At the company where I work we have a full VMware View infrastructure. As users were being migrated to virtual machines one after another, we ended up being stuck with lots of workstations we didnt want to put full operating systems on. Through much trial and error I created what we have affectionately dubbed, The JCOS. James Cuadros Operating System (It just sort of stuck).
So with many companies, like ours, turning towards desktop virtualization and deploying Thin Clients as terminals for users to connect to their VDI’s, you may feel you are stuck with all these extra workstations that you don’t want to put full operating systems on (as this would defeat the purpose of getting users to use their virtual machines). With this solution you can turn old existing hardware into functioning Thin Clients for your VMware View environment. I will be using Windows Thin PC as my base OS because it is way better then Windows Fundamentals for legacy PC’s since its hardware compatibility list is close to what Windows 7 is.
To get a hold of a Windows Thin PC ISO you have to have a Software Assurance agreement with Microsoft. To learn more about Windows Thin PC you can read about it here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/enterprise/products-and-technologies/virtualization/thinpc.aspx
Breakdown of System Requirements
|Windows Thin PC (32-bit)|
|Processor||1 GHz x86 processor|
|RAM||1 GB RAM|
|Hard disk||16 GB available hard disk space|
|Graphics card||DirectX 9 card with WDDM 1.0 driver|
Install Windows Thin PC
If you have installed Vista or 7 the installation process is pretty much exactly the same. Go through your normal settings if you have them.
Set Up Windows
- Choose a user name and name computer
- Set up a password for the account
- Use Recommended settings
- Set time and date
- Select Work network
The first thing I always do on a new system is enable remote desktop (this is optional). To do this the easiest way is to run sysdm.cpl, click on the Remote Tab and select Allow connections…
Install the VMware View Client
(Supported versions are 4.5, 4.6, 5.0, 5.1)
Enable the Local Administrator account
You will want to do this eventually. Run command lusrmgr.msc
Make sure to set a password for the account
Be sure to run all systems updates and patches before going on.
Anti Virus software
It would be a good idea to install some sort of free Anti-Virus software just to make sure you have your bases covered. I recommend AVG Free edition
AVG Free Version: free.avg.com
Unzip the JCOS Installation Files [Get them HERE]
If you are like me and never open the README.txt or Instructions.txt documentation, just make sure you move the JCOS folder to the root of the C drive. This is critical.
Run Installation Script
Open the JCOS folder which is now at the root of your C: drive
Right click on InstallJCOS.cmd and Run as Administrator
A command line window will pop up briefly and begin configuring the user account and auto login. Then a window will pop up saying “Windows will shutdown in 1 minute.” – The whole process takes just a few minutes and will reboot a total of 2 times.
What it’s doing
The combination of scripts are basically creating a user account named “user” (full name “VMware View User”) with the password “user” and making that account automatically log in. In addition it is also removing the normal shell for a Windows user account, so the taskbar and icons are hidden. The last thing it does is automatically launch the VMware View client.
If you are using an imaging solution to deploy thin clients, the JCOS is Sysprep compatible. Just run the sysprep.cmd after you have gone through the Sysprep process.
Click to enlarge screenshot
Note: If the need arises to log in as the Local Administrator, hit CTRL+ALT+DEL, then hold down BOTH Shift keys and select Log off, you will be brought back to the lock screen.