Thin Client and Terminal Services (Windows Embedded CE 6.0)


Terminal Services describes the underlying technology that is common to Terminal Server, Remote Desktop, and Remote Control.

Terminal Server is the server role that provides multiple users access to applications and desktops for non-administrative purposes. Remote Desktop is the component in Windows Server that is used to administer a server from any computer on the network, and enable users to connect to a server that is running Terminal Services. Remote Control enables an administrator to join a user's Terminal Services session to diagnose and resolve problems remotely on the server.

Terminal Services provides technologies that enable client computers to access a server, run Windows-based programs from the server, and access the full Windows operating system desktop. This is known as server-based computing. With Terminal Services, a server can host multiple concurrent client sessions from a variety of Windows-based workstations. This includes Windows Embedded CE powered thin clients.

Terminal Services can also support client computers on the network that are running other operating systems by using third-party add-in products.

The following illustration shows a server-based enterprise network.

Thin client enterprise network

A server-based enterprise network that includes Windows Embedded CE powered thin clients can demonstrate operating efficiencies and can reduce the total cost of ownership for businesses with specialized requirements for workers who use the client computers. Specialized requirements include a role that requires use of only one or two applications, also known as line-of-business (LOB) applications, or a role that requires Web-based applications that are accessed by using a Web browser.

Server-based computing can also provide additional security benefits to some enterprise networks, especially because network security is administrated centrally from the server instead of individually by each client, and also because network security prevents users from installing software on the client computer. Server-based computing is possible through Terminal Services.

Terminal Services is available on the following servers:

  • Microsoft Windows NT Server version 4.0
  • Terminal Server Edition (Terminal Server)
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Windows Server 2003 operating system
  • Windows XP Professional
  • Windows Vista
  • Windows Server 2008 operating system

An IT administrator can perform a variety of tasks on a server that is running Terminal Services. The following list shows some of these tasks.

  • An IT administrator can upgrade existing green screen ASCII terminals to a Windows programming environment.
  • An IT administrator can upgrade computers that are functioning as terminal emulators to a Windows programming environment.
  • An IT administrator can deliver Windows-based applications to a range of desktop computers. This includes computers that are running UNIX, Macintosh, Windows Embedded CE, or the Microsoft MS-DOS operating system.
  • An IT administrator can deliver Windows-based applications to Windows-based computers that cannot be upgraded to a 32-bit Windows operating system because of hardware limitations.
  • An IT administrator can extend the desktop from a server that is running the Windows operating system to thin clients. This gives users another option for using Windows-based applications, and helps reduce the total cost of ownership.
  • An IT administrator can perform tasks such as directory maintenance, virus scans, backups, restarts, and even install Active Directory on the member server.

Although Terminal Services supports third-party presentation protocols, such as Citrix ICA, this documentation makes no recommendations about design guidelines for thin clients that are running third-party software. This documentation specifically covers thin clients that are powered by Windows Embedded CE and that use Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) for the presentation protocol.

When a thin client is running Terminal Services Client software, all client-side application execution, data processing, and data storage occurs on the server.

Applications and user desktops transmit over the network and display on the client by using terminal emulation software. Print streams, keyboard input, and mouse clicks also transmit over the network from the terminal emulation software to the server.

When a user logs on, the user sees only his or her individual session. The server operating system manages the session transparently and is independent of any other client session.

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