Tag Archive: Windows 2008

Apr 03

How to Seamlessly Extend the Windows Server Trial to 240 Days

…as posted on HowToGeek.com

How to Seamlessly Extend the Windows Server Trial to 240 Days

The Microsoft evaluation releases of their products are incredibly valuable and useful tools as they allow you to have an unlimited number of test, demo and development environments to work with at no cost. The only catch is evaluation releases are time limited, so the more time you can squeeze out of them, the more useful they can be.

Here we are going to show you how to extend the usage time of the Windows Server 2008 R2 evaluation release to its maximum.

How it Works

Once activated the Windows Server 2008 R2 evaluation (or trial) lasts for 180 days, after which you must either enter a valid license key or the server will shut itself down after one hour of use.

With most every Microsoft product which requires activation, there is a grace period of several days in which the product can be used (unrestricted) before activation is required. In the case of Windows Server 2008 R2 evaluation, this grace period is 10 days which can be reset (or re-armed) 5 times before activation is required. When fully utilized, gives an extra 60 days of usage time.

To put your mind at ease, this practice is completely legal and actually promoted by Microsoft. We are simply approaching this with an automated “set it and forget” it process.

Read the full article here:  How to Seamlessly Extend the Windows Server Trial to 240 Days.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.startswithv.com/2013/04/03/how-to-seamlessly-extend-the-windows-server-trial-to-240-days/

Apr 27

Installing XenDesktop 5 VDA on Windows 2008 R2 Server

Recently I was asked to use XenDesktop 5 as a way for students in a developer training class to connect to individual Windows 2008 R2 server VMs.  I agreed to set it up, but forgot that the Virtual Desktop Agent (VDA) will not install on Windows 2008 R2 server, because the installer blocks it.

I did some searching on the web and came up with a post by Carlo Costanzo talking about installing the VDA on Windows 7.  This post made me realize the agent was capable of running, but simply wouldn’t install because it KNEW I was trying to put it onto Windows 2008 R2 server.

After some more searching, I found a post in the Citrix forums by a guy named Patrick Suddereth, who had managed to install the agent onto Windows 2008 R2 using a TRANSFORM workaround.  His post is here.

So, I downloaded the Microsoft Windows SDK and installed a sub-component called Orca on my Windows 2008 R2 dev box.  This program allows you to edit the installation process of a MSI file, then generate a .mst (transform) file.  A transform file simply tells the installer what to do differently from the default installation.  In this case, we needed to remove the prerequisite check of the OS (and as I found out later, allow the MSI to be installed directly).

Here’s what I had to edit:

Editing the MSI in Orca

After the edit was complete, I exported the transform (.mst) and tried running it from command line:
msiexec /i XdsAgent_x64.msi TRANSFORMS=XD5W2K8Install.mst

I was unsuccessful that way, so I tried changing things up a little…

  1. Copied the x64 install directory from the Citrix XenDesktop 5 installation DVD iso
  2. Made the edit directly to the agent MSI (instead of using the transform) and saved it back into the copied directory.
  3. Did a right-click / Run as Administrator to open a Console window.
  4. CD to the x64 / Virtual Desktop Agent directory
  5. Ran msiexec /i XdsAgent_x64.msi at the command prompt.

The agent installed successfully and the system rebooted as expected, but the machine refused to register with the XenDesktop 5 Controller.  I tried turning off firewalls, restarting services, still nothing.  Then I found a reference to a registry key that turned out to be missing!


Add a String (REG_SZ) called ListOfDDCs and for its value put the fully qualified name of your XenDesktop 5 server (like foo.bar.com).

Go register your machine using the Desktop Studio and it should connect immediately.

NOTE: I’m sure this is not supported by Citrix in any way, so use at your own risk.


*** IMPORTANT UPDATE – May 10, 2011 ***

Additional Windows Firewall configuration needed after manual install of VDA Agent

If you’re installing the agent “normally”, you can check the box to automatically configure Windows firewall.  Since we’re taking a backdoor, the configuration doesn’t happen.  Here’s the excerpt from the Admin Guide:

To enable users to connect to desktops, you must configure your firewall as follows:

For communication between endpoint devices and desktops:
•        %Program Files%\Citrix\ICAService\picaSvc.exe requires inbound TCP on port 1494. Because this connection uses a kernel driver, you may need to configure this setting as a port exception rather than a program exception, depending on your firewall software. If you are running Windows Firewall, you must configure this setting as a port exception.

•        %Program Files%\Citrix\ICAService\CitrixCGPServer.exe requires inbound TCP on port 2598

Special thanks to Jerry Jaworski for figuring this out and submitting it!



Permanent link to this article: http://www.startswithv.com/2011/04/27/installing-xendesktop-5-vda-on-windows-2008-r2-server/