Microsoft Ships Windows Thin PC

New release lets IT professionals deploy locked down Windows PCs.

Microsoft announced it is shipping Windows Thin PC, a version of Windows 7 that lets Software Assurance (SA) customers deploy the software as a locked down thin client for users who want to run virtualized Windows desktop environments.

"Windows Thin PC helps reduce the cost of VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) at the endpoint, enabling IT with an enterprise ready platform to provide end users with an excellent thin client experience through the many unique features offered on their repurposed PCs," Karri Alexion-Tiernan, director of product management for Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) desktop virtualization, said in a post to The Windows Blog on Friday.

Among the features that Thin PC provides is RemoteFX support meant to give users a "local-like" virtual desktop experience, as well as Write Filters that prevent users from saving any files to a local disk, helping to ensure system security.

Additionally, Windows Thin PC features keyboard filters that block users from executing certain key combinations such as Ctrl + Alt + Delete, for instance.

In the realm of corporate security, Thin PC also supports Microsoft's Forefront Endpoint Protection (FEP).

"Customers will be able to extend their investments with FEP to Windows Thin PC, unifying their anti-malware strategy across PCs and Windows Thin PCs," Alexion-Tiernan said in a blog post a little earlier in June.

Furthermore, Thin PC supports both BitLocker and AppLocker technologies which, among other features, enables IT administrators to let users run only certain categories of software locally on the thin client.

"These categories include security, management, terminal emulation, remote desktop and similar technologies, web browsers, media players, instant messaging clients, document viewers, .NET Framework and Java Virtual Machines," she added in the June post.

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If a user needs to run other applications, it would make sense to give that user a full-function Windows PC.

"Windows Thin PC is now generally available to our Software Assurance customers for download from the Microsoft Volume Licensing site," Alexion-Tiernan's July 1 post said.

Besides Software Assurance customers, Windows Thin PC is available to MSDN and TechNet subscribers, and to gold and silver partners in Microsoft's MPN program.


Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.

Tags: Microsoft, Windows 7, thin client, thin PC

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