Thin Client Setup, Hacks
Note: The point of the
Thin Client Forum is not about using thin clients
as their manufacturers intended, i.e. as glorified dumb
terminals for use with central, IT-managed servers, but
to exploit these versatile little machines in a
Another Note: The
following techniques were developed for the HP t5720
thin client, but should apply to most any thin client.
The HP t5720 uses XPe SP2, Microsoft's embedded version
of XP Professional. Thin clients are also
available with Windows CE, Linux and various proprietary
operating systems. Windows CE is too limited for
many of these applications, and proprietary operating
systems are difficult to work with. Linux poses
its own set of issues* so these techniques will be
confined to thin clients that, like the HP t5720, either
run or can be made to run a version of Windows XP
*Yes, I know, you're so much cooler
than I am because you can work with Linux. I bow down
before your superior geekability, but I'm still sticking with XP
Setting up a Thin Client
The basic nuts-and-bolts
of turning an IT Department-administered, locked-down,
boring and hostile thin client into a friendly, useful
and expandable personal computing companion. Find
information on what thin client to buy to be your new best
Thin Client as NAS
(Network Attached Storage)
Why spend thousands of
dollars for a terabyte of NAS when you can add
external drives to your thin client for a fraction of
the cost? As a bonus, you can throw around geeky
terms like RAID, eSATA, PCIe and try to convince your friends
that your life isn't a mere shallow husk of bits, bytes and
Thin Client and MagicJack®
The MagicJack® is an
inexpensive and popular VOIP
IP) device that plugs into a USB jack on a computer and
works with standard land-line wired and wireless
telephones. Thin clients make ideal MagicJack®
servers -- no need to boot up a computer every time you
want to make a call, or leave a hot, noisy computer
running 24 hours a day. A thin client will happily
sit on a shelf or in a corner somewhere, tirelessly and
silently providing phone service to your house while
consuming a mere 30 watts or so. What does all
this mean? Free phone calls - what did you think?
Thin Client as Home
Theater Video Server
Thin clients can serve
video to your home theater. You can store DVDs on
a hard drive and watch them at up to 1080p with 5.1
surround sound. As an extra, you can also surf the web
watch Youtube videos on your giant screen. This is
a great project because you can use it to justify all the time
you spend fooling around with thin clients to your spouse or
significant other. Just put on a movie and keep saying
every 15 minutes or so, "Wow, I sure couldn't have done this
without a thin client!"
Thin Client and VNC
Thin clients were
originally designed to act as remote clients.
However, if you don't want to devote an extra keyboard
and monitor to one you'll want the thin client to act as
a remote server. VNC is an open source means for
controlling your thin client remotely. It's a
great way for keeping tabs on things at home when you're at the
office. You can even VNC to one client and use that client
to VNC into another and then another and then . . . I think I'm
going to lie down.
The Illustrated Guide to
Thin client computers
first born as "internet appliances,"
limited consumer machines designed for web browsing.
No one really liked them very much.
Not surprisingly, they were a resounding failure
and were quickly abandoned.
The "internet appliance" was re-born
the "thin client"
it was adopted in the corporate environment.
computers with limited but fast operating systems
that use Citrix®,
Remote Desktop or a similar client that lets them run application programs from a
administrators to easily control application configurations
their computers by adding their own software, hardware
or other customizations. Thin clients were intended to be completely
locked-down work stations.
However, hidden in these little machines was a secret.
If you log-in with an administrator account and make some minor adjustments
configuration, they become inexpensive,
purpose computers with enough power
run all kinds of different software and hardware and perform lots of useful
Best of all, thin clients have no fans
other moving parts
so they're completely quiet
they use only a small fraction of the power
of standard desktops and laptops. The Thin Client Forum is dedicated
to tweaking, hacking, modifying
otherwise exploiting thin
clients and finding useful applications that are uniquely suited
The HP t5000 Series
Hewlett Packard / Compaq
manufacture a series of thin clients that are ideal for
tinkering and adapting to a variety of personal computer
applications. See a clear chart explaining the difference
between the various t5000 series HP thin clients and decide
which is best for your purposes.
common questions and solutions to common problems involving
Other Thin Client Resources
These sites have no affiliation
with The Thin Client Forum, but contain helpful information on
thin clients, applications and other resources for them.