The Streaming Client installer goes out of its way to prevent installation on the “home” editions of Windows XP and Vista. Technically, the streaming client does not really care about which edition of the operating system it is; its just a test coverage statement.  This post describes how to convince the streaming client to install on the “home” editions and has some fun debating the dev-test checks and balances that exist in all large software organizations.

Consider this scenario

  • Streaming client was written without any particular dependence on “Professional” version of the operating system
  • Streaming client installer was written to prevent installation on non-professional versions (meeting requirements).
  • Customer feedback during XenApp 5.0 / Streaming 1.2 Beta described this restriction as undesirable. 
  • Now – You want to fix it….

The Streaming Client supports many platforms.  In streaming client 1.2, we dropped Windows 2000 Professional, but it still supports a large list including

  • XP Professional
  • Vista Professional
  • Windows 2003 Server
  • Windows 2008 Server 
  • XP Professional 64-bit
  • Vista Professional 64-bit
  • Windows 2003 Server 64-bit
  • Windows 2008 Server 64-bit

The above list may not be the correct list, but stick with me on the concept.  That’s 8 platforms that the test team has to “certify”.  Add in XP and Vista “home” and you have 2 more.  If it takes N days to decide that an operating system version definately works, then that’s 2 * N more work to do and this has to be repeated numerous times throughout a development cycle.

Back to the “bug” - Streaming Client refuses to install on “XP Home”.

Development point of view: The Streaming Client doesn’t care about home vs. professional.  It will work.

Test point of view: I haven’t SEEN IT WORK – therefore, it doesn’t work.

The solution taken for Streaming Client 1.2 was to publish an installation transform which would FORCE the streaming client to install even if it doesn’t like what it sees with regard to the operating system version at installation.  This transform was officially included on the XenApp 5.0 installation media, allowing the “home” editions to remain officially unsupported, yet letting them un-officially really work.

The Citrix Support team has a knowledge base article written on this: ctx118086

What it comes down to is

1) You need the installation transform.  It is on the XenApp 5.0 installation media (DVD) in the “Support\AppStreaming ” folder.
2) You need to tell the installer to use the transform.  XenAppStreaming.exe is the streaming client installer.
XenAppStreaming.exe /C:”setup TRANSFORMS=<LocationOfTransform>”

There’s one more thing.  The KB references how to do this using the MSI installer.  You’ll notice that there is no MSI installer for the streaming client included on the installation media.  I don’t recall the reason, but we removed it and I’m sure it was a good reason.  The EXE version extracts the MSI and runs it.  The point: the KB references two methods to run the transform – use the one for the EXE installer.

I extend my thanks to our CEO, Mark Templeton for purchasing a machine with XP Home pre-loaded and expecting to be able to stream to it.  This motivating me to “spread the knowledge” so other folks might work around the same thing without great headaches.   We will do well to remove the “home” limitation in future releases.

A question to solict comments: If we remove the installation check for “home”, from a customer point of view, is it necessary to actually test “home”?  Notice that this means that we assume “home” will work given that “professional” does, and let conflicting views arrive during beta feedback.  I note that we already do this for “Media Center” and “Ultimate” editions.

Joe Nord

Product Architect – Application Streaming

Citrix Systems, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA