Microsoft has issued the Release Candidate for Windows Thin PC, which allows users to re-purpose their PCs into thin clients running Windows.
issued a Release Candidate for Windows Thin PC, a platform that allows users to
"repurpose" their PCs into thin clients running a locked-down version of
like the reduced footprint of WinTPC. The machines they will likely use it on
often have less disk space than brand-new machines, and WinTPC helps to ensure
they will have adequate space," Karri Alexion-Tiernan, Microsoft's director of
product management for desktop virtualization, wrote in a May 2 posting on The Windows Blog
. "They also like the write
filters which are helping customers to secure the device running WinTPC by
preventing them from saving data or installing applications locally."
said, Microsoft evidently pictures WinTPC as a means of transition to a true
thin-client platform. "Once WinTPC device hardware gets decommissioned," reads
a note on the company's WinTPC page
, "customers can then
purchase new Windows Embedded Thin Clients from our OEM partners without having
to make changes to their existing management and security policies."
been working to make thin clients more palatable for general work environments,
working with companies such as Wyse Technology to leverage the form-factor
beyond its traditional niche in places such as call centers. Certainly, a
locked-down version of Windows Embedded Standard 7 could be put to use in areas
as diverse as health care and financial services, provided it was modified to
suit the needs of those particular verticals.
Given the cost
of deploying and managing traditional PCs in the workplace, certainly any
number of IT administrators are paying attention to the potential benefits of
thin clients-or even "zero client" solutions that connect a monitor back to a
VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) or similar data center infrastructure. In
addition to Wyse Technology, ClearCube and a handful of other companies are
exploring various ways to bring this zero-client paradigm into the enterprise.
In the case of
WinTPC, users can revert the machines back to PCs, if necessary, allowing IT
managers to evaluate whether a thin-client environment is best for their
company without embarking on a more radical refresh. WinTPC also does not
require the Windows VDA (Virtual Desktop Access) license associated with thin
clients. However, those with VDA on their Windows PCs, along with those with a
Software Assurance agreement, will be able to deploy WinTPC to their
environments following the RTM (Release to Manufacturing).
Alexion-Tiernan, Microsoft will issue that RTM by the end of the second quarter
of this year.