Activating Tableau Desktop in Citrix

Published: 11 Apr 2017
Last Modified Date: 02 Mar 2021


How to activate and set up Tableau Desktop and Tableau Prep Builder in a Citrix virtual environment. 


  • Tableau Desktop
  • Tableau Prep Builder
  • Citrix


Setting up and using Tableau Desktop and Tableau Prep Builder in a virtual environment like Citrix has changed with Tableau Desktop 10.5 and Tableau Prep Builder 2018.2.1. Tableau Desktop 10.5 and Prep Builder 2018.2.1 and higher now have an option for a virtual Desktop.


Prior to Tableau Desktop 10.5, Citrix Servers could install Tableau Desktop and activate a key on each server in the farm. In Tableau Desktop 10.5 and higher, the Citrix Servers should have an installation of Tableau Desktop or Tableau Prep Builder with the Authority to Run (ATR ) option set (Virtual Desktop Support) but no key activated.  Each user will be entering a key and registering the product.  For more information on how to setup Tableau Desktop or Tableau Prep Builder in a virtual deployment, please see Configure Virtual Desktop Support.  If LBLM is implemented, no product keys need to be entered but the end user will log into Tableau Server or Tableau Online with each new VM delivered.


1. Virtual Environment in Tableau 10.4 and earlier

Citrix must be installed on a persistent virtual machine and you will need to ensure that there is only one named user for each Tableau Desktop product key, and that the system is auditable.


Each user that opens the application for the first time is required to register.

Re-provisioning in a Virtual Persistent Environment

Before re-provisioning a Citrix server, make sure to deactivate the Tableau Desktop product key.  For more information about deactivating Tableau Desktop, see the Move or Deactivate Tableau Desktop article. After re-provisioning the Citrix server, you must activate and register Tableau Desktop again.

2. Virtual Environment in Tableau 10.5 and later

Starting with Tableau Desktop 10.5 and Prep 2018.2.1, Virtual Desktop Support is a feature that gives you the ability to optimize your installations of Tableau for non-persistent virtual desktops or for computers that are regularly reimaged.  For information on how to set up and configure Virtual Desktop Support, see Configure Virtual Desktop Support.

Virtual Desktop Support, which enables non-persistent environments, allows either a product key activation or an LBLM activation to be returned without the end user needing to perform any deactivation task. With LBLM, the end user will need to sign into Tableau Server or Tableau Online with each new VM issued.  If LBLM is not being used, the end user will need to enter the product key with each VM delivered.  Using Tableau Desktop/Prep 2020.1+ with LBLM is the best end user experience for virtual deployments.


Additional Information

Prior to Tableau 10.5, if the Tableau Desktop license key does not get deactivated before re-provisioning the Citrix server, you might see a "max extra activations" error. For more information, see Error "max extra activations exceeded".

Starting with Tableau 10.5, using the new Virtual Desktop option, there will be no need to deactivate license keys.  In addition, each user will activate their own key where previously, one key was activated across all servers in a Citrix farm. For more information, see Citrix Tableau Desktop at Tableau Community Forums. 

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