icon_128x128Starting the New Year with a good news, the release of Receiver for Windows 4.4! This release is important for the customers, for number of reasons like smooth install-upgrade, improved connection robustness, hardware accelerated graphics performance and much more. Lets learn more about them below:

Smooth Install and upgrade

The customers care the most about being able to successfully install the new version of Receiver and upgrade it from the old version. This is an area of focus for Citrix Receiver. Over the last two decades, the Receiver has evolved from the online plugin to Receiver enterprise/standard to dazzle to project X1. All of them had some differences in architecture and the base technology. The customers stayed on the version of the Receiver they were most comfortable with. Starting with Receiver 4.2, Citrix made an effort of building the 4.x version a superset of all the previous Receivers so that the customers can stay current with the latest supported Receiver and at the same time get the benefits of the previous version.

This release enables you to easily upgrade from any of the previous version of Receiver for Windows, whether it is 12.0 online plugin, 3.4 enterprise or the 4.x version. The previously installed plugins and the critical settings are preserved when you upgrade to the 4.4 version, providing the same default experience as before. Refer the KB article CTX135933 for more details on Receiver upgrade.

6thInstallationCompleteWindow

Do I still need to run the Receiver cleanup utility?

No, you don’t need to run the Receiver cleanup utility while upgrading to the new 4.4 version of Receiver from any older version of Receiver.

Hardware decode for graphics

The new Receiver can now accelerate the decoding for graphics using the GPU on the client device. It uses the DXVA (DirectX Video Acceleration) API layer for hardware decode of the deep compression graphics codec. This new feature significantly improves the performance at lower CPU cost for XenApp and XenDesktop 7.x versions, where the deep compression graphics mode is default. The benefits can be seen more in case of the graphics intensive applications with HDX 3D Pro. Hardware decoding can be enabled using the registry setting or a group policy. Refer this blog from Praveen, who explains hardware decoding in detail with its benefits, configuration and performance comparisons with previous version.

Note: Hardware decoding should not be enabled when connected to XenApp/XenDesktop 7.x version running on Win 2008R2 server.

Enhanced connection experience

The minor network interruption is safeguarded by two technologies with Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop – ‘Session reliability’ and ‘auto client reconnect’. Session reliability keeps the connection intact in case of minor network disruption caused due to the network switch, display timeout etc. and resumes the connection when the network comes back. After session reliability times out, auto client reconnect keeps trying to reconnect for the set duration. This ensures the smooth connection experience in case of minor network interruption, which is common in current era of mobile devices and varying network conditions. This release improves the connection experience with session reliability and auto client reconnection, making it more robust and user friendly.

In the use cases like stock trading it is important that the trader knows that the screen is not live. Hence the dimness and timer should appear immediately on the screen soon after the network interruption. But when an user is reading a PDF, she needs the screen to not dim to get the continued reading experience even in case of minor network glitches. Below screenshot shows how you can serve both these use cases by changing the dimness setting for the screen during the network disruption:

SR-Dimness-edit-RfWin

Note: This setting is available in group policy “Local Computer Policy -> Computer Configuration/User Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Citrix Components -> Citrix Receiver -> Network Routing -> Session Reliability and automatic reconnection.”

Virtual Channel SDK

Citrix partners and customers can enable custom and additional use cases for HDX on top of what Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop provides, by using the virtual channel SDK. Citrix released a new ‘Virtual Channel SDK for Windows Version 14’, which is compatible with Receiver for Windows 4.4. Download the new VCSDK and let us know how it works for you.

NIST SP800-52 compliance

In addition, this release simplifies compliance with the TLS guidelines in NIST SP 800-52 Revision 1. This NIST Recommendation is important to public sector customers;  it is also referenced by other security standards, including PCI DSS 3.1.   A setting is provided which selects only specific TLS ciphersuites that appear in this NIST Recommendation. This setting is enforced in Receiver, separately from the TLS ciphersuite configuration at a gateway.  This therefore allows the compliance to be enforced at the time Receiver is installed or updated.

SSON Configuration

If you use SSON with Receiver for Windows, then refer this article CTX133982 for error free configuration of SSON. You can also use the Receiver diagnostic tool to troubleshoot the SSON configuration. In case of using the selfservice UI and the desktop viewer, now with Receiver 4.4 you don’t need make the configuration to “Allow pass through authentication for all ICA connections”, as SSON will be enabled by default in such case .

Receiver for Windows 4.4 is now a long term service release (LTSR), learn more about LTSR policy on our support lifecycle page.

Overall, 4.4 is a big milestone for Receiver for Windows, and Citrix recommends all customers and partners to move to this version and share your feedback to make the Receiver even better in future!