DesktopPlayer for Mac Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

DesktopPlayer enables users to run local Windows virtual desktops on Windows laptops and MacBooks. It is a managed client virtualization solution for Windows operating systems and Mac OS X systems that enables VDI desktops locally for ultimate mobility, regardless of network connection quality—from intermittent to complete offline. DesktopPlayer also enables IT administrators in enterprises to deploy and manage corporate Windows instances in virtual desktops on BYO laptops for employees.

If your Windows laptops and MacBooks are connected to a corporate network or the Internet via a broadband line, Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops is all you need. However, if you are using your laptops in hotels, airplanes, conferences and other locations that require wireless Internet, it’s likely you may experience a slow or intermittent connection and sometimes may not get one at all—making it difficult or impossible to use server-hosted applications. With DesktopPlayer, your Windows virtual desktop is installed and runs locally regardless of the quality of your network connection.

DesktopPlayer for Windows and Mac leverages the Synchronizer management server backend in the datacenter to provision and control Windows virtual desktops that run on top of the client hypervisor platform on Windows and Mac laptop end devices.

DesktopPlayer is as simple to use as a Web browser. Once DesktopPlayer is running, users see their Windows virtual desktop and can launch Windows applications on their laptops and do work just as if they were using a regular desktop PC. Better yet, users don’t need to reboot their laptops to switch between operating systems: it’s two environments in one!

IT administrators can use DesktopPlayer to confidently deploy and manage corporate Windows virtual desktops to personal, BYO and corporate-issued Windows laptops and MacBooks. Users get the convenience and flexibility to run virtualized Windows business applications side-by-side their local desktop either on the same screen or on two different monitors when connected to an external monitor.

DesktopPlayer is a client virtualization solution for the Windows and Mac platform that allow users to run Windows virtual desktops on their local end devices and uses a Type-2 hypervisor that installs on top of the OS.  XenClient Enterprise, which will reach end-of-life on December 12, 2016, offers client virtualization capabilities, but is limited to the PC platform and uses a Type-1 hypervisor that is a destructive install under the Windows OS (bare metal).  DesktopPlayer and XenClient share the same management server called the Synchronizer that is used by IT administrators to centrally control and provision Windows virtual desktops to the local endpoints. However, DesktopPlayer is easier to install (non-destructive, unlike XenClient) and includes VHD encryption and other policies for managing and securing corporate and BYO endpoints, making DesktopPlayer more ideal for BYO and a more suitable client virtualization platform.

DesktopPlayer offers a client that runs on top of an OS and connects to a management server (called the Synchronizer) in the datacenter, which provisions and manages Windows VMs with policies that are deployed to Windows laptops and MacBooks. The Synchronizer is included with Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Enterprise/Platinum. In contrast, many consumer-based client virtualization software products are standalone utilities that allow virtual machines to be created, while lacking truly integrated provisioning, control and policy management capabilities from a central point in the datacenter.

DesktopPlayer’s biggest differentiator from other standalone client virtualization tools is its central management capabilities from its management server. The Synchronizer provides IT administrators with the ability to centrally control virtual desktops with the flexibility and convenience of allowing users to run them locally on Windows laptops and MacBooks without network dependency.

No, this is prohibited. Due to Apple’s EULA, Mac OS X can only be virtualized on the Mac platform.

Mac OS X 10.10 (Yosemite), Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or 10.8 (Mountain Lion).

No. You can install DesktopPlayer on top of Windows and Mac OS without the need to reinstall Mac OS  afterwards. The DesktopPlayer installation is non-disruptive and you will be able to get a guest OS (i.e. Windows 7 or Windows 8.1) in a virtual desktop by registering with the server that your IT administrators will assign to you as a user.

While it can be used this way for testing purposes, the primary value of DesktopPlayer is to deliver centrally managed Windows virtual desktops to Windows laptops and MacBooks through the Synchronizer.

Yes. DesktopPlayer is an add-on that offers the ability to run your corporate Windows virtual desktops locally on Windows laptops and MacBooks, but you still need licenses for rights to the Synchronizer, which is used to deploy and manage the virtual desktops. Synchronizer licenses are included with Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Enterprise/Platinum.

If your users are already licensed to use Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Enterprise or Platinum, you do not need to purchase additional Synchronizer licenses. However, additional DesktopPlayer add-on licenses are required. If you do not have Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Enterprise or Platinum, you must procure the appropriate license for the Synchronizer and the DesktopPlayer add-on license.

Windows 7, 8.1, and 10

Yes. You can download a 90-day evaluation of DesktopPlayer and try it on up to 10 Windows laptops or MacBooks (any combination of Windows and Mac laptops that meet the system requirements). 

Windows 7, 8.1, and 10

You can contact your local Citrix representative, locate a Citrix authorized reseller in your area, or purchase it directly online. Learn more about how to buy DesktopPlayer here.

Windows 7, 8.1, and 10

If you have a Citrix support agreement, you will receive support for DesktopPlayer through the same channels you normally use. Visit Citrix Support for the range of options, including live technical support, self-help Knowledge Center, on-demand training videos and more.