What is Citrix ICA and How does Citrix USB redirection work

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What is ICA in Citrix’s terminology?

The acronym ICA stands for Independent Computing Architecture. Designed by Citrix, ICA is a proprietary cross-platform protocol for application servers that defines the method in which data is transmitted between servers and clients. When remote server access is desired, ICA can be used as an alternative to the Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).

Secure remote access and cost savings are two of the advantages of using the Citrix ICA protocol. It can be difficult to enable USB redirection in Citrix.

How does Citrix USB redirection work?

In order for Citrix USB scanner redirection to be enabled, the USB device needs to be optimized for virtual channel support. Without this support, it defaults to the generic USB virtual channel for USB redirection. User accounts that want to enable generic USB need to be correctly configured in which case audio redirection is supported in XenApp.

Accessing client-attached USB devices from within virtual XenDesktop sessions can be implemented with Citrix generic USB redirection. With redirection, users obtain the same level of functionality as if they had a direct connection to the peripheral device. Device drivers do not need to be installed on client machines when employing generic redirection. The driver only needs to be supported by the virtual session.


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Using FlexiHub lets you connect to locally-attached USB devices in the remote virtual sessions. When using USB over IP, USB devices connected to the client machines can be accessed in a remote session right away.

How to configure Citrix USB Redirection

Now we will quickly explain how Citrix USB redirection works. The default is to have redirection disabled, so the first step is to enable Citrix USB redirection policy. These are the steps to use to set up USB redirection in Citrix sessions.

Simple steps to enable Generic USB Redirection

  1. On the XenDesktop server, open Desktop Studio and click Start > All Programs > Citrix > Desktop Studio.
  2. Expand HDX Policy.
  3. Select Users.
  4. Click Edit > Settings.
  5. Scroll to USB devices in the Policy console.
  6. Click Add on Client USB device redirection. Generic USB Redirection
  7. Select Allowed and click OK.

How to create Client USB device optimization rules

XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 FP3 client USB optimization rules are used to change modes or disable generic USB optimization.

Policy settings are queried by a host when it determines that a USB has been connected to verify that the connection should be permitted. The optimization rules are also checked to validate the connections. If no rule is defined the default interactive mode is used. Signature devices should use capture mode for the best performance.


Requirements: Windows XP/2003/2008/Vista/7/8/10/Server 2012
Size: 6.97MB
Version: 4.1.12932 ()
User rating: (4.8 based on 78+ users)