versus “RDP desktops.” Well, we did for RDP but not for real desktops. You know what a real desktop is? Anything that’s not an RDP session.

We’ll “Change Item Level Targeting” on the “Stuff for REAL desktops” by making a new check to see is it a “Terminal Session.” We don’t want it to be to be yes. We want it to be whenever it “Is Not” a Terminal Session. See what I’m doing there?

So I have “Stuff for REAL desktops.” Only when it’s real desktops is it going to evaluate this and do these icons. Then I have “Stuff for inside RDP desktops.” It’s only going to evaluate that when it’s an RDP desktop.

Let’s see it all work. If I go back over here, just to prove a point, if I run GP Update (“gpupdate”) here, this is my real machine. My real machine shouldn’t change at all. It should maintain these three icons just the way we said. Nothing changes. Everything is great.

But now when I go inside “Desktop1,” this is going to be a full RDP session. We said nuke the existing icons and slap in just the icon group that I want. Let’s see if it works. Click in here. Here are the “Inside Apps,” and you can see we have “Google Chrome” and “Firefox.” If we launch “Google Chrome,” it’s getting it right here locally to the Citrix box as far as it’s concerned because it’s running there on the full remote desktop. There you go.

In this way you are autosensing. You’re making a collection. The collection senses if you’re on a “REAL” desktop and it will do these things. Another thing that will sense are you in “RDP” desktop land and, if so, do these things.

With item-level targeting plus Start Screen Manager, you’re able to manage your real machines. Let’s go back to your real machine by selecting “Sign out” here. What we’re seeing is on our real machine we’re able to add items to the start menu.

For our remote desktops when we log on we’re able to manipulate and correctly solve the challenge for the remote desktop problem. When we click into it, we’re going to see, like I said, the “Inside Apps.” We said nuke all those icons and just put the things that are important to us.

Let’s do one last thing since I’m thinking about it which is the actual taskbar. Let me go ahead and “Disconnect” here. Let’s pin something to the taskbar. Maybe we could do it for all cases. So maybe in all cases we’ll have a “Collection” here. We want to say always pin Firefox and we want to do it everywhere.

We’ll “Add” a “New Desktop Application” for the “Taskbar Manager for Windows 10.” It’s a “Registered application.” We’ll pick “Mozilla Firefox.” We want to call this “Firefox” here. This “Collection” has no item-level targeting on it, so it should work for our “REAL desktops” and our XenApp “inside RDP.”

In order to see this work, we have to run GP Update (“gpupdate”) on the real computer. Then we’re going to log off and log back on and see it take effect. The taskbar thing only works after you get the Group Policy and after you log on. So we’re going to run GP Update (“gpupdate”) first. We going to log off, log back on, and then we’ll check inside the Citrix box too and see how that shakes out.

Let’s go ahead and “Sign out” here. We’ll go ahead and sign back on. There we go. This is our real machine. We can see Firefox is there. Now if I were to go into the remote desktop here, here I am in the remote desktop now. If we take a look, there’s Firefox in the remote desktop and it launches just like that.

Of course, Firefox wants to be updated. That’s what Firefox likes to do. But you get the gist. The point is that we’ve pinned the taskbar icon in real life and also in RDP life because we didn’t say do different things for different circumstances.

I hope this helps you out and you’re ready to get started with PolicyPak Start Screen and Taskbar Manager in your real world and also in your Citrix world.
Thanks so much for watching.

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  • 31-Jan-2021