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Outlook 2013 toast notification not working on Windows Server 2019 and Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 2203 CU2


Marvin Menz

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Hello everyone,
In our Windows Server 2019 environment based on Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 2203 CU2 and Citrix Profile Management via Citrix WEM, we had the problem that Outlook 2013 could no longer generate toast notifications in the action center.

 

This means that no notification appeared for incoming mails, which are normally displayed in the action center.

 

After many analyzes I finally found a solution and I want to share it with you here.

 

First of all, the following folder exclusion must be created in Citrix Profile Management:

 

AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\ActionCenterCache

 

This cache folder is usually created automatically as soon as a message appears in the action center for the first time.

 

To ensure that referenced entries are not written to the citrix profile, the exclusion mentioned above should be set for this reason.

 

So that Outlook 2013 can now transfer toast notifications to the action center, the application must be created in Citrix WEM as follows, even if it doesn't seem to make much sense at this point:

 

To begin with, the "Microsoft Office 2013" folder must be created under "Actions -> Applications -> Start Menu View" under "Start Menu -> Programs". This then reflects the original structure of the start menu under "ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs". Finally, all other applications of the Microsoft Office 2013 suite can also be stored here.

 

It is getting interesting now...

 

The application must be created as follows so that the toast notifications can be triggered:

 

Name: Outlook 2013
Application Type: Installed application
Command Line: C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Microsoft Office 2013\Outlook 2013.lnk

Working Directory: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office15

Start Menu Integration: Start Menu\Programs\Microsoft Office 2013

 

Snag_174b12.thumb.png.7c6d07ac1e6cc0c3484b8d4111d3c393.png

 

Afterwards the Outlook 2013 toast notifications should work again. ?

 

It seems like a bug between Server 2019 and Citrix Profile Management.

 

It was noticeable that the Outlook toast notifications work automatically as soon as the "Hide common programs" option under "Environmental settings" is not set in WEM.

 

When I deactivated this option in our environment, I saw that only the Outlook application appeared twice in the "Microsoft Office 2013" start menu folder. One start menu shortcut pointed directly to the user's home profile, the other pointed directly to the local path "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Microsoft Office 2013".

 

Apparently it is problematic for Server 2019 if this application is also stored in the start menu by Citrix WEM.

 

Outlook is a special feature here: Applications that use toast notifications must have a correct link under "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs".

 

Also see the following Microsoft article: https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook/troubleshoot/user-interface/no-desktop-alerts-(toast-notifications)-if-missing-start-menu-shortcut

 

Since Citrix WEM should also create such a shortcut in the Start menu in our environment (because we want to actively hide common programs and not present the user an application for which he has no authorization), there were probably problems identifying the correct Outlook start menu entry.

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Marvin, thank you for an extremely detailed and helpful post.  We ran into a similar issue with Outlook 2016 installed on Windows Server 2019 VDAs.  We modified the WEM application to point to the corresponding .LNK file and the new mail notifications are now appearing:

 

Command Line:
C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Outlook 2016.lnk

 

Working Directory:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office16

 

Start Menu Integration:

Start Menu\Programs

In our testing, it did not matter if WEM created the Start Menu item at the base "Programs" location or another sub-folder.  It just needed to exist in the structure so the notification process could find it.  I believe the root of the issue is tied to a missing special tag mentioned in this article:

 

https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/topic/no-desktop-alerts-toast-notifications-when-outlook-is-deployed-by-using-the-oct-in-windows-10-37d9dd25-6377-6147-84df-157f47d6789e

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