Connecting to the Network

Citrix at SLAC User Guide

Overview

Citrix XenApp is the preferred method for accessing SLAC's Windows environment remotely.  Citrix enables members of the SLAC user community to access a Windows desktop, or a variety of common Windows applications through a Web browser from any location with an internet connection.  With Citrix, SLAC users can access the Windows environment from a Mac or Linux computer.

The purpose of this document is to provide users the basic information they need to connect to and use the SLAC Citrix farm successfully. This document is also intended to set user expectations for the Citrix farm by outlining what is and is not supported within the Citrix environment, Citrix administrators, Application Maintainers, and the Service Desk.

Requirements

To access the SLAC Citrix farm, you must meet the following requirements:

Supported Operating Systems

  • Windows 10/11
  • Centos7 or Ubuntu
  • macOS

Supported Web Browsers

  • Microsoft Edge
  • Chrome
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Apple Safari

Citrix Client Installed

  • Your computer must have a supported Citrix client installed to access the Citrix farm. See "Installing and Configuring the Citrix Client".

Accounts

You must have both a SLAC Active Directory (Windows) account and a Citrix account to access the Citrix farm.

Use the following forms to request accounts.

Accessing the Citrix Farm

The following sections provide an overview of the steps involved in accessing the Citrix farm.

Installing and Configuring the Citrix Client

The Citrix client must be installed and properly configured to access the Citrix Farm.

Logging In to the Web Portal

To access Citrix through the Web Portal use this link https://citrix.slac.stanford.edu and you will see the following login window.

 

 

Enter your Active Directory (Windows) user name, password, read and check the Terms and Conditions, and click Log On to enter the Citrix Web Portal.

 

 

You will be prompted for DUO authentication.

 

 

Please select your method of DUO Authentication. 

If you are not already enrolled in SLAC's DUO Security two-step authentication system, please follow visit Two Step Authentication @ SLAC to enroll.

Once you login you will be taken to the Citrix StoreFront Apps Page

Many common Windows applications can be launched individually through Citrix by clicking on their icons.  If you will only be using one or two of these applications, you may find it easier to launch them directly from published applications than launching them from within a Windows Desktop.

 

 

Available Apps are:

  • Access  2016
  • Excel  2016
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Outlook 2016
  • Power Point 2016
  • Project 2016
  • Remote Desktop Connection
  • Skype for Business
  • Visio 2016
  • Word  2016

 

If you select the Desktop Icon at the top of the page, you will find available desktop(s) for you.  The Windows 2016 Desktop is the most common shared Desktop for SLAC Users.

 

 

 

Logging Off


When using a Windows Desktop, please log off when you are finished by selecting Sign Out from the Start menu, click User icon.  This will properly end your session and save any user profile data that may have changed.  If you close the Windows Desktop window instead of logging off, your session will be in a disconnected state and tie up farm resources until the session times out and is terminated automatically, which will also cause any unsaved files or profile data to be lost. 

 

Common and Licensed Applications

Several applications are available to Citrix users.  These include site licensed applications like Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Project, and Visio) freeware applications like Adobe Reader and WinSCP, and applications that are part of the Windows OS, like Notepad.

Some applications, like those in the Microsoft Office suite, can be launched individually.  Others are only available within the Windows Desktop.

If you need help with an application in Citrix, please contact the IT Service Desk

 

Working with Files in Citrix

Network Drives

  • The standard Windows network drives (K, V and W) are mapped automatically when you launch Windows Desktop in Citrix. 
  • If you belong to a department that has additional network drives, those will also be mapped automatically.
  • Citrix users are encouraged to save their files to the network drives, since these are backed up regularly.
  • If you need to map a drive to some other network share, instructions for doing so can be found.

Local Drives

Windows clients

  • Local drives on Windows clients are automatically mapped by Citrix.  

macOS clients

  • Local drives on Windows clients are automatically mapped by Citrix.

Saving Files

Citrix users are encouraged to save their files to the network drives, since these are backed up regularly.  

In most applications, you save files by selecting Save or Save As from the File menu.  When saving files, the default location to save them may not be the My Documents folder or a network drive, so users should always be mindful of where their files are being saved to.

How to Avoid Losing Files or Data

The following guidelines will help minimize the chances of losing files or other data when using Citrix:

  • Always save files to a network drive, the My Documents folder, or the desktop.  These locations are backed up regularly, unlike most local drives.
     
  • Save files you are working on frequently.  This will minimize the amount of work you might lose should your Citrix session be dropped for some reason.
     
  • Save files in all open applications before you end your Citrix session
  • Save files before leaving a Citrix session unattended. Your Citrix session could be dropped while you are away or terminated if you leave it idle for too long, resulting in lost data. 

Always log off from a Windows Desktop.  

Logging off will give you an opportunity to save any files you are working on that haven't been properly saved, and will also ensure that any changes made to your Citrix profile will be saved.  If your session freezes and you cannot properly log off, please contact the IT Service Desk for assistance.

