March 14, 2014

Fix: Citrix Netscaler Access Gateway Blank Page, Missing Username Or Password

This article is written specifically for the Netscaler VPX virtual appliance, so your mileage may vary.

Increasingly we were getting complaints from users of incompatibility with Internet Explorer 10 and 11 when trying to login to our company’s remote access portal, which is fronted by an Access Gateway virtual server on our Netscaler VPX appliance. The common complaint is that one of the fields is missing (typically the password field), other users report simply seeing a blank screen. Apparently Citrix fixed this problem in a more recent Netscaler firmware, but if you are still running an older firmware like us (NS10.0: Build 73.5002.e.nc) then you too are likely experiencing this problem. The reason we haven’t upgraded to a newer Netscaler firmware is because, well, we tried, and it failed miserably. And since scheduling downtime for our remote access portal is difficult, we’ve opted to stay at the current version, for now.

Without a fix, the workaround is to instruct your users to put Internet Explorer in compatibility mode, or configure it to always use compatibility mode for your domain. However, that requires users to know how to do that. And while it’s simple, it’s not a great solution when it comes to your remote access portal, which should just work.

So how can you fix the IE10 and IE11 compatibility issue? This one turns out to be simple, and requires adding one META tag in the index.html file used by the Access Gateway. Here’s how to do it.

1. SSH to your Netscaler appliance and login with nsroot.

2. At the “>” prompt, issue the command: shell

3. At the “root@appliancename#” prompt, issue the command: vi /netscaler/ns_gui/vpn/index.html

(If you have a custom theme, you need to edit the index.html file there, so replace the above path with that of your theme. Example: /var/vpn/themes/themename/ns_gui/vpn/index.html)

4. Find the existing “META” tags in the index.html and insert the META tag below in the same section.

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<META http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=EmulateIE9" />

The main VI editor commands you need to use are “i” to put the editor in insert mode, the escape key “Esc” to take it out of insert mode, and “:x” to exit and save. Oh, and of course you need to know how to paste text with your SSH utility, but I assume you already know that! As for VI, here’s a VI Editor cheat sheet if you need a refresher.

That’s it! You can choose a different version of Internet Explorer to emulate, but IE9 has worked fine for us.

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