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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, Repurpose PCs as thin clients in Technical; We have over 250 computers plus 100 thin clients in just 1 lab. Our computers warranty will or has ran ...
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    Repurpose PCs as thin clients

    We have over 250 computers plus 100 thin clients in just 1 lab. Our computers warranty will or has ran out. I am looking for a way in converting our pc to thin clients via pxe boot (no cd, no usb, no OS, etc). Has anybody tried it? I've been researching for a while but all of my findings have come up with using third party software. So looking for the best, cheap, FREE way to do it.

    Thanks,

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    mjs_mjs's Avatar
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    What client OS do you want to use?

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    We PXE boot about 300 thin clients using thinstation 5.1
    https://github.com/Thinstation/thinstation

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    I've used both Thinstation and Windows ThinPC. IMO Thinstation is fairly easy to set up and goes "wrong" a lot less often than Windows.

    Windows ThinPC on the other hand fools many of our Students into thinking the PC their using is running Windows 7 and seems newer than they actually are, especially on those where i've configured a quick & seamless login from the local PC to the Terminal Server they're actually using. However, I can't recommend using this as a solution as the PCs we have running ThinPC throw up Trust Relationship errors more often than our normal W7 PCs and I've tried and failed to get rid of the issue.

    EDIT: Hmm, noticed you said FREE in your post, in which case i'd definitely recommend Thinstation then.
    Last edited by Shielder; 30th October 2013 at 10:01 PM.

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    Some more information of what we use here on Campus:

    a - Server/Host including virtual machine OS: Windows 7
    b - Type of connection: XenDesktop
    c – Version: 5.6
    d - If Citrix, connecting thru CSG, CAG or Netscaler?: CAG
    e – if CAG – Standard, Advanced or Enterprise: Enterprise

    My director just wants to save up money and reuse old equipment, which is not bad, but sooner or later parts will fail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IHCHAVEZ View Post
    My director just wants to save up money and reuse old equipment, which is not bad, but sooner or later parts will fail.
    .. but you'll have lots of spares to replace it with.

    it should work with your setup. We connect to a storefront server internally with netscaler on the outside. I don't see why it wouldn't work with CAG though.

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    I see you have Citrix excellent. Do you have Software Assurance with Microsoft?

    If you do you can get Windows ThinPC a really cut down version of Windows. Citrix provide a free shell for Citrix customers. You can put this on the ThinPC. What will happen is you login to ThinPC. The shell pops up and then connects you to the Citrix session. When you log off the session it logs off the host machine as well.

    Seen it in production works really well.

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    Maybe not exacly what you are looking for, but worth to try:

    Thin client - About CIT computing

    Great free software thin client version...

    Good luck

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    Hardware failure wise, unless you go diskless then a hardware failure will be the same regardless of FAT/THIN

    We just use the orignial OS on it's original HDD with the OS Set in Kiosk mode. then connect with Citrix reciver.

    If A HDD fails we can chuck in a spare.

    We just pulled 110 of our thin HP laptops ( installed new thin terminals. ) We envisage that these 3 yr old machines will provide spare parts for a further 3 or more years on the remaining 190 thin laptops and their 150 fat counterparts..

    Rob

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    ADMaster's Avatar
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    Another vote for thinstation. I pxe boot no need for hdd all conf files are pulled from the server so you don’t have to rebuild the image if you need to change a server connection.
    I wouldn’t mind trying thin pc but I think it takes 512MB my old machines have less than that.

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    cpjitservices's Avatar
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    We use LTSP, its Linux based. Boots from PXE.

    Linux Terminal Server Project - Welcome to LTSP.org

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpjitservices View Post
    We use LTSP, its Linux based. Boots from PXE.

    Linux Terminal Server Project - Welcome to LTSP.org
    Spent a good amount of time with LTSP. At the time you couldn't get sound from the RDP session so i abandoned it.

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    twin--turbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FN-GM View Post
    Spent a good amount of time with LTSP. At the time you couldn't get sound from the RDP session so i abandoned it.
    It's about 10 years since I played with either thinstation or ltsp.. May have another look at thinstation.

    Rob

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    I don't really see the point. The warranty has run out, but so what? The most likely thing to fail will be the hard disk so just keep a few spares and keep them running. With 250 out of warranty PC's I'd expect just a few faliures per year in years 3-6 - in general, they'll become too slow to use before they fail.

    The other point is - can your server back end cope with going from 100 thin devices to 350 in one go? I would doubt it as few people build that kind of headroom in unless they know a huge influx of devices is coming?

    My 2p (as someone who is moving back from thin client to fat client en masse).

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    twin--turbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AButters View Post
    The other point is - can your server back end cope with going from 100 thin devices to 350 in one go? I would doubt it as few people build that kind of headroom in unless they know a huge influx of devices is coming?
    we have more vdi's than students on one site, don't ask!

    Rob

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