This document describes the various versions of Receivers for Windows, lists the reasons for upgrading, and recommends best practices for upgrading to the latest version of Receiver based on specific circumstances.
Note: The Online Plug-in 12.x will reach end of its maintenance in March 2013. Customers using Online Plug-in with XenApp 5, XenApp 6.x, XenDesktop 4.x, or XenDesktop 5.x must upgrade to the latest version of Receiver for Windows 3.X prior to that date where practical.
Citrix Receiver is the latest Citrix software you install on Windows end points to gain access to virtualized apps and desktops. It is also regularly installed on virtual desktops to enable access to virtualized apps.
The name of Citrix client software and the built-in functions are changed over the years. The clients in common use today are the Online Plug-in for Windows 12.X and the Receiver for Windows 3.X.
Where the Online Plug-in for Windows 12.X provided Web and PNAgent support, Receiver for Windows 3.X provides additional support. It can be configured for self-service access to applications, VPN-less remote access, single sign-on the Windows, Web, and SaaS applications, and has a built-in method to check for updates.
Both the Online Plug-in and Receiver have two versions.
- The Online Plug-in Web is used solely for Web access to applications and the Online Plug-in (Full) supports Web access as well as PNA Services. The Full version supported SSO, Smart Cards, and access to apps through the Start menu
The standard Receiver for Windows, CitrixReceiver.exe, can be considered is a complete replacement for the Online Plug-in Web and largely a replacement for the Online Plug-in (Full). It can be used for web access. It can be configured to access PNA Services. And it can also be used with the latest versions of StoreFront, CloudGateway (App Controller), and Access Gateway to provide a rich set of services. It contains the latest, multithread, multi-stream HDX engine.
- The CitrixReceiverEnterprise.exe version essentially is an evolved version of the Online Plug-in Full version. It still has a role for managed computers and is the only Receiver for Windows currently to support the use of Smart Card authentication, applications in desktop folder, and prelaunch. Those features are slated for addition to standard Receiver in upcoming releases.
There are also a host of ancillary plug-ins that can be used with Citrix Receiver, following are few:
- Secure Access Plug-in
- Acceleration Plug-in
- ShareFile Sync Plug-in
- HDX Real-time Media Engine
Finally, Citrix recently announced a third “Windows” client called the Citrix Receiver for Win8/RT which is available for use primarily on Win 8- and Win RT-compatible tablet computers and is available on the Windows App Store.
- CitrixReceive.exe provides a single easy to deploy client that enables either web or native access to applications and desktops. It installs with or without administrator rights and simplifies use for first-time and returning users. Users have just one choice when installing from the Citrix.com or your own download site. Receiver for Windows 3.3 can be installed from the Web or using ESD tools.
- Depending how you configuration your systems, users can set up a Receiver accounts by entering an email address, a server URL or clicking a provisioning file and can even add multiple accounts. Provisioning file can be posted on a web site or emailed to users.
- Users have self-service access to a unified enterprise storefront of services. Users can browse the list or search for the resources they require and subscribe with a single click. Applications subscription follow user to all there devices. Follow Me Apps / Subscriptions requires Citrix CloudGateway Express.
- Users can access internal Web or SaaS applications securely with single sign-on from outside the firewall without a VPN. Requires CloudGateway Enterprise.
- Users have a consistent user experience across all Receiver platforms and devices supporting BYOD. Specific applications are automatically-provisioned as soon as the user installs Receiver on their devices.
- When used with Citrix ShareFile Enterprise, users can share and send documents from the Receiver window. Documents are stored in the cloud and synced with Receiver across all devices. The ShareFile Outlook plug-in is installed with Receiver for Windows, enabling users to attach large files to emails from Outlook. Requires CloudGateway Enterprise.
- Users can securely access enterprise applications, virtual desktops, and data from anywhere using remote access through Access Gateway. Prior to Receiver for Window 3.1, remote access to PNA services and self-service required full VPN tunnel
- Users benefit from several new HDX features such as Aero Redirection, RemoteFX support (via RDP), Session pre-launch, Multi-stream ICA, and Multiple audio device redirection.
- Users can use the Desktop Viewer with both Hosted Shared desktops and Hosted Virtual Desktops.
- User s can check for updates and updates are provided from Citrix.
- Users already logged on to their domain account do not need to authenticate to access applications. This is enabled using a command line switch at install time. Domain pass-through authentication.
- Users can use more browser versions to access applications and desktops
- Users benefit from the automatic installation and updates of other Citrix Plugins including the Secure Access, HDX Media Engine, Offline, and ShareFile Plugins. Requires CloudGateway Enterprise.
- The Online Plug-in will reach end of maintenance March of 2013.
