XenDesktop Windows 7 Optimization and GPO’s Settings

As organizations start to migrate to Windows 7, it is expected many will leverage desktop
virtualization to simplify and streamline the migration and ongoing maintenance process. Delivering
a Windows 7 system as a virtual desktop requires proper planning and configuration to provide the
users with an optimized and functional desktop environment.

I been working with VDI technologies for some time now… favoring Citrix XenDesktop as the overall solution.  By following the best practices article from Citrix as well as my personal experience, I figure I gather as much information as possible and paste into this post.


  • Windows 7 64bit
  • XenDesktop 5.6 FP1
  • UPM 4.1
  • vSphere 5.1 (now supported by Citrix, see article CTX131239 as well as CTX136291  for updates/ known issues)
  • Citrix Receiver 3.x

Disable following services:

This can be done on the VM itself or via GPO added the settings to the below section.

Background Intelligent Transfer Service

Desktop Windows Manager Session Manager

Function Discovery Resource Publication

HomeGroup listener

HomeGroup provider

Offline Files

Security Center


System Restore

Windows Defender

Windows Media Player Sharing Service


Group Policies applied to Windows 7 VM – Computer

Error Reporting: Administrative Templates – Windows Components – Windows Error Reporting Disable Windows Error Reporting: Enabled

Windows Update: Administrative Templates – Windows Components – Windows Updates Configure Automatic Updates: Disabled

System Restore: Administrative templates – System – System Restore Turn off System Restore: Enabled


Group Policies applied to Windows 7 VM – Users

Screensaver :Administrative Templates – Control Panel – Personalization

Enable screen saver: Enabled

Prevent changing screen saver: Enabled

Password protect screen saver: Enabled

Screen saver timeout: Enabled – 600 seconds

Force specific screen saver: Enabled – scrnsave.scr

Force folder redirection: Enabled (Include AppData, Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Favourites and Pictures and Music depending on how strict we want to be.)

Add following via registry preferences through a GPO

Force Offscreen Composition for Internet Explorer: [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main] “Force Offscreen Composition”=dword:00000001

Reduce Menu Show Delay: [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop] “MenuShowDelay”=”150”

Disable all Visual Effects:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VisualEffects] “VisualFXSetting”=dword:00000003

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics] “MinAnimate”=”0”

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced] “ListviewAlphaSelect”=dword:00000000 “TaskbarAnimations”=dword:00000000 “ListviewWatermark”=dword:00000000


[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop] “DragFullWindows”=”0” “FontSmoothing”=”0” “UserPreferencesMask”=binary:90,12,01,80 ,10,00,00,00


Citrix Profile Manager GPO – Version 4 and above

IMPORTANT: make sure the version of the ADM added to the GPO is exactly the same as the version of the installation that is in the image.

Profile Management – Enable Profile Management – Enabled

Profile Management – Processed groups: Enabled (add AD groups containing required users)

Profile Management – Process logons of local Administrators: Disabled

Profile Management – Path to Store: Enabled (specify path to store)

Profile Management – Active write back: Enabled

Profile Management – Profile Handling – Template profile: Enable (if we want to standardise user profiles)

Profile Management – Advanced settings – Process Internet cookies files on logoff: Enabled

Profile Management – Log Settings – Enable logging: Enabled

Profile Management – File System – Exclusion list – Directories



AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files


AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Live

AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Live Contacts

AppData\Local\Microsoft\Terminal Server Client




AppData\Local\Windows Live



AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Cache

AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Cached Theme Images

AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu




Profile Management – File System – Synchronization – folders to mirror: Enabled (AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Cookies)

Profile Management – Streamed user profile – Profile Streaming: Enabled


Changes applied directly to VM

Disable Large Send Offload :[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\BNNS\Parameters] “EnableOffload”=dword:00000000

Disable TCP/IP Offload :[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters]  “DisableTaskOffload”=dword:00000001

Increase Service Startup Timeout [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control] “ServicesPipeTimeout”=dword:0002bf20

Hide Hard Error Messages [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Windows] “ErrorMode”=dword:00000002

Disable CIFS Change Notifications :[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer] “NoRemoteRecursiveEvents”=dword:00000001

Disable Logon Screensaver :[HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop] “ScreenSaveActive”=”0”

Modify C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu to reflect a “tidy” start menu



If we are using a PVS in an environment ensure that the PVS optimizer is run at least once on image or at the end of each image update process just to be on the safe side.


One time changes

Disable Boot Animation: bcdedit /set bootux disabled

Remove unused Windows components : Windows Media Center, DVD Maker, Tablet Components

Page file : Minimum and maximum the same


Final actions to be performed at each image update process.

Disk Cleanup

Run defragmentation

Optimize Antivirus

Clear event logs

Run a windows updates (potential)

Rerun PVS optimizer if client is using a PVS



About CyberRuiz
Highly motivated with over 12 years experience on Citrix/VMWare/Microsoft/technologies. Exceptional communication skills and team player. CCIA – Citrix Certified Integration Architect. CCEA – Citrix Certified Enterprise Administrator. VCP – VMWare Certified Professional in ESX 2.x, VI3, VI4 MCSE – Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer

12 Responses to XenDesktop Windows 7 Optimization and GPO’s Settings

  1. Javier says:

    This great! Thank you for the post!

  2. vps says:

    This post is great. I realy like it

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