Citrix logon performance tip – go neutral on your wallpaper!

Wallpaper choice and the difference it makes to your citrix environment

Graphically “busy” wallpapers can degrade the user experience when users are working with windows in a published desktop setting. This can manifest itself as mouse latency, start menu latency, and lag when launching, minimizing, maximizing, and moving windows. The more “photographic” the wallpaper and the more latent the user’s network connection, the worse the issue will become. Consider the follow two example wallpapers:


The wallpaper on the left is more complex than the one on the right – prettier but that has a cost. Many fine lines and fast color changes (steep gradients) mean that, all things being equal, the user using the wallpaper design on the left will have a degraded experience compared to the one using the wallpaper on the right. The intensity of the performance impact is reliant on their network connection and, to a smaller extent, the versions of XenApp and the Citrix Receiver being used (newer versions will tend to be faster than older ones for both products).

The issue arises due to the way the receiver breaks down the screen images into glyphs to send to the endpoint. While many GUI elements are directly passed through, window edges and graphics, such as the background, are broken down and compressed before being sent to the endpoint device. The simpler the blocks the faster and smaller they can be compressed and send to the user to be rendered.

All things being equal best to “go bland” and stick to a solid color background, your users’ will thank you for it in the long run – oh and restrict letting them changing it via GPO!

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