- Users require Smart Card support.*
- Users want to launch applications from a Desktop icon or a base folder in the Start menu (rare).*
- Users require Pre-launch support to speed first time app launch. *
- Users require Receiver on thin terminals.
*CitrixReceiver.exe to support functionality in the future release.
- If you are using the Online Plug-in Web version, upgrade to the CitrixReceiver.exe version of Citrix Receiver for Windows. CitrixReceiver.exe enables Web access from more types of browsers and provides many HDX feature enhancements.
- You can also deploy the CitrixReceiver.exe if you want to enable local access to PNA Services or StoreFront or CloudGateway services.
- On the other hand if you are currently using the Online Plug-in Full version and features such as Smart Card Authentication, Prelaunch, Or for Thin Terminal, upgrade to CitrixReceiverEnterpise.exe until such time at the CitrixReceiver.exe supports these features.
Like the original Online Plug-in (Web) client, the standard Citrix Receiver (CitrixReceiver.exe) can be installed from http://citrix.com/receiver, Web Interface, or Receiver for Web to enable browser access to apps and desktops through either Web Interface or Receiver for Web site. If installing using either Web Interface or Receiver for Web, you need to make sure to rename the installer to CitrixReceiverWeb.exe to avoid prompting when Receiver is first installed. It can also be installed using common software management system.
With that said, there are some critical difference between the Online Plug-in for Windows 12.3 and CitrixReceiver.exe: The first is that CitrixReceiver.exe has all the latest HDX features including a high performance multi-threaded ICA engine, flash redirection and a lot more. CitrixReceiver.exe can also be upgraded to a full native operation as described later.
You can deploy Receiver from Receiver for Web to ensure that users have it installed before they try to connect to an application from a browser. Receiver for Web sites enables users to access StoreFront stores through a Web page. If the Receiver for Web site detects that a user does not have a compatible version of Receiver, the user is prompted to download and install Receiver. For more information, see the documentation onStoreFront.
You can deploy Receiver from a Web page to ensure that users have it installed before they try to use the Web Interface. Web Interface provides a client detection and deployment process that detects which Citrix clients can be deployed within the user’s environment and then guides them through the deployment procedure. You can configure the client detection and deployment process to run automatically when users access a XenApp Web site. If the Web Interface detects that a user does not have compatible version of Receiver, the user is prompted to download and install Receiver.
As an alternative, you can provide users with installation captions, which are links that are presented to users on the Messages screen. Users click a link to start the client detection and deployment process. You can also use installation captions to enable users to access the client detection and deployment process to upgrade their Citrix clients to a newer version.
To use the client detection and deployment process, the Receiver installation files must be available on the Web Interface server. By default, the Web Interface assumes that the file names of the Receiver installation files are the same as the files supplied on the XenApp or XenDesktop installation media. If you download Receiver from the Citrix Web site or if you plan to deploy older versions of Receiver, check that the appropriate Receiver installation file names are specified correctly in the configuration files for your XenApp Web sites.
For more information, see the documentation on Web Interface.
The Online Plug-in for Windows 12.3 Full client, CitrixReceiver.exe, and CitrixReceiverEnterpise.exe can be configured for use with PNA Services sites to access applications and desktops. In this regard, the Online Plug-in for Windows 12.3 Full client and CitrixReceiverEnterpise.exe have virtually the same functionality outside of Receiver’s newer HDX features. When using PNA Services site, both install applications in the start menu and support these features:
- Smartcard support
- SSON on by default
- Desktop icon creation
- Admin or user specified Base folder for apps in Start Menu or desktop
Deploying the CitrixReceiver.exe with a PNA site enables the user to subscribe to the applications they want to use regularly. Applications can be launched from the Start Menu or using Receiver itself.
The best practice for upgrading to the latest version of either CitrixReceiver.exe or CitrixReceiverEnterprise.exe and associated plug-ins on managed computers is to use GPOs or other software management tools such as Microsoft System Configuration Management Systems.
Normally you’ll want to set up a test environment before wide scale deployment.
You may also support a legacy and new CloudGateway infrastructure and phase in the use of the new infrastructure.
You can use StoreFront Update Services to deliver plug-in and plug-in updates to Citrix Receiver for Windows users.
You can choose whether the plug-ins and updates are retrieved from citrix.com or Merchandising Server or that they are not updated at all if for example you are using a third-party electronic software distribution tool.
You can optionally automatically deliver the following Receiver plugins to usersthe first time they authenticate with StoreFront:
- The Offline Plug-in enables access offline applications (use App-V streaming on Windows 8 end points).
- The ShareFile Sync enables users to access ShareFile data through Citrix Receiver.
