Virtual Desktops - Graphic Applications and Mouse

Submitted by jbredehoeft on Fri, 11/04/2011 - 01:36

I recently came across a unique situation with a remote office as we virtualized the servers and looked to virtualizing the workflows. For this office we deployed Citrix XenDesktop 5.5 and provided a desktop to each user. Each user was provided a persistent desktop. This persistent desktop was created from a master image with installed core applications. Then each user had specific applications installed into their desktop creating a one-to-one desktop to user relationship. The decision was made to install the applications locally rather than package or stream them due to an aggressive timeframe. Our next iteration will be different.

A small group of users are using a custom-designed graphic mapping application. This application has some functions that require the mouse to move to a specific location, indicating GPS coordinates, however these functions don't work properly in the XenDesktop. Another similar function that relies on moving the mouse is the "snap to dialog" function which causes the mouse to move to the default answer when a dialog box opens. This function also does not work within the XenDesktop.

Here are some particulars:
1. The problem doesn't exist when the OS on the local computers is Windows 7, but it does manifest when the OS is Windows XP, Max OS X, or Linux.
2. We tested the problem with both single and dual monitors, neither of which changed the symptom.
3. The problem continued to persist when tested on a thin client device running Windows XP embedded.

However, when connecting the the remote desktop with RDP we didn't lose the mouse functionality, and the graphics application worked as expected. This gave us a hint that it was related to the Citrix protocol. It didn't matter if we used the Citrix Receiver or the ICA Client, the problem continued. Changing display and performance settings within Citrix made no change. What finally worked was changing or adding mouse functionality within Windows.

We contacted Citrix and have an issue open, but there has been no resolution from them yet.

Our fix has been to enable mouse-trails with a setting of 2 within the Citrix XenDesktop. This setting changes the mouse sampling by Citrix and causes the mouse to work as expected.