In this article Wilco van Bragt describes the basic configuration and best practices to build a ThinBased PC using standard available tools within a Microsoft Active Directory Domain.

s described in an earlier published article PDI: Physical Desktop Infrastructure real Thin Clients are getting richer featured. While this is needed to satisfy the requirements of the Remote Based Products like Citrix XenApp, Citrix XenDesktop en VMware View, this has also some side effects:

  • Real Thin Clients are getting more expensive, in such way prices are currently compatible with normal PCs.
  • Thin Clients nowadays need to be fully managed, because much more features are available and should be updated. Also nowadays several ThinClient Operating Systems really needs updates for fixes and security vulnerabilities. So the big advantage of lower maintenance tasks in comparison with traditional PCs is disappeared mostly.
  • With current techniques like VDI additional Microsoft licenses are required when using a Thin Client OS, where traditional Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/7 PCs don't have that requirement.
  • Still the newest techniques/features (especially within Citrix products) are available at first in the Windows client of the product.

Summarized the reason that Thin Clients are often used (lower costs) is currently not the case anymore in many cases. Using a traditional workstation for connecting to a SBC/VDI infrastructure is getting more and more logical, although the users is working on Full Desktop where all applications are running in the data center.

However if the user is connecting to a Full Desktop, you don't want to bother the user with a full client, but directly showing the (probably) portal to connect to the SBC/VDI infrastructure. Also you would like to lock-down the OS as much as possible, so it needs at less as possible maintenance and the user can change only required settings (and nothing more).

Andrew Morgan did a tremendous job with releasing the freely available ThinKiosk utility, that transforms the PC into a ThinBasedPC with a single executable and central management using Micrsoft GPO. However the biggest advantage of freeware is that it's freeware. What I mean with that, that freeware never will have official support and you never know if and when updates will become available. Because of that companies don't allow to use freeware utilities in their infrastructure.

If this is the case at your organization than you don't need to go for third party products, but you create a ThinBased PC pretty easily with Microsoft GPOs and some basis scripts.

In this article I will describe the basic configuration and best practices to build a ThinBased PC using standard available tools within a Microsoft Active Directory Domain. The first step is to show the portal to the end-user without any manual interaction.  Because centralized management is one of the starting points the PC should be member of Active Directory.

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