Disable Multimedia Acceleration in XenDesktop

I recently came across a multimedia application that uses the Indeo codec for its video components.  While this codec is supported by HDX it is only supported when it runs within the context of Windows Media Player, QuickTime, or one of the other supported video players.  This particular application made use of its own player which prevented the HDX technologies from enhancing the performance of the videos.

I should point out that this application had been working well from within the LAN when users were connecting with ICA from a WYSE ThinOS based terminal.  However when connecting from a Windows based workstation using a XenApp or XenDesktop plugin the performance suffered.  My first thought was something was different about the way in which the terminal handled multimedia, SpeedScreen, HDX, etc.

Thinking that I could reproduce this I started down the path of trying older clients until I found one that worked.  Then I could read the release notes and try to figure out exactly what was or wasn’t needed to make this application perform well.  Aside from taking a trip down memory lane by installing some pretty old clients I was never able to make the application perform well from the Windows based workstation.

Now I know that disabling HDX Multimedia Acceleration is just a check box away in XenApp, the same cannot be said for XenDesktop.  The console for XenDesktop 3 does not have anywhere near the number of configuration items as its close relative XenApp 5 does.

Only in the release notes for an updated Virtual Desktop Agent (CTX122963) did I finally find my answer.

On the virtual desktop:

Set the following DWORD to false

HKLM\SOFTWARE\Citrix\ICA Client\Engine\Lockdown Profiles\All Regions\Lockdown\Virtual Channels\Multimedia\SpeedScreenMMA

On the Desktop Delivery Controller:

  1. At a command prompt, cd to C:\Program Files\Citrix\Desktop Delivery Controller.
  2. Execute PorticaSetDefaults.exe /o <filename.xml> to create an editable settings XML file.
  3. Open the xml file created in the previous step and locate the SpeedScreen Multimedia section.
  4. Change the entry for <Enabled>true</Enabled> (default) of the SpeedScreen Multimedia section to <Enabled>false</Enabled>.
  5. Save your changes.
  6. Reimport the settings using Porticasetdefaults /i. The settings will take effect the next time a Virtual Desktop Controller registers against this Desktop Delivery Controller.
  7. Repeat the previous step on every Desktop Delivery Controller that conducts VDA registrations.

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