Publishing Citrix Applications to the User's Desktop in XenApp 7.5 with Receiver 4.x

By Chaim Landau
Posted in Infrastructure
On May 14, 2014

With the release of Citrix Receiver 4.x, Citrix has done away with the Program Neighborhood Agent (PNAgent), and with it, the ability to automate the creation of shortcuts to published applications on the user’s desktop. A customer recently asked me for a solution to this problem and I was able to get around it using the method below.

When using Receiver 4.x, users are able to add published applications as favorites. When a user adds an application as a favorite, a Citrix-compiled .exe gets created and placed under %AppData%\Roaming\Citrix\SelfService\PublishedApp.exe. Users are then able to connect to their published applications through those .exe files. That being the case, all an admin has to do is ensure the application gets added as a favorite so the .exe gets created, and then create a shortcut to the .exe on the user’s desktop. To automate this process, I used the keyword auto when publishing the application, added the Receiver to the Startup folder, and then used a GPO with targeting to place the shortcut on the desktop.

The step-by-step process is as follows:

  • Publish application using KEYWORDS:Auto.
  • Add desktop shortcuts using group policy preferences.
  • Place the Receiver under the user or machine Startup folder, or through the HKLM or HKCU Run key.

Note: to launch the Receiver in the background so it’s less intrusive to the user, use the following command: “"C:\Program Files (x86)\Citrix\SelfServicePlugin\SelfService.exe –logon –poll”.

When publishing the application, make sure to add KEYWORDS:Auto in the Description and keywords field. This will ensure the application gets automatically added to the user’s favorites within the Receiver.


Using a GPO, under the Shortcut Preferences, add a shortcut to the .exe the receiver created. The .exe will have the icon the application was published with, so adding the .exe path under Icon file path will give the shortcut on the desktop the same icon. Keep in mind, %AppData% won’t work when using a GPO, so C:\Users\%UserName% can be used instead.


If you want the shortcut to only be created for specific users or groups, use the Item-level targeting feature on the Common tab as shown below.


The one caveat to this process is that the .exe won’t be generated the first time a user logs on, as the .exe files are only created once the receiver has been launched and the application added as a favorite.

Disclaimer: I've only tested this with XenApp 7.5, StoreFront 2.x, and Receiver 4.1.