With XenDesktop 5 Express, you can create a virtual desktop (VDI) production environment for up to 10 users or an evaluation environment as a POC …for free! The XenDesktop Express download includes everything you need plus a tutorial video that walks you through the installation process. (You could also use XenDesktop with Microsoft Hyper-V or VMware vSphere as the virtualization layer, but we recommend the included XenServer 5.6).

Then when you’re comfortable with your XenDesktop environment on a LAN, you can try it out on a WAN for free with Citrix Access Gateway VPX 5.0.1 Express.

Here’s what you need… 

Product Download

Download XenDesktop 5 Express edition from: http://www.citrix.com/tryxendesktop

This download (filename: XD5_Express.zip) includes:

  • XenDesktop5.iso - XenDesktop Controller & Virtual Desktop Agent
  • XenServer 5.6.0-install-cd.iso - XenServer 5.6 virtualization infrastructure
  • XenCenter.ja.msi - Install for XenCenter Japanese language version
  • XenDesktop_Express_Edition_License.lic - 10 user XenDesktop license
  • XenDesktop5_Express_Edition_Tutorial.wmv - Step-by-step guidance for a XenDesktop setup


Included in the XenDesktop Express download zip:
(Note: Free license must be applied within 30 days. Once the license is applied, there’s no expiration date.)

  • XenDesktop 5 Express License file - Covers Controller, Virtual Desktops, and XenServer
  • XenServer License - License using XenDesktop Controller’s licensing feature (refer to tutorial video) 

(You’ll also need to provide the appropriate Microsoft licenses, as required.)

Sample Configuration

One or more servers capable of supporting the following:

  • Windows 2008 or Windows 2008 R2 servers

      -- Desktop controller, 2 GB quad core
      -- Optional server for other pieces (IIS SQL, Web Interface*, Active Directory, etc.)

      *Note: Web Interface could be included on the Desktop Controller instead.

  • Windows 7 virtual desktops (VDAs), at least 1GB and 1 core each VM


More documentation can be found here.

General Info

Phase 2: Access Gateway

Once you’re comfortable with your XenDesktop environment on a LAN, it’s time to try it out on a WAN …for free. Citrix Access Gateway VPX is a virtual machine based solution for remote access to your XenDesktop environment. Access Gateway VPX configured in “Express mode,” will allow a max of 5 users for 1 year. Here are links to the resources:

Hope you find this information helpful. If you’ve tried this yourself or there are other resources that you’ve found useful, please share!

Laura Whalen
Citrix Systems, Inc.
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