Installing and Configuring Citrix XenApp 7.5 and publishing Desktops and Applications

On March 26, 2014, Citrix puts XenApp back on the market with the release of Citrix XenApp 7.5. This version of XenApp does not use the Independent Management Architecture (IMA) anymore like in previous versions but use the same FlexCast Management Architecture that XenDesktop use. What’s also new is in XenApp 7.5 is Cloud deployments, Full AppDNA support, Additional virtualization resource support, like VMWare vSphere 5.5, and the support for Web Interface 5.4 is back (XenDesktop 7.x didn’t support the Web Interface).

The installation of XenApp 7.5 and the XenDesktop 7.5 are almost the same. In this blog I show you the step-by-step instructions how to install XenApp 7.5, including the Delivery Controller, the Virtual Delivery Agent on a Windows 2012 R2 system, creating a Site, a Machine Catalog and the Delivery group to publish a shared Desktop and Applications.

I will use my current Citrix License Server, Citrix StoreFront Server and my Microsoft SQL Server within my environment.

XenApp 7.5 Preparations

For Citrix XenApp 7.5 you need to take the following preparations within your environment;

  • Citrix License Server 11.11.1 or higher with the required licenses installed
  • A “Master” machine for use with PVS or MCS, alternatively you can install the server(s) manually
  • A Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 SP2 or higher installed, alternatively you can install SQL Express during the XenApp installation
  • Citrix StoreFront or Webinterface server for the provision of the Desktops and/or Applications installed
  • Created security groups to assign desktops and applications to users

XenApp 7.5 Prerequisites

Citrix XenApp 7.5 Delivery Controller;

  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 (only when installing on Server 2008 R2)
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5
  • Windows PowerShell 2.0 (for Server 2008 R2) or Windows PowerShell 3.0 (for Server 2012)
  • Visual C++ 2005
  • Visual C++ 2008 SP1
  • Visual C++ 2010

Citrix XenApp 7.5 Studio;

  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 (only when installing on Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7)
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5
  • Microsoft Management Console 3.0
  • Windows PowerShell 2.0 (for Server 2008 R2 or Windows 7) or Windows PowerShell 3.0 (for Server 2012/2012 R2 or Windows 8 / 8.1)

Citrix XenApp 7.5 Director;

  • Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5
  • Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.0 and ASP.NET 2.0

Citrix XenApp 7.5 Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA) for Windows Desktop OS;

  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 (only when installing on Windows 7 SP1)
  •  Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0
  • Visual C++ 2010

Citrix XenApp 7.5 Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA) for Windows Server OS;

  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 (only when installing on Server 2008 R2)
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5.1
  • Visual C++ 2005
  • Visual C++ 2008
  • Visual C++ 2010

Installing Citrix XenApp 7.5 Delivery Controller


Start the installation and click Start (next to XenApp)


Click on Delivery Controller


Select I have read, understand, and accept the terms of the license agreement and click Next


I have already installed StoreFront and the License Server on a separate server so I select only the Delivery Controller, the Studio and the Director. Click Next


I have Microsoft SQL Server 2012 already up and running in my environment so I select only Windows Remote Assistance. Click Next.


Click Next


Click Install


Select Launch Studio and click Finish


Click on Deliver applications and desktops to your users


Select A fully configured, production-ready Site, enter a Site name and click Next


Enter the database server and a database name. If the database not exits it will create automatically. Click Test connection


Click OK


Click Close


Click Next


Enter your Citrix License server and click Connect


Select the correct license and click Next


I use Citrix XenServer in my environment. Fill in the requested information of you hypervisor and click Next


Select  the network you want to use and click Next


Select the storage you want to use and click Next 


Click Next


Click Finish

Installing the Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA) on a Windows 2012 R2 system

Before we continue with the configuration of the delivery controller, lets first install the VDA Agent on a separate Windows 2012 R2 server so that we can use it later to add it to the delivery group.


Start the XenApp / XenDesktop setup and click on Virtual Delivery Agent for Windows Server OS


For now I will not use MCS or PVS so I select Enable connections to a server machine and click Next


Optionally you can install the Citrix Reveiver, click Next


Fill in the XenApp Delivery Controller FQDN installed in previous steps and click Test connection


Click Add


Click Next


Click Next


Click Next


Click Install


The Windows features like Microsoft Remote Desktop Session Host and the Microsoft Desktop Experience are now installing.


Click Close to reboot the machine


After the reboot the setup continues. Click Finish

Creating the Machine Catalog and the Delivery group


Go back the the Delivery Controller console (Citrix Studio) and click on Set up machines for desktops and applications or remote PC access


Click Next


Select Windows Server OS and click Next


Select what is applicable and click Next


Click Add VMs (If not using MCS or PVS)


Add the machine you installed the Agent on in previous steps and click Next


Fill in a Machine Catalog name and the Machine Catalog description for administrators (anything you like) and click Finish


Click on Set up Delivery Groups to assign desktops and applications to your users


Click Next


Select the catalog and choose the number of machines you want to add to this delivery group. Click Next


Choose what you want to publish within this delivery group. In this case I will select Desktops and Applications. Click Next


Add a Active Directory security group or users for this delivery group. In this case the “Shared Desktop” will be published automatic to users that are member of delivery group. Click Next


XenApp will automatic scan the Windows Server hard disk for applications and will display a list of it. To customize a application or to limit the visibility of the application for a specific security group select the application and click Application Properties


Optionally. edit the Identification of the application, click on Delivery


Optionally. edit the icon or the category of the application (Visible within Storefront), click on Location


Optionally. edit the Locations of the application or add a command line argument, click on Limit Visibility


If you want to publish the application only to a specific user group add the users or security group and click OK


Edit and select all the applications you want to publish and click Next


Optionally you can configure the Citrix Receiver (if installed on the server) with the correct StoreFront server. Click Next


Fill in the Delivery Group name, Display name and Delivery Group description for users (anything you like) and click Finish


You are now ready to add the XenApp 7.5 delivery controller to your Citrix StoreFront store.

