Personal vDisk update – why are my changes persisting even though I’ve disabled profile redirection?

I had a question regarding the Personal vDisk and a issue I came across when disabling the Profile Redirection.  Just to recap, Profile Redirection is turned off by changing the following registry entry:

HKLM\Software\Citrix\personal vDisk\Config\

EnableUserProfileRedirection = 0

The issue was that with Profile Redirection disabled, I expected to see that any changes that the user made to the PVS based image would not be persisted after a reboot, as the profile was no longer being redirected to the P:\ drive.  After checking on this, although the profile was now in C:\Users instead of P:\Users, changes were being persisted.  Why?

After speaking to a friend at Citrix, I got the answer.

With the Virtual Desktop PVS image and Personal vDisk, you have your C:\ drive which is your PVS base image and is read-only.  Then, on top of that you have a hidden V:\ drive which is a base image for the machine PLUS the changes made by the user to the drive which is read-write.  This is how you are able to install your own applications as everything going into C:\ProgramFiles is now redirected to V:\ProgramFiles.  Then on top of all this, you have the P:\ drive which contains the user personalisations which is read-write.

When you enable the registry key to stop storing the user information:

HKLM\Software\Citrix\personalvDisk\Config\

EnableUserProfileRedirection = 0

this only disables the storing of this information on the P:\ drive.  However, as profile information is still written to the C:\ drive which is Read-Only and all writes are redirected to the V:\ drive therefore it gets stuck into the PvD when using a standard windows profile.  Standard windows folders are stored on C:\users which will be redirected to V:\users.

You can confirm this is the case by resetting the PvD on the master image it should clear the profile settings from the V: drive.

The registry key is designed to be used in conjunction with a Profile Management solution “delete profile on logoff” action so what happens is your profile is cached locally and deleted on logoff.  But if you just enable the key without a profile management solution then the profile has to be written somewhere and it gets written to the V: drive

So, the “issue” I saw is actually by design as this registry key is meant to be used with a Profile Management tool such as Citrix Profile Management, AppSense Environment Manager or RES Workspace Manager.  I suppose, even with Roaming Profiles as well as Microsoft do claim this is a Profile Management solution.

In essesence, once a PvD is setup, whatever changes are written to the image will be stored in the PvD in order to persist ALL changes.

I intend on testing this with Citrix Profile Management with folder redirection and AppSense Environment Manager in the near future.

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