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Deployment Guide: Citrix Profile Management - OneDrive Container

  • Contributed By: Steve Beals Special Thanks To: Jian Song, Liang Yang


This document is intended for Citrix technical professionals, IT decision-makers, partners, and consultants who want to deploy Microsoft OneDrive Citrix Virtual Apps environment.  The content is relevant for both on-premises and public cloud architectures. The reader should understand the Citrix app, desktop virtualization offerings, and Microsoft OneDrive.

The document provides best practices for deploying Microsoft OneDrive in a Citrix Virtual Apps environment. The goal is to overcome the challenges of delivering OneDrive in a Citrix environment and provide an optimal user experience.

 Installing OneDrive in a Citrix virtual application environment, especially for multi-user, non-persistent scenarios, requires careful planning and configuration to ensure seamless user experiences.

 There are several challenges when deploying OneDrive Citrix Virtual Apps environment, including:

Solving these challenges requires careful planning when deploying Microsoft OneDrive. This deployment guide provides the reader with the recommended installation, configuration, and optimizations to resolve the challenges of deploying OneDrive in a Citrix Virtual Apps environment with the Citrix Profile Management OneDrive Container.

 Conceptual Architecture


Citrix Profile Management is a profile solution for Citrix Virtual Apps servers installed on each computer where user profiles must be managed. Citrix Profile Management addresses user profile deficiencies in environments where simultaneous domain logins by the same user introduce complexities and consistency issues to the profile and optimizes profiles efficiently and reliably. Citrix Profile Management is a crucial component of a well-optimized Citrix Virtual Apps environment. Please review the Citrix Profile Management Quick Start Guide for additional information on deploying the solution. Refer to Profile Management architecture for more details on the folder structure of the user store and the central location for Citrix user profiles.

Profile Container


The Citrix Profile Management Profile Container is a VHDX-based profile solution that allows you to store the profile folders of your choice or the entire user profile on a VHDX profile disk. A VHDX file is created per user on your profile storage share and mounted to the VDA session(s) when the users log on, resolving any issues with slow logons and improving the logon experience. Once the users have logged into their virtual application, their profile folders are available immediately.



Starting with Profile Management 2109, Profile Containers can store the entire user profile in the VHDX profile disk.


Microsoft OneDrive Container


The Citrix Profile Management OneDrive container is a VHDX-based folder roaming solution. Profile Management creates a VHDX file per user on a file share and stores the users’ OneDrive folders into the VHDX files. The VHDX files are attached when users log on and detached when users log off. 

 With Citrix Profile Management OneDrive Containers, end-user OneDrive folders roam with users to allow access to the same OneDrive folders on any computer or virtual session. These containers are VHDX-based and are created per user within a file share. They are then mounted to the virtual session when users log on and detached when users log off. The VHDX files for the OneDrive container are stored on the same storage server as the Citrix Profile Management user store.

 The VHDX files for Citrix Profile Management, such as the OneDrive container and profile container, can be stored in different locations in a hybrid solution with a container plus a file-based profile.

 Roaming and simultaneous access from multiple sessions

 In many cases, end users roam between multiple endpoints in these settings, requiring their applications, files, and data to roam with them. This is seen a lot in healthcare settings that deliver Citrix Virtual Applications. Additionally, these users may have multiple applications open from different sessions on different hosts, all requiring access to the same storage repository.




Citrix Profile Management is designed to resolve the roaming and multiple-session scenario. The above diagram depicts a scenario where the user has launched multiple virtual applications from multiple Citrix Virtual Delivery Agents (VDAs). The user then logs out of two applications and moves to a second device, where they log onto the open application session. Once they log off from the remaining application setting, Citrix Profile Management writes back on the specific settings that were changed during the session while letting other unchanged settings remain untouched.

OneDrive Container for roaming and multiple sessions

Introducing OneDrive into an environment where roaming or multiple-session Citrix Virtual Apps environments are common also brings many challenges. Challenges include the OneDrive sync app needing to be supported when using file-based profile roaming and previously requiring FSLogix to be supported. However, Citrix Profile Management v2311 and the Citrix OneDrive Container resolve these challenges and allow users to roam and open multiple virtual application sessions when using OneDrive.



Many organizations require LTSR infrastructure and Virtual Delivery Agents in their environments. If so, Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops LTSR v2402 includes the Citrix Profile Management OneDrive Container. Alternatively, customers could remain on LTSR v2203 for VDAs and use newer Citrix Profile Management versions, including the OneDrive Container.

OneDrive Install Recommendations

Installing OneDrive within a Citrix Virtual Apps environment takes careful consideration. The typical OneDrive installation is installed into each user's profile, which in a Citrix Virtual Apps non-persistent environment will cause issues. OneDrive provides a per-machine install option for this type of environment, which installs OneDrive so that each profile logged in will use the same OneDrive.exe binary. This is recommended when installing OneDrive into a Citrix Virtual Apps non-persistent environment. The following recommendations should be considered when deploying OneDrive in a Citrix Virtual Apps environment.

