Differences between Citrix UPM Folder Redirection and Microsoft Folder Redirection


First a quick intro:

When users logon to a Windows machine, they need to have a profile loaded

By default if you logon to a windows workstation (Windows 7, 8, 8.1 or 10) you get a local profile

If you logon to a Windows Server (2008 R2, 2012 R2, 2016) you also get a local profile on the server

Microsoft also has different profile options such as:

  • Roaming (as the name suggests, it roams as you move from machine to machine)
  • Mandatory (every one receives the same profile when they log on to a machine)
  • Temporary (this is an indication of a problem)
  • So basically these are the four profiles that most of us know: Local/Roaming/Mandatory and Temporary

Other companies also provide some other Profile Management solutions

In this post, we will be focusing on a Citrix  profile solution called UPM.

Citrix User Profile Manager or simply Citrix UPM is a profile management solution offered by Citrix

IMPORTANT NOTE: Keep in mind that Citrix UPM is a free product and can be used in Windows environments that don’t have the Citrix flagship products such as XenApp and XenDesktop installed

Citrix UPM is not required in Citrix environments either, but it certainly helps.

A Citrix UPM profile is very similar to Microsoft Roaming profile

The major difference is on the number of policy settings available for Citrix UPM solution versus Microsoft Roaming solution

Basically, Citrix UPM is more robust  and flexible and allows for more granular configuration

Since the focus of this post is on the Folder Redirection component, I will not focus on the main differences between Citrix UPM and Microsoft Roaming profiles, however, I will focus on the main differences between  Citrix Folder Redirection and Microsoft Folder Redirection

IMPORTANT NOTES:

  1. Citrix UPM Folder Redirection is enabled via policy
  2. Citrix UPM Folder Redirection is a “USER ” Configuration policy setting (unlike all the other Citrix UPM policy settings, which are under  COMPUTER Configuration)
  3. Citrix UPM Folder Redirection can be enabled by Citrix Studio Policies (XenApp or XenDesktop 7.x – meaning any versions like 7.6; 7.7; 7.8; 7.9 or 7.11 will contain a policy node for UPM and UPM Folder Redirection
  4. Citrix UPM Folder Redirection can also be enabled via Active Directoty GPO’s
  5. You can enable Citrix UPM Folder Redirection policies either via Studio or via AD GPO but not via both methods. Honestly, it could be done but it is not considered BEST PRACTICES and it is usually a disaster waiting to happen (hard to troubleshoot when your company changes Citrix Admin employees or AD employees/admins. -this is primarily a documentation issue. So, Don’t do it!
  6. Use Citrix Studio to enable Citrix UPM Folder Redirection if you don’t have  access to AD GPO’s (in large organizations a Citrix admin doesn’t necessary have access to AD GPO’s Mgmt console)  or if you want to make Citrix Administration easier (in my personal case that is the reason why I like to manage Citrix UPM  and UPM Folder Redirection in Studio, I like it better and find it extremely easy to configure)
  7. It is easy to identify if you are using Studio or AD to mange Citrix UPM: Open the registry in a Server or Desktop  VDA and navigate to HKLM-Software-Policies-Citrix; if Studio was used you will see User Profile Manager-HDX; if AD GPO was used, you will see User Profile Manager. It is that simple!
  8. GOTCHA note! Read important note #2 above again: The UPM Folder Redirection is a “USER” policy setting, so you won’t see UPM Folder Redirection under: HKLM-Software-Policies-Citrix but under HKLM-Software-Policies-Citrix-[Session ID]-User

Now, the judgmental question and answer you are waiting for:

Which one is better, faster? Citrix UPM Folder Redirection or Microsoft Folder Redirection?

The quick answer: Microsoft Folder redirection is better/faster!

The politically correct  answer: It depends!

The slow, technical and more elaborate answer:

Citrix UPM Folder Redirection  adds an extra level of complexity or processing by using the JIT driver (Just in Time). The JIT drive… (to be continued)

 

 

 

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