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Thin Client Overview (Windows Embedded CE 6.0)

1/5/2010

The thin client design templates available in Platform Builder for Windows Embedded CE 6.0 provide a starting point to create remote desktop terminal computers that support Remote Desktop Connection by using Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and Terminal Services Client software.

A Windows Embedded CE powered thin client is a remote desktop terminal computer that hosts client-side connections to a remote server that is running Terminal Services. It includes one or more of the following technologies:

  • Device hardware that is running the Windows Embedded CE operating system (OS) and a shell
  • RDP client software
  • Optional Web browser
  • Optional device management capabilities
  • Optional third-party emulators and presentation protocols

A Windows Embedded CE powered thin client also includes Windows Embedded CE Terminal Services Client (CETSC). CETSC is software that enables a user to configure a connection to a server that is running Terminal Services and to connect to the server in order to access Windows-based applications on that server. This software is derived from the Microsoft Terminal Services Client (MSTSC) found on Windows-based desktop systems.

Currently, there are three types of thin clients typically deployed to users on enterprise networks. You should decide which types of thin clients you want to develop and ship. This decision will determine both the selection of hardware components to add to the hardware platform and the selection of Catalog items to add to the OS design.

All types of thin clients must have a presentation protocol such as Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), support for local area networks (LAN) or Wi-Fi, and a graphics adapter.

  • Basic Thin Clients: Frequently, basic thin clients are used as replacements for computer terminals that have a green screen display. Basic thin clients include minimal functionality, such as a Terminal Services client and a connection to a network to connect to a server in order to access server-side applications. Basic thin clients have limited memory and storage requirements. Basic thin clients also use the Windows Thin Client Shell. For information about a design template that supports basic thin clients, see Windows Thin Client Design Template.
  • Web-based Thin Clients: Web-based thin clients include a Terminal Services client, and a Windows user interface (UI) shell and Web browser software that provides access to Web-based enterprise applications and server-based applications. Web-based thin clients also use the Standard Shell. When targeting a Web-based thin client, make sure that you include .NET Compact Framework 2.0 support, RDP, and support for Internet Client Services by selecting the appropriate Catalog items when you create an OS design. For information about a design template that supports Web-based thin clients, see Enterprise Terminal Design Template.
  • Line-of-Business (LOB) Thin Clients: LOB thin clients provide support to run a limited number of applications for a specific line of business, such as human resources, accounting, or sales. LOB thin clients include a Terminal Services client, a connection to a network, a Windows user interface (UI) shell, Web browser software, and support for running unmanaged or managed applications locally instead of on a server. LOB thin clients also use the Standard Shell. When targeting an LOB client, include Catalog items such as File Storage Redirection and Printer Redirection, and include additional RAM. For information about design templates that support Web-based thin clients, see Windows Thin Client Design Template and Enterprise Terminal Design Template.

There are two types of OS designs for a thin client, the Windows Thin Client OS design and the Enterprise Terminal OS design.

Ee480907.collapse(en-US,WinEmbedded.60).gifWindows Thin Client OS Design

Formerly known as the Windows-based Terminal (WBT) OS design, the Windows Thin Client OS design is a configuration of the Windows Embedded CE OS that includes the Catalog items necessary to support a basic thin client. This includes a resource-constrained shell and RDP.

The Windows Thin Client OS design includes RDP and may also include additional Catalog items, such as Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) to support device management, local Web browser capabilities, and the Windows Thin Client Shell. The Windows Thin Client Shell is designed specifically for a Windows Thin Client OS design, and does not expose an interface for starting client applications. It provides only a Setup wizard, the Remote Desktop Connection client, and property sheets.

You can use Platform Builder for CE 6.0 to create a Windows Thin Client OS design and then download it to the hardware for your thin client. After the OS is running on your thin client's hardware, you can start testing and adding applications to it.

For information about the Catalog items and Sysgen variables associated with the Windows Thin Client design template, see Windows Thin Client Design Template.

Ee480907.collapse(en-US,WinEmbedded.60).gifEnterprise Terminal OS Design

As an alternative to the Windows Thin Client design template, you can select the Enterprise Terminal design template. The Enterprise Terminal design template also includes basic thin client features such as RDP, but also includes additional features for an enriched thin client, such as user help, touch screen support, USB HID, extended Web browser capabilities, and the Windows Embedded CE Standard Shell. The Windows Embedded CE Standard Shell is based on the Windows operating system desktop and resembles the shell on Windows-based desktop operating systems. It includes a desktop with program icons, a start menu, a taskbar, and a system notification area.

You can use Platform Builder for CE 6.0 to create an Enterprise Terminal OS design and then download it to the hardware for your thin client. After the OS is running on the thin client hardware, you can start testing and adding applications to it.

For more information about the Catalog items and Sysgen variables associated with the Enterprise Terminal design template, see Enterprise Terminal Design Template.

By using RDP and optional third-party emulators and presentation protocols, you can enable two-way communication between a server that is running Terminal Services and its related clients. Or, you can develop your own emulator or presentation protocol software for use with thin clients.

For more information about RDP, see Thin Client Architecture.

For more information about a specific third-party emulator or presentation protocol software, such as Citrix ICA, contact the software vendor that is associated with the emulator or the presentation protocol software.

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