  1. Ensure that the following prerequisites and requirements for OneDrive and Citrix are met.

a.       Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 2311 or later, or Citrix DaaS for the Citrix management plane.

b.       Windows Server 2019 and above for the VDA operating system.

c.       Citrix Profile Management 2311 or later

e.       SMB File share for the VHDX containers

Shellbridge is enabled by default in Citrix VDA 2212 and later versions. If using Citrix VDA 2203, Shellbridge must be enabled manually by adding the following Registry key:

'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Citrix\Citrix Virtual Desktop Agent`

'Name: Shellbridge`


`Value: 1`

  1. Install OneDrive once at the machine level, making it available to all users who access the virtual environment. This method can save storage space but may result in a less personalized experience. For more information on deploying OneDrive per machine level, refer to Microsoft’s OneDrive per-machine installation.
  2. OneDrive must be added to the following registry location: HKLM\software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion.  The following command will create the key required for the per-machine installation to run correctly.

`REG ADD HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run /v OneDrive /t REG_SZ /d "\"C:\Program Files\Microsoft OneDrive\OneDrive.exe\" /background"`

  1. Install the OneDrive sync client on the base image of your virtual machines or in the shared application layer.
    1. Configure OneDrive settings to match your deployment strategy (shared).
  2. Create a Group Policy Object (GPO) settings for the following:
    1. OneDrive Files On-Demand: This setting prevents files from being downloaded into a user's local cache until the user accesses them.
    2. Allow Storage Sense: This setting will remove local copies of files that have not been accessed for a defined period and help control the size of the OneDrive cache.

Citrix Profile Management Recommended Configuration with OneDrive

Integrating Citrix Profile Management with OneDrive requires careful planning and consideration, as several configurations are necessary to ensure optimal performance and user experience. With the Citrix Profile Management OneDrive container enabled in CPM 2311, the OneDrive container can be accessed via concurrent sessions by default. Citrix Profile Management file-based users must allow the OneDrive container to roam the OneDrive data. This supports simultaneous access to OneDrive. OneDrive data can be roamed for full container users with the profile container, but it does not support concurrent access to the OneDrive data. Full container users must specifically enable OneDrive container for OneDrive data concurrent access.

  1. Enable Citrix Profile Management.


  1. Enable and set the path to the Profile Management User Store.


  1. When using Citrix Profile Management and OneDrive, administrators need to Enable the OneDrive Container so that Citrix Profile Management creates a VHDX file per user on a file share and stores the users’ OneDrive folders into the VHDX files. The VHDX files are attached when users log on and detached when users log off.


  1. Enable the OneDrive container—list of OneDrive folders policy and add your OneDrive folders as a path relative to the user profile, then click Save.


  1. It is recommended that VHDX disks be automatically reattached in sessions be enabled when deploying containers in the Citrix Profile Management solution (profile container, OneDrive container, Outlook container).


  1. Once the Citrix Profile Management OneDrive container is enabled and users are signed into OneDrive, no other sign-in to OneDrive is required if users sign in to a new workstation and launch a new one or connect to a disconnected session. Any files stored In OneDrive will also be available to them immediately as they are not downloaded from the cloud but rather synced between the virtual app server they are connected to and the local area network (LAN). Lastly, offline access is still available for kiosks that do not have internet access to their files.

Storage, Scale, and Sync Considerations

Each OneDrive user is granted 1 TB of storage space for their personal library. Synchronizing the user’s entire library across multiple devices consumes significant storage. Citrix Profile Management VHDX containers are created in the user store per user, ensuring a single copy of the OneDrive VHDX or profile container VHDX, regardless of the number of user sessions. The VHDX base disk and the difference disk are in the user store. No matter how large a user's OneDrive folder is, it won't consume the OS disk space in an MCS scenario or the write cache disk space in a PVS scenario. Additionally, the storage consumed on the VDAs is minimal as the OneDrive VHDX containers are remote-mounted, preventing the entire user library from copying across the network during the login process.

  •  If Citrix Profile Containers are used, the default storage size of the VHDX file is 50GB per user. However, if required, you can use the Default capacity of the VHD containers policy to set a smaller default for profile size.


  • Citrix Profile container VHDX files can auto-compact upon user logoff to save space for central or cloud storage locations.  Certain conditions must be met for the compaction to take effect.


  • Lastly, to help with scaling the environment, you can limit the ability for OneDrive to sync only when files are required by enabling the Use OneDrive Files On-Demand Group Policy setting. This setting allows OneDrive to download files when they are needed. Users accessing published applications throughout the day typically only require access to a few files within their OneDrive container. Enabling this setting ensures that the OneDrive sync client does not sync unneeded files to the container.


Tips and Optimizations

Optimizing the environment to make the OneDrive user experience consistent with a physical desktop is essential to healthcare customers. Several settings can be configured to adjust OneDrive settings to improve performance and reduce network traffic.


Deploying Microsoft OneDrive in a Citrix Virtual Apps environment to be used within healthcare settings comes with many challenges. Having the right strategy and careful planning and execution will allow healthcare organizations to deploy OneDrive successfully within a Citrix Virtual Apps environment and overcome the difficulties of roaming users, multiple sessions, and cloud synchronization of files. Optimizing the environment will provide a better overall end-user experience within the environment and applications.


 Citrix Profile Containers Deployment Guide





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