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XenApp and XenDesktop SDK

XenApp and XenDesktop provide an SDK based on a number of Microsoft Windows PowerShell version 3.0 snap-ins that allows you to perform the same tasks as you would with the Citrix Studio console, together with tasks you cannot do with Studio alone.

As from version 7.5,XenApp and XenDesktop share a unified architecture and management: the FlexCast Management Architecture. This means that XenApp provides many features previously only available in XenDesktop; elements of the SDK that relate to common features therefore apply equally to both XenApp and XenDesktop, even though the commands themselves refer only to XenDesktop.

Key differences between the XenDesktop 5 and XenDesktop 7 SDK

  • New high-level SDK — XenDesktop 7 provides a new high-level SDK that enables you to script and automate site creation and maintenance quickly and easily. The high-level SDK insulates you from much of the complexity of the low-level SDKs, such that you can create a new site simply by running two cmdlets.

  • New low-level SDKs — Individual low-level SDKs are provided for the new XenDesktop 7 services, including a dedicated and enhanced SDK for the Delegated Administration Service (DAS), which was previously part of the Broker SDK in XenDesktop 5. There are also SDKs for new features including the Monitor Service, Environment Test, and Configuration Logging.

  • Windows Server OS Machine catalogs and delivery groups — You can use the XenDesktop 7 SDK to deliver cost-effective applications and desktops hosted on server operating systems.

  • Desktop OS Machine applications — Desktop OS Machine applications have changed significantly at the SDK level. If you have existing scripts for running applications on Desktop OSs, you will have to update these scripts for XenDesktop 7 as there is little backwards compatibility.

  • Apply settings to machines in Delivery Groups — In XenDesktop 7, using configuration slots, you can apply settings to machines in a specific delivery group, rather than to all machines in a site. This enables you to configure, for a given delivery group, which settings apply to that group. A number of pre-defined configuration slots are provided that contain different types of settings, such as settings for StoreFront addresses for use with Receiver or App-V publishing server locations. You can use one collection of settings from a slot to affect only a particular delivery group, and a different collection of settings from the same slot to affect another delivery group. You can use names appropriate to your particular deployment; for example, "Sales Department policy."

  • Catalog types replaced — In XenDesktop 7, catalog types have been replaced by catalogs with individual properties. However, for backwards compatibility, you can still use existing scripts that employ catalog types, such as single image (pooled) and thin clone (dedicated) etc., but internally these are converted into sets of properties.


Backwards compatibility with XenDesktop 5 catalog types has been maintained where possible and practicable. However, when writing new scripts, do not use catalog types; instead, specify catalogs with individual properties.

  • Desktop object replaced — In XenDesktop 5, the Desktop object is one of the main types of SDK object used in Broker SDK scripts. The Desktop object describes both the machine and the session on the machine. In XenDesktop 7, this object is replaced by the Session object and the Machine object, both of which have been expanded to do the work of the Desktop object. However, for backwards compatibility, you can still use existing scripts that employ the Desktop object.


Backwards compatibility with XenDesktop 5 has been maintained where possible and practicable. However, when writing new scripts, do not use the Desktop object; instead, specify Session and Machine objects.

Differences in policy rules

There are differences between the SDK and the Studio console in terms of policy rules. Entitlement and assignment policy rules are independent entities in the SDK; in the console, these entities are not visible as they are seamlessly merged with the Delivery Group. Also, access policy rules are less restrictive in the SDK.

Use the SDK

The SDK comprises of a number of PowerShell snap-ins installed automatically by the installation wizard when you install the Controller or Studio components.

To access and run the cmdlets:

1.Start a shell in PowerShell 3.0.

To start a shell from the console, click Studio, select the PowerShell tab, and click on Launch PowerShell.

You must run the shell or script using an identity that has Citrix administration rights. Although members of the local administrators group on the Controller automatically have full administrative privileges to allow XenDesktop to be installed, Citrix recommends that for normal operation, you create Citrix administrators with the appropriate rights, rather than use the local administrators account. If you are running Windows Server 2008, you must run the shell or script as a Citrix administrator, and not as a member of the local administrators group.

2.To use SDK cmdlets within scripts, set the execution policy in PowerShell.

For more information about PowerShell execution policy, see your Microsoft documentation.

3.Add the snap-ins you require into the PowerShell environment using the Add -PSSnapin command in the Windows PowerShell console. V1 and V2 denote the version of the snap-in (XenDesktop 5 snap-ins are version 1; XenDesktop 7 snap-ins are version 2.). For example, type:

Add-PSSnapin Citrix.ADIdentity.Admin.V2

To import all the cmdlets, type:

Add-PSSnapin Citrix.*.Admin.V*

After importing, you have access to the cmdlets and their associated help.

For an example of a typical use case, see Get started with the SDK.


For a complete listing of all help text for the cmdlets, see PowerShell cmdlet help.

Group Policy SDK usage

The Citrix Group Policy SDK allows you to display and configure Group Policy settings and filters. It uses a PowerShell provider to create a virtual drive that corresponds to the machine and user settings and filters. The provider appears as an extension to New-PSDrive. To use the Group Policy SDK, either Studio or the XenApp and XenDesktop SDK must be installed.

Adding the Group Policy SDK

1.To add the Group Policy SDK, type:

Add-PSSnapin citrix.common.grouppolicy

2.To access help, type:

help New-PSDrive -path localgpo:/

Using the Group Policy SDK

1.To create a virtual drive and load it with settings, type:

New-PSDrive <Standard Parameters> \[-PSProvider\]
CitrixGroupPolicy *-Controller* <string>
**New-PSDrive <Standard Parameters> \[-PSProvider\]
CitrixGroupPolicy ***-Controller*** <string>**

where -Controller is the fully qualified domain name of a controller in the site you want to connect to and load settings from.