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What is Citrix Receiver and Why is it on My Computer?

Posted by Jamie on February 28, 2019

If you recently acquired a new laptop or desktop computer, you may see a program called Citrix Receiver installed. Some manufacturers include this program in its builds and some third-party programs install it in order for it to work. If you come across Citrix Receiver, it’s nothing to worry about and you may actually need it.

What is Citrix Receiver?

Citrix Receiver is a new version of Citrix Client which is a program that allows secure access to cloud computers. It is often used for cloud applications or for enabling remote desktop access to certain servers within the cloud. It is primarily used within enterprise but there are a few programs installed for end users that utilize it too. That’s why you might see it on your computer.

For example, some companies use Citrix Receiver to enable secure connections between one of their servers and your computer. You can ‘dial in’ to the server and use it remotely as if you were sitting in front of it. There are many other and many better ways of performing remote support but Citrix is still used by some.

Some work laptops will use Citrix Receiver to enable you to work from home. It’s a common package used by many larger corporations and organizations. Many universities, healthcare institutions, financial organizations and other enterprises that deal in sensitive data also make use of Citrix.

The ability to log onto a server and access your desktop rather than install everything onto the client machine has many benefits. Organizations can better control data, can prevent loss or theft of that data and saves a lot of hassle if a device is lost or stolen. Roaming profiles are becoming more important too, which Citrix Receiver helps manage by maintaining all your profile data online and downloading it to whatever machine you’re using at the time.

Citrix Receiver does have some downsides though. A computer will need a decent broadband connection to work properly and connecting the Citrix Receiver and Xencenter can be a real pain at times. As Citrix uses authentication to help maintain security, if there is any interruption with the network or any timing errors on the connection, getting the two to synchronize can take forever.

Do you need Citrix Receiver on your computer?

If you came across Citrix Receiver when exploring your computer, you may not need it installed. Much depends on what you’re going to use the computer for. If you don’t think you will need to connect to remote desktops or servers or require anyone to connect to you, you shouldn’t need it.

This is obviously different if you’re on a work computer as you may require Citrix Receiver to connect from home.

If you own the laptop and Citrix Receiver can preinstalled you can delete it if you won’t use it. You can always reinstall it again if you do find you need it.

Do uninstall Citrix Receiver in Windows, do this:

  1. Open the Windows Start Menu and find Citrix Receiver.
  2. Right click it and select Uninstall.
  3. If you need to reinstall it you can get it from here.

You can install Citrix Receiver on phones too but it doesn’t usually come installed out of the box. You would only typically need this if you’re using a work phone and then it’s down to your company’s IT Admin to take care of it.

How to use Citrix Receiver

Most companies or providers who require you use Citrix Receiver will talk you through connecting using the technology but here is a quick overview of how to do it. Some organizations will use it via a URL while others will connect directly from the app itself. My old college used this last method so I’ll show you that one.

  1. Join the organization’s VPN if you’re off-site. This is usually mandatory.
  2. Open the Citrix Receiver program. It will be configured to connect directly to the server or remote desktop.
  3. Enter your email address or username.
  4. Enter your password.
  5. Give the app time to establish a connection.

It is difficult to provide an exact walkthrough as Citrix Receiver can be set up in a couple of ways. Most of the time, the app will be preconfigured to connect to the organizations Xencenter and you will just need to log in. Other times you may need to enter a URL or server IP address.

Is Citrix Receiver safe to use?

Citrix Receiver is relatively safe but there has been a lot of talk of vulnerabilities over the past few years. As a home user you should be fine to use Citrix Receiver to connect to a vendor or college website and log in. Enterprise users may need to pay more attention. It is difficult to comment here as the infrastructure around Citrix is continually developed and updated.

Leaving the Citrix Receiver installed on your home computer has no known security issues though. If you want to leave it alone, it is safe to do so. It doesn’t take up much space and once you disable automatic startup won’t use any memory or processor.

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