Jun 272013


I’ve been using PNAgent to create Desktop/Start Menu shortcuts for years. I’ve always thought it was a good method to give users only what icons they have access to launch. With the new Group Policy Preferences that have come out with Server 2008, we now have another option. I find that GPP based shortcuts are more stable than PNAgent based shortcuts as they do not rely on XML to be functioning for users to launch applications. Keep in mind however, for this method to work you will need to have the applications actually installed on the XenApp servers themselves.

|Atum| on CitrixIRC started with a simple little script that was able to take some information and convert it to XML to import into a GPP. I gave this information to one of our developers, losethisurl, in CitrixIRC to enhance it. Below will be the scripts and steps to convert PNA based shortcuts to GPP based shortcuts.

The first thing we want to do is check your execution policy to make sure its set to something that will allow this script to run. In my test environment it’s currently set to RemoteSigned.

The first script is called Get-CitrixAppList.ps1. This basically runs a Get-XAApplicationReport and parses the information out in a format that we can use to import into another script. We run this from one of your XenApp Servers. The script is smart enough to load the Citrix snap ins if they are not already loaded. You need to use OutputFileName to specify a filename and optionally you can use OutputFilePath to copy it somewhere. Otherwise it will just save in the current directory.

Notice how XAApplications.csv is now in the folder. Let’s take a look at what’s in there.

So, let’s take this file and convert it to some XML for our GPP. Copy this to your AD controller, or any box that has the Quest AD PowerShell command templates. You can download those here. Now we can use the script Convert-CitrixAppCSVtoGPPShortcutsXML.ps1 file. All we need to do here is run the script and point it to the CSV file.

Notice this creates an Out.xml file. Let’s take a look. If you are familiar with GPP XML files, this should look pretty familiar to you.

So, what do we do with these? Well, that’s pretty simple. All we need to do is copy/paste these into the existing GPP shortcuts policy. I assume you should already have some kind of XenApp Users Policy. If so edit that one. If you do not have one, simply create one with a dummy shortcut. I’ll show you how. First, create a GPO object (or edit an existing). Go to User Configurations/Preferences/Windows Settings/Shortcuts. Right-Click and create a new shortcut.

Click Ok and close the window. Next, go to the “Details” tab on the GPO object and note the Unique ID.

Browse to \\fqdn\SYSVOL\fqdn\policies\<Unique ID>\User\Preferences\Shortcuts\ and edit Shortcuts.xml

You should already see some crap in there for where you created a shortcut earlier. Remove everything right of the blue line.

It should then look like this.

Now copy/paste your Out.xml and paste it on the blank line above </Shortcuts>.

Save the file then close it. Now go back into your GPO and look at the Shortcuts GPP section.

Excellent! Now we have GPP based shortcuts. You may need to go in there and delete things you don’t want, such as “Full Desktop 6” in this example. You can also adjust their locations and item-level-targeting as needed. By default the script will already use item level targeting based on the user group that was assigned to the application in AppCenter (or DSC).

So now that this is populated you don’t want to have duplicate icons published from PNA and GPP.  Make SURE that you have the shortcuts delete on logoff inside of the services site before you start this whole thing.


I also have a script that will disable all of the applications in the farm that you are publishing. Keep in mind to go back and re-enable any applications that aren’t locally installed on the XenApp server. So, let’s go back to the XenApp server and take a look at the Console.

All you need to do is run Disable-AllPublishedApps.ps1 from the XenApp server.  This will disable all apps, and remove “Show on Desktop” and “Show on Start Menu”.

Take a look at the console now. Notice that it excludes any published desktop. That’s a feature. J

That’s about it. This is a real time saver, especially if you have 50 or so applications created through PNA.

Feel free to look at the scripts below and jump in CitrixIRC to talk about it! You can join the conversation at http://join.citrixirc.com. If you already have an IRC client you can simply join #Citrix on the Freenode IRC network.




  One Response to “Migrating from Online Plug-in (PNA) shortcuts to Group Policy Preference (GPP) shortcuts”

  1. Surprisingly amazing way of writing. Nice description of every step. Thanks for sharing the systematic procedure of Migrating from Online Plug-in shortcuts to Group Policy Preference shortcuts.

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