- The ShareFile for Outlook enables users to access ShareFile data through Microsoft Outlook. If the store provides users with access to ShareFile data through AppController and you enabled ShareFile data provisioning for the store, ShareFile for Outlook is included by default and cannot be removed.
- The Secure Access Plug-in enables users on public networks to establish virtual private network (VPN) connections to the store and other resources on the internal network.
- The HDX Real Time Media Engine enables users to access audio and video communications provided by XenDesktop and XenApp resources.
Configuration is simple as shown in the attached screenshot of the StoreFront admin console:
For more information, see To manage Citrix Receiver updates.
Install Citrix Receiver for Windows from citrix.com/receiver. Open Citrix Receiver and enter a StoreFront FGDN. You can also install Receiver to provide SSO access to such sites with a simple install time option.
With the latest version of Citrix Receivers, users can now add an account (access to a collection of applications and desktops also called a store) using only the users Email address in the same way as they might set up an Outlook account on a mobile device. This is called Email-based account discovery. This feature is available and supported on Citrix StoreFront 1.2 or later, AppController 2.0 or later, and Access Gateway 10 69.4nc or later. Email-based discovery uses SRV (Service Location) DNS records created either on the Local DNS server, Authoritative DNS server, or both. To learn more about SRV (Service Location) record, refer to Configuring Email-Based Account Discovery.
In this scenario, users are instructed to install Citrix Receiver from citrix.com/receiver or another source, open Receiver, and enter an email address, as shown in the following image:
Note: Citrix Receiver does not check the authenticity of the email address entered. It uses only the domain from the email address, the domain that you have to use to query for a SRV record. Next, users get prompts to enter domain credentials:
The user is then asked to confirm to add the “Store” and be able to see the details.
Receiver then receives instructions from the StoreFront Account Services and might configure other software components (Receiver plug-ins) such as the following based on Account Services configurations
- Citrix ShareFile plug-in
- Secure access plug-in
- Citrix HDX Real-time Media Engine 1.0.3 plug-in
- ShareFile Outlook Plug-in
With the latest version of Citrix Receivers, users can now add an account (access to a store) by entering FQDN or IP address or an Access Gateway. This method of configuration is available and supported on Citrix StoreFront 1.2 or later, AppController 2.0 or later, and Access Gateway 10 69.4nc or later. This method may be applicable where there are restrictions to using Email-based discovery.
In this scenario, users are instructed to install Citrix Receiver from citrix.com/receiver or another source, open Receiver, and enter an FQDN of the Access Gateway, as shown in the following screen shot:
When the Receiver connects to the Access Gateway, the behavior is the same as with email discovery.
The users are prompted to enter their credentials.
The user must confirm to add the Store and be able to see the details.
Receiver then receives instructions from the StoreFront Account Services and may configure other software components (Receiver plug-ins) such as the following based on Account Services configurations
- Citrix ShareFile plug-in
- Secure access plug-in
- Citrix HDX Real-time Media Engine 1.0.3 plug-in
- ShareFile Outlook Plug-in
If you decide not to create the SRV DNS record, users can be instructed to configure an account by opening a provisioning file provided by StoreFront server either using the Receiver for Web “activation” feature or opening a provisioning file that has been exported from the StoreFront server console that is sent to the user through an email or other method of access.
The following image shows an example of provisioning file from Receiver for Web site:
When the user clicks Activate, Receiver opens the Provisioning file and asks the user to confirm that they want to add the “Store” and examine the details.
Most thin client vendors use the CitrixReceiverEnterprise.exe version and the Desktop lock. The Desktop Lock only works with this version of Receiver.
Thin clients can be used with the Legacy Sites supported on StoreFront.
Receiver for Windows can be deployed on XenDesktop to provide access to back-end virtual applications. Normally Receiver is installed on the base image. It can be loaded by the users on dedicated desktops. Either the CitrixReceiver.exe or CitrixReceiverEnterprise.exe can be used on virtual desktops for double hop access to published applications.
You can use Merchandising Server individually or in conjunction with StoreFront to configure either version of Receiver for Windows.
Merchandizing Server is designed to keep BYOD devices up to date when using multiple Citrix plug-ins.
Some IT departments use Merchandising Server for managed devices because organizationally it is easier to do so than to coordinate with separate groups that manage the desktop image. Once Receiver is installed and configured on those devices the Citrix infrastructure team can manage updates in future.
You can use Packager to create customized installers.
To secure the communication between your server farm and Receiver, you can integrate your Receiver connections to the server farm with a range of security technologies as detailed in eDocs Citrix Receiver – Secure communications.
Using Citrix Access Gateway is the best practice.
The following image illustrates how to export a provisioning file from Citrix StoreFront Console: