XenServer: Drivers for WinPE

Intro

If you deploy images with a Microsoft product, you are using WinPE (Microsoft Windows Preinstallation Environment) to configure and install an operating system. If you use XenServer for your Hypervisor of choice, then you will have to extract the XenServer drivers to import into your WinPE

Extracting the Files

The simplest way to get the files is to load the XenTools ISO onto a system and copy the install files over to a temporary location. Select your Virtual Machine, click the Console tab and select the DVD Drive drop down and select guest-tools.iso. In this case, my XenServer environment is on version 8.1.

This will mount the current XenServer tools ISO onto the virtual machine’s DVD drive.

To get the drivers, copy managementagentx64.msi (and managementagentx86.msi if you need drivers for a 32-bit operating system) to a temporary location on your system.

Here, we have the managementagentx64.msi file in the D:\temp folder. To extract the files we run the following command:

msiexec.exe /a managementagentx64.msi /qb TARGETDIR="D:\temp\drivers"

This runs installs managementagentx64.msi as an administrative install. This is why we used /a as a parameter and the TARGETDIR parameter so it will expand the MSI files into the D:\temp\drivers folder. I also used /qb to run the install in Quiet mode with a Basic GUI.

After running this command, we can now drill-down into folders created by the administrative install.

The MSI contains a lot of files and executables, but we’re looking for drivers. Fortunately, there is a Drivers folder. Under Drivers there are v8 and v9 folders. v9 holds the newer drivers. Under v9 we have the folders that contain the driver files (both 64-bit and 32-bit versions).

Importing the Drivers

There are five drivers that we will want to import into WinPE. In the following examples, I’m importing the drivers into Microsoft Deployment Tool.

I drill-down to my Deployment Share (MDT Production), expand Out-of-Box Drivers and right-click on WinPE 5.0 x64. The Import Driver Wizard start and we can drill down to the location of our drivers.

Click Next, Next and the import will begin. At the end a Confirmation window will display the status.

Since I didn’t drill down into each driver folder, the wizard imported both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the drivers. I can delete the 32-bit versions by selecting them, right-clicking, and choosing delete.

Now to use the new drivers, you right-click on the Deployment share and select Update Deployment Share.

The Update Deployment Share Wizard comes up. My preference is to always choose “Completely regenerate the boot images.” This takes longer, but the results are consistent.

The wizard will complete and a new ISO is generated in the Boot folder under your deployment share.

You copy this ISO to your XenServer ISO share, and when you want to build a new image, you point your XenServer virtual machine to this ISO and WinPE will use the new drivers you imported.

I hope this post helps you track down the XenServer drivers you need to automate builds in the future. Please comment if you have any questions.

Thanks for reading,
Alain Assaf

WEM 2003 UPDATE AVAILABLE

Intro

Spring has sprung and Citrix has released the next version of WEM. This version is 2003. You can download the new version here (requires Platinum/Premium licenses and login to Citrix.com). I’ve provided the release notes below.

What’s new in Workspace Environment Management 2003

Workspace Environment Management 2003 includes the following new features. For information about bug fixes, see Fixed issues.

Citrix optimizer

Citrix optimizer is now available in Workspace Environment Management (WEM). You can use the feature to optimize user environments for better performance. Citrix optimizer runs a quick scan of user environments and then applies template-based optimization recommendations. You can optimize user environments in two ways:

  • You can use built-in templates to perform optimizations. To do so, select a template applicable to the operating system.
  • Alternatively, you can create your own custom templates with specific optimizations you want and then add them to WEM.

For more information, see Citrix optimizer.

External task

This release includes enhancements to the external task feature. The feature now provides you with two additional options to control when to run external tasks:

  • Logoff. This option lets you specify whether to run external tasks when users log off.
  • Reconnect. This option lets you specify whether to run external tasks when a user reconnects to a machine on which the agent is running. This option is not applicable to scenarios where the WEM agent is installed on a physical Windows device.

The logoff option can be useful in scenarios where you want to purge the user environment on logoff. For more information, see External Tasks.

Optimized action processing

Starting with this release, WEM supports processing actions without retrieving settings from the infrastructure services. There is a new “Use Cache to Accelerate Actions Processing” option on the Administration Console > Advanced Settings > Configuration > Agent Options tab. The option enables the WEM agent to process actions by using the agent local cache. As a result, the agent no longer needs to communicate with the infrastructure services when processing actions. For more information, see Agent Options.

Optimized logon performance

In earlier releases, WEM delayed user logons until the processing of user Group Policy settings completed. Starting with this release, WEM no longer delays logons, and user Group Policy settings are processed in the background by default. For information about configuring this behavior, see System settings.

Optimized file type associations

In previous releases, file type associations other than those for text (.txt) files did not work consistently. Starting with this release, file type associations that you configure become default associations automatically. This enhancement lets you more effectively manage user environments. In addition, you now have more flexibility in configuring file type associations. In the New File Association window, you no longer have to fill out the following fields: ActionTarget application, and Command. You can leave the fields empty as long as you can provide the correct ProgID. For more information, see File Associations.

Profile Management

As of this release, you can use the Workspace Environment Management to configure all settings for Citrix Profile Management 2003. The following option is now available in the administration console:

  • Enable multi-session write-back for FSLogix Profile Container (option to save changes in multi-session scenarios for FSLogix Profile Container)

Administration console

The user interface of the administration console has changed:

  • In System Optimization, there is a new Citrix Optimizer pane. In the pane, there is a Citrix Optimizer tab for configuring optimization-related settings.

Fixed Issues

Workspace Environment Management 1912 contains the following fixed issues compared to Workspace Environment Management 1909:

  • When you use a configuration object with Workspace Environment Management PowerShell modules SDK cmdlets, all parameters must be specified. If they are not, the command fails with an InvalidOperation error. [WEM-691, WEM-693]
  • In PowerShell, when you use the help command with the -ShowWindow switch to display help in a floating window for a Workspace Environment Management PowerShell cmdlet, the Examples section of the help is unpopulated. To see the examples, use the get-help command with the -examples-detailed, or -full switch instead. [WEM-694]
  • In Transformer (kiosk) mode, and with Log Off Screen Redirection enabled, WEM might fail to redirect the user to the logon page after logging off. [WEM-3133]
  • The administration console might exit unexpectedly when you scroll down the agent list on the Administration Console > Agents > Statistics tab. [WEM-6004]
  • The Use Cache Even When Online option on the Administration Console > Advanced Settings > Configuration > Agent Options tab might not work. [WEM-6118]
  • Attempts to import registry files might fail with the following error message: Error “Import from Registry file” – Import Completed with Errors. The issue occurs when a registry file to be imported contains two or more values that have the same name. [WEM-6232]

Known Issues

Workspace Environment Management contains the following issues:

  • On the agent host, attempts to start a published application as an application shortcut might fail. The issue occurs with application shortcuts that are created using StoreFront URLs. [WEM-7348, CVADHLEP-14061]
  • Attempts to start an application from the My Applications icon list in the agent UI might fail. The issue occurs with application shortcuts that are created using StoreFront URLs. [WEM-7578, CVADHLEP-14171]
  • When the number of connected agents exceeds a certain threshold (for example, 800), Norskale Broker Service.exe might consume a significant amount of CPU resources. For example, its CPU usage can increase to 70%. [WEM-7773]

Depreciated Features

Click here to see depreciated features.

Thanks for reading,
Alain

VDI Like a Pro: Announcing the State of union survey 2020

vdi-like-a-pro-small

It’s time for the 2020 State of VDI/SBC Union Survey. Ruben Spruijt, Mark Plettenberg, and Christiaan Brinkhoff continue to drive one of the EUC industry’s largest and most valuable surveys. I encourage you to participate in this survey because it benefits all of us who deploy and manage EUC solutions.

Click here to take the VDI Like a Pro – “State of the union” survey

Thanks,
Alain