Logon to StoreFront to see the published desktop and application(s).


The Shared Desktop from XenApp 7.5.


The published app Adobe Reader XI within the Readers and Viewers catacory.


  • Excellent, thank you for sharing this tutorial, really useful for ” xenapp only people” . Never really worked with xendesktop before

  • Hey Robin,

    It was pretty awesome information.. I will try today in my lab.

    Vincent Mathews

  • Thanks for the Tutorial:

    This was again Marketing game from Citrix. I can not see one single difference from XenDesktop 7.1 in These steps….I don’t want to upgrade just because of upgrading the number 1 to 5. functionality and the Management are exactly the same. It’s not worth upgrading. Thanks again for the tutorial

  • It’s same with XenDesktop. I understood that it can support with Web Interface 5.4. In case if you do not want to install Storefront.

  • Correct me if I am wrong, but being a XenApp 6 user, MCS and PVS were not part of the XenApp product family in the past? I am still somewhat confused about why I need those in XenApp 7.5. Is it a method to create more servers from which I publish apps when the load gets too high for one server? Or a way to provide desktops in XenApp? If I use VMware ESXi as a hypervisor, can I still use MCS/PVS? I really hope Citrix includes some basics about MCS and PVS to their XenApp-training.

    • MCS is part of XenDeskop 5 and higher, PVS has always been a separate Citrix product. In a nutshell; With MCS you can duplicate a master disk (machine) many times (snapshoting), with PVS you built a master vDisk and let one or more servers boot from it so they are all equal.

  • Thanks for sharing. It’s good to see the “other” version instead of PVS or MCS.

    Question though: Since XenApp 7.5 requires RDS licensing on the Microsoft realm, how did you configure your RDS licensing to point to another server without installing a broker?

    • In my environment I had already installed a RDS license server and configured the XenApp 7.5 servers with a policy pointing to the RDS License server.

  • if we want to publish only app (OpenOffice) can we do without desktop published?

    • Yes, when you create your deployment group select “Applications” and not “Desktop and Applications”

  • How does one publish apps to a specific server(s) in a delivery group of say, 6 servers. In the outdated Presentation Server 4.5 you could assign an app to a server or server to app (whichever). Is this no longer possible in 7.x. If so, how does one accomplish this?

      • I don’t think a delivery group is needed for that. For the functionality that Mike is talking about from the post on April 16th, you would need a new machine catalog.

  • Thanks for the guide! I installed XA 7.5 in my lab today. My production farm is XA 5 on Server 2003 and 2008. I started an XA 6.5 lab which never made it to production due to other projects taking priority. After reading your guide, I decided to bypass 6.5 and go straight to 7.5. Unfortunately 7.5 won’t make it to production on my network until Citrix releases the Citrix Connector for SCCM 2012R2. My plans depend on App-V for a few of my applications and I don’t have a full fledged App-V environment, only SCCM.

  • Is there any other way to be able to point the XenApp Servers to RDS License Server without through GPO, i.e through Registry.

    I have all my Windows Server in the same OU and do not want to create an OU just for 2-3 XenApp Servers.

  • Excellent and best guide on XA7.5. This really help me a lot, you saved my day. Thank you so much.

  • Thanks for the great tutorial.
    If I have valid Subscription Advantage then can I go to XenApp 7.5 from XenApp 6.5 now ?

  • Hi Robin,

    Is their a way to upgrade from Xenapp 6.5 to Xenapp 7.5?
    or we should do a new installation of Xenapp 7.5?

  • Good one robin.

    I need one more help where i can get trial version on xen 7.5.

  • Robin, for some reason my applications aren’t showing up after logging into storefront. It says, “There are not desktop or applications at this time.” In my delivery group I only chose applications. Please advise…thanks in advance.

    • Hi Sean, Make sure you configured a security group within your assignment and that you are member of it.

      • i added only myself in the group. my licenses are only xendesktop and not xenapp, does that matter in terms what i’m allowed to publish?

        in storefront, i also only picked xendesktop but still no luck. 🙁

  • Where do 2-Factor Authentication fits in? Currently, I use 6.5, Web Interface and Secure Gateway, with RSA enabled. I came to your site after entering “RSA” but there was no mention here. Though, I did find your tutorial very informative.

  • hello,

    Nice guide you put together!

    I noticed that you reused your existing Licence server, in my setup i installed the license server on a windows server 2012 r2 standard edition, but the license daemon fails to start even though the installation completes successfully.

    Have you tested Citrix Licensing 11.11.1 with Windows server 2012 R2 ?

  • Hi Robin,

    Thanks for the Information.It really helped me a lot.I like the way you explain every concept.
    Thanks Man!!

  • I am not able to connect my citrix receiver with the Citrix Server 7.5. Getting error – Cannot complete your request…
    Pls provide me troubleshooting instructions to connect citrix receiver to server

About Robin Hobo

I am a Technology Specialist working for Microsoft with focus on the Modern Workplace. I am specialized in Microsoft Intune, Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD), Windows 365, Windows 11 and Azure AD. Also interested in mental health, NLP and personal development.

For more information, see the About Me page or my LinkedIn profile.

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