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Workspace 1810 Favorites are duplicated in the start menu


Michael Borek

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Hello,

 

Since some Months we got the issue, that every Favorite in the Workspace App has created multiple not working copies of shortcuts in the start menu.

 

They look like:

 

Windows 7

Windows 7 (1)

Windows 7 (2)

 

When I remove my favorites, this happens:

 

Windows 7

Windows 7 (2)

 

Nothing happens when I click on these shortcuts. I can't remove them either. 

 

Any idea what could cause that?

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Hi Michael,

While this thread is reasonably stale I can't see any others on the same topic, so it seems the appropriate place to address this issue.
 

WorkingShortcutBlackbar.thumb.png.c6e64e5076cd6b5f6a1feb228d261f8c.png


My organisation was seeing what appears to be the same problem - a favorited application in Citrix Workspace producing duplicate, nonworking shortcuts in the Start Menu ( %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\CitrixApplications), recognisable from the default "blank page" icon. (However, there was not an issue with deleting the shortcuts.) On examination, the nonworking shortcuts were malformed; a working shortcut for a different app had properties like:

Target: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Citrix\ICA Client\SelfServicePlugin\SelfService.exe" -launch -reg "Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\pnagent-... $..." -startmenuShortcut
Start In: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Citrix\ICA Client\SelfServicePlugin"
Icon: %APPDATA%\Citrix\SelfService\Icons\..._20211120042147.ico
Comment: <blank>

 

Whereas the broken shortcut has properties:

Target: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Citrix\ICA Client\SelfServicePlugin\SelfService.exe" are\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\pnagent-... $..." -startmenuShortcutcC:\U
Start In: "fServicePlugin\SelfService.exe:C:\Program Files (x86)\Citrix\ICA Client\SelfServicePlugin�-launch -reg "Soft"
Icon: "ers\<User>\AppData\Roaming\Citrix\SelfServi...\..._20211120033200.ico"
Comment: <a long description, interrupted at 259 characters>


The loop seemed to be this: Citrix Self Service would attempt to set up new, correct shortcuts to currently Favorited apps, note that there are no well-formed shortcuts to it in the Start Menu CitrixApplications, and so try to create a new one - and repeat this every hour.

I won't go too far into details but by examining the shortcut .lnk file binary, it turns out that the "Comment" field was too long -  it was set to 265 characters, and Windows was expecting it to be 259 characters or under. The excess characters were 'overflowing' the Comment field and then being treated as the field length for the subsequent field, because the bytes representing e.g. a capital H are equivalent to the number 72 and so forth. This is why the shortcut was random 'sections' of the shortcut data, and you can see e.g. "Start In" ends with 'Soft' and then the 'Target' argument starts with 'are..', clearly part of the word 'Software' cut into pieces.

This was directly verifiable by hex-editing the shortcut to delete the excess characters and change the comment field length bytes immediately preceding this from 265 (0x09 0x01 in little-endian hexadecimal) to 259 (0x03 0x01) - doing so transformed the broken shortcuts into working shortcuts.

Having verified this, we asked the Citrix administrators to shorten the app description, and it started created good shortcuts again after syncing with the server - you can see from the screenshot, it created a malformed one at 8:39am and then a good one at 8:42am after it had updated its settings.

Unfortunately I can't point to the exact field in the server-side virtual desktop configuration that needs to be updated - there seem to be several, as the Citrix Workspace for the description is still the full-length 265 character description, but the Comment/Description/Tooltip field is now set to an alternate description about 20 characters shorter, and there's now no issue.

Interestingly, this seems to be strictly speaking a problem with the Windows COM APIs rather than Citrix per se  -  the .lnk file standard seems to guarantee 'TOOLTIPSIZE' length fields, 1024 characters, but in practice shortcut comments seem to be limited to 259 characters. (The 259 limit is easily verifiable in the Properties interface on manually-created shortcuts, just try typing a comment until it can't be filled any further and then copy the result somewhere you can perform a letter count.) Presumably this issue is rare to come up because Shortcut Comments/Descriptions/Tooltips aren't often set to overlong values, or maybe the issue is patched in a version of Citrix other than what my organisation is running.

Anyway, it was some effort to get to the bottom of this problem so hopefully the above will shed some light for others. It seems likely that any similar symptoms stem from the same root cause, i.e. Shortcut field overflow, and while it's plausible that other fields might be responsible, Target / Start In / Icon are all autogenerated values while Comment is user-provided, so the most likely to be the culprit.

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So, the very short version, for those not interested in the details:


Duplicate broken shortcuts in the Start Menu, created automatically by Citrix Workspace for Favorited apps, were in my case the symptom of an overlong Description or Tooltip set for the application on the server side.
Cutting down the description to under 259 characters resolved the problem (although the excess shortcuts needed to be manually deleted, these are located at  "%APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\CitrixApplications")

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