In-Depth

A Powerful Solution

Of sys admins and advertising.

It seemed like any ordinary day, but life as a systems administrator in an advertising agency is anything but that. My phone rang off the hook with users screaming that the Internet was slow. I wanted to inform them that I’d have to redirect them to Tim Berners-Lee, but thought better of it because their tone was more frantic than usual.

Several years ago, the agency adopted a Web solution to obtain media information from an advertising information services company. The Citrix Web-based ICA client was installed, and the users could use Internet Explorer to run reports from a Web site. On this day, a bunch of users needed reports created on deadline. The Web connection was working, but the session would need a minute or two to get established and was more sluggish than usual. Previously, the users would get in after a few seconds with a much snappier response. The users wouldn’t meet their deadline with these session delays. It was looking like one of those days.

I contacted the media information company’s tech support and informed them of the problem. The big change in our environment was that we’d recently upgraded our workstations from Windows NT to XP SP1. Tech support told me to download and install the latest version of the Citrix Web-based ICA client. I tested it with a user and it worked. Normally I’d be thrilled, but because of the deadline I wouldn’t have enough time to log in as an administrator, install the new client and re-log in for more than 30 screaming users.

I jumped back on my machine to see if I was missing something. Strangely enough, my session was as quick as usual. A session linked in a few seconds and response was snappy. Why did I have the power? The only difference was that I was an administrator and the users were just regular users. I recalled reading that XP’s security was vastly improved over Windows NT. I ran across error messages stating that a user didn’t have enough privileges, but I didn’t imagine that increased security would slow down Web applications.

I wasn’t about to make all the users Administrators. But I was willing to give Power Users a try. I chose a guinea pig and gave that user Power User privileges. Success! The user’s session response was exactly the same as mine. Thankfully, when we rolled out XP, we created a domain Power Users group that was placed into the local machine’s Power Users group. I added the other users into the group, had them re-log in, and their sessions came up in no time.

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According to a conversation in the Citrix Knowledge Center, I’m not the first person to experience this kind of problem. According to user “lawson23,” there’s something about the ICA Win32 Web Client version 6.20.985 that can slow down logons. This user suggests that the issue might be related to permissions on the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\MSLicensing registry key: “For the ICA Win32 Client to function properly, the user requires Full permission on this registry key. (set same as power user).”

All’s well that ends well.

About the Author

Donald Fan, MCSE, has eight years of experience in IT. His focus is on Microsoft technologies. He also dabbles in Linux and OS X.

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