If you are one of the people who keeps Microsoft Software Assurance on your licensing you are going to love this option if you are thinking about VDI. Microsoft released a stripped down version of Windows 7 called ThinPC and the best part is that it’s free if you have SA. By itself ThinPC looks and feels just like Windows 7, so nothing really special, but if you combine it with some cool scripting I found over here things get a lot more fun. Now the article and the scripts are a few years old, but after a quick modification they still work perfect with the latest VMware View Client.
So the goal here is simple: provide a platform that users can use to access a VMware View Desktop without having to login twice (once to the local PC and once to the View Desktop), while maintaining a secure endpoint which is semi impenetrable.
Meaning that 99% of the people who would sit down at said terminal… would not be able to do ANYTHING locally. However if you were REALLY determined to get in… you could probably do it.
BTW, there is no reason you couldn’t modify this how to and use it for Citrix XenDesktop or Microsoft RDP too.
There are a few resources you will need to gather to make this happen.
- Microsoft ThinPC ISO file (i downloaded this from the MSDN site, but you can get it from the license service portal too)
- JCOS Scripting files (get them from here http://motionsoundfx.com/2012/05/how-to-build-a-thin-client/ or here is the direct link http://motionsoundfx.com/wp-content/uploads/JCOS_Installation_files.zip)
- Latest VMware View Client (get it from http://www.vmware.com/go/viewclients)
- A PC with about 1GB or more of ram and a half way decent CPU and at least 16GB hdd (can anyone say disk on module ?)
First thing we will need to do is load ThinPC on to the computer you want to use as a terminal. This is pretty basic, if you can install Windows you will be fine installing ThinPC… no need for hand holding.
After you have installed ThinPC you will want to go ahead and enable the local Administrator account and set a password, as well as do any other work that is typically required to get a normal PC on to your network. Joining this ThinPC to the domain is completely optional. Windows Updates are optional but recommended as well.
OK, so once you have all of that out of the way you should have a Windows ThinPC desktop and be logged in as the local administrator user. From there proceed to install the VMware View Client and configure it as needed for your View Environment.
Next follow extract the JCOS zip file that you downloaded earlier and place the JCOS folder directly on the root of the C: drive.
Before you run the “InstallJCOS.cmd” script to do all of the customizations we need to modify the “launchview.cmd” script first.
Basically we need to modify this because since View is now part of the Horizon Suite, the client is installed in a different location. So open up the launchview.cmd script and modify it to look like the following (Assuming View 3.3.0 client).
(Note that this is where technically you could be calling the Xendesktop client or the Microsoft Remote Desktop client)
So now that we have the correct path in the launch script we can run the install script, for more information on what is will do see James’ blog. But when you get finished you will have a semi secure Thin client for VMware View running on your existing hardware.
Video walk through:
Next up is to see how these could be managed from SCCM.