 

Printing in Citrix

Locally Defined Printers

  • Any printers you have defined on your local system are automatically mapped to your Citrix session.  This includes printers directly connected to your local system and network printers you have defined on your local system. 
  • If you do not have any local printers defined, you can add a printer from within your Citrix session by connecting to one of the central printers on the central print server.   

Adding a Printer within a Citrix Session

Printing Help

  • If your local printers do not appear in your Citrix session, or you receive an error attempting to connect to a network printer on the print server from within your Citrix session, please contact the IT Service Desk

Best Practices

The following recommendations constitute best practices for using Citrix:

  • Always save files to a network drive, the My Documents folder, or the desktop
    • These locations are backed up regularly, unlike most local drives.
       
  • Save files you are working on frequently
    • This will minimize the amount of work you might lose should your Citrix session be dropped for some reason.
       
  • Save files in all open applications before you end your Citrix session
     
  • Save files before leaving a Citrix session unattended
    • Your Citrix session could be dropped while you are away or terminated if you leave it idle for too long, resulting in lost data.
       
  • Reconnect to disconnected sessions to continue working
    • If your session is dropped or you disconnect from your session, you can reconnect within 15 minutes without losing your session or data.
       
  • Always log off from a Windows Desktop
    • Logging off will give you an opportunity to save any files you are working on that haven't been properly saved, and will also ensure that any changes made to your Citrix profile will be saved. 
    • If your session freezes and you cannot properly log off, please contact the IT Service Desk for assistance.
       
  • Add printers on your system instead of from within a Citrix session
    • Any printers you have defined on your local system (both directly attached and network printers) are automatically mapped to your Citrix session. 
    • Support for adding a printer from within a Citrix session is limited to the printers on the central print server. 
  • Avoid customizing settings
    • Settings in Windows, Microsoft Office, and other applications may not carry over to future Citrix sessions, so avoid customizing settings whenever possible.
       
  • Don't forget about session timeouts
    • The timeout for disconnected sessions is 15 minutes. The timeout for idle sessions is 3 hours (180 minutes). Sessions that timeout will be terminated and any unsaved data will be lost. 

Supported Features

Desktop

  • This does not include any desktop icons or folders that are common to all Citrix users, such as My Computer or Recycle Bin.
     

My Documents

  • This includes any subfolders, such as My Pictures, and their contents as well.
     

Limitations of Citrix

Session Timeouts

Disconnected Sessions

  • There is a 15 minute timeout for disconnected sessions. 
  • Disconnected sessions occur when your network connection to Citrix is interrupted or if you are using a Windows Desktop and close the window instead of logging off.
  • If you reconnect to Citrix before the 15 minute timeout is reached, you will be able to resume your disconnected application or Windows Desktop.
  • If you do not or cannot reconnect to Citrix before the 15 minute timeout is reached, your session will be terminated and any unsaved data will be lost.

Idle Sessions

  • There is a 180 minute (3 hour) timeout for idle sessions.  Citrix sessions that are left idle for 180 minutes will be terminated and any unsaved data will be lost.

Restricted Access

Windows Settings and Features

  • In order to maintain the availability and stability of the Citrix farm, certain Windows features and settings are unavailable to users. 

Application Settings and Features

  • In order to maintain the availability and stability of the Citrix farm, certain application features and settings may be unavailable to users.
  • Additionally, applications that require a license are also not available to users who have not purchased a license.
  • Inquiries regarding application features or setting that are unavailable to users should be sent to the IT Service Desk.

No User Install

No User-Installed Applications or Drivers

  • In order to maintain the availability and stability of the Citrix farm, users cannot install applications or drivers on the Citrix farm.
  • Only Citrix Administrators can install or update drivers and applications on the Citrix farm.

Unsupported Features

ActiveX controls and Browser Plugins

  • Users cannot install applications on the Citrix farm, including ActiveX controls or web browser plugins.
     

Outlook .pst and .ost files

  • The use of Outlook Personal Folders files (.pst) and Offline Folders files (.ost) in Citrix is not supported.  If you choose to use these features anyway, .pst and .ost files should be saved to your network drive.
     

Adding printers from within a Citrix session other than the ones on the Central windows print server

  • Support for adding printers from within a Citrix session is limited to the printers on the Central print server.    

Quick Launch Icons

  • Quick Launch icons in one session may not be carried over in future Citrix sessions and are therefore unsupported.
     

Microsoft Office AutoRecover Data

  • Office AutoRecover data is lost when idle or disconnected sessions are terminated.  Users should save their work frequently instead of relying on AutoRecover.
     

Microsoft Office Settings

Persistence of Office Settings Across Sessions

  • Microsoft Office settings in one Citrix session may not be carried over in future Citrix sessions.  Because of this, users are discouraged from customizing Microsoft Office settings in Citrix.
     

Other Application Settings

Persistence of Application Settings Across Sessions

  • Application settings in one Citrix session may not carried over in future Citrix sessions.  Because of this, users are discouraged from customizing application settings in Citrix.
     

Files and Data Not Saved to Network Drives

Files and data not saved to a network drive cannot be recovered if lost or accidentally deleted.