Do you want to know how to set up a thin client in 30 minutes flat? Learning how to set up a thin client is almost a pre-requisite in many of today’s current network environments as more and more organizations move towards virtualization. There are various ways on how to set up a thin client. The following allows me to set up a thin client in 30 minutes.
First and foremost, there must be a documented process to follow. If you have set up 100+ thin clients before, then the process on how to set up a thin client is probably engraved in your tired brain by now. If you are like me though, you may need a little extra help in remembering the steps on how to setup a thin client. In knowing how to set up a thin client, I cannot stress enough the importance of developing a sound process and documenting it. It is for your benefit and will allow you to achieve your goals quicker, more effectively and with fewer mistakes. What’s more, being able to develop a process and document it will set you above others in any field.
Our organization currently uses Wyse, HP t5740e and HP t610 thin clients; we are soon to include the HP t620 model. This post focuses on how to set up a thin client an HP t5740e and HP t610 thin client. Both have Windows XP Embedded OS. As such, they act very much like mini copies of Windows XP but with much less functionality and features. How to set up a thin client in 30 minutes can be broken down as follows:
- Un-boxing, connecting and powering up equipment. 8 minutes.
- Flashing the thin client with a custom thin client image. 12 minutes.
- Configuring thin client embedded OS and applications. 10 minutes.
The process outlined above on how to set up a thin client has been simplified and is achievable by taking special care of the following:
- Workspace – the physical location where the thin client will sit must be prepped and ready beforehand. When someone calls in a request for a new thin client in our organization the first thing that I think of is to notify the leader of that department to make sure the area is clean and that there is furniture in place for the thin client to rest on. I later make a quick stop to verify that available electrical outlets and data ports are close by and live. Grommet holes, if necessary must have been made prior, usually by maintenance staff.
- Checklist – all materials, hardware and tools must be allocated and on-hand for the installation to go smoothly. I have a checklist of the items I need which include the following:
- thin client
- power surge protector
- tools (I use a Leatherman Wave pocket knife)
- cat5 cables (for thin client, VOIP phone, and rack)
- cable ties or velcro and/or looming
- USB thumb drive with the thin client image to be deployed
- thin client configuration procedures
3. Access – schedule yourself to be on site and make sure that you will have unrestricted access to the work area and the communications closet. It would also help to have a knowledgeable contact in the department where the thin client will be located that can answer questions you may have regarding the setup.
While everything on the previous list is important on how to set up a thin client, there are two items that are essential and without them, setting up a thin client in 30 minutes will not be possible.
- the thin client image – the thin client image is composed of the Windows Embedded OS, installed software applications and pre-configured settings. Developing a custom thin client image for your organization is very important because that will save you a great deal of time during setup. A thin client custom image will also prevent mistakes. Every organization should have a list of applications and configurations that are standard to all thin clients. Developing a thin client image is time consuming. It requires planning, and some knowledge of the embedded OS. It requires pre-configuring various OS and application components and must be tested several times before it can be used for companywide deployments. It is well worth the effort as it allows you to deploy thin clients left and right at a whim. There are various ways on how to deploy a thin client image. I currently use two methods.
- Vendor deployed image – all of our thin clients purchased come with the thin client image already deployed from the vendor. It is a custom thin client image that I have created, tweaked and tested a million times before providing it to the vendor. The vendor charges us a fee for having the image deployed on all thin clients we order. This allows me to be able to set up a thin client in 20 minutes rather than 30 minutes as I no longer have to flash the thin client during setup.
- USB thumb drive – the software to create a thin client image using a USB thumb drive is available on HP t5740e and HP t610 thin clients in the control panel. Once you have installed all standard software and made necessary changes to the OS you can capture the thin state of the thin client and have it saved to USB.
- thin client configuration procedures – tailored specifically for your virtual and network environment, thin client configuration procedures will save you a great deal of time in setting up a new thin client. Thin client configuration procedures are a corner stone on how to set up a thin client. These procedures are intended to guide staff, making sure that no mistakes are made in the configuration process and nothing is open to interpretation or assumptions. All is documented and must be adhered to. The result is a working thin client that is up to company specs each and every time. Thin client configuration procedures should be based on the thin client image being deployed. Every organization deploying thin clients should create thin client configuration procedures for technical staff to follow. Procedures should include step-by-step instructions on how to configure all pertinent settings.
*Special Note on how to set up a thin client: The process of configuring a thin client is two tier. As much as is possible and reasonable should be pre-configured with the Windows Embedded OS image. This will reduce the number of changes needed to be made individually on each thin client.
The following is the Table of Contents from the thin client configuration procedures I have created for our organization to give you an idea of what should be included. It is best to outline it in chronological order and to be as thorough as possible. Include screenshots with your instructions to make it more understandable.
How to Set Up a Thin Client – Thin Client Configuration Procedures *Applies to thin clients using custom flash version: 5.1.989
Section I: LOG IN TO LOCAL ADMINISTRATOR ACCOUNT
Section II: CHANGE TIME/DATE
Section III: CONFIGURE DNS SETTINGS
Section IV: CHANGE SCREEN RESOLUTION
Section V: CHANGE COMPUTER NAME
Section VI: ADD THIN CLIENT TO DOMAIN
Section VII: LOG ON TO DOMAIN as ADMINISTRATOR
Section VIII: CONFIGURE TEAMVIEWER
Section IX: DISABLE INTERNET EXPLORER FOR DOMAIN USERS
Section X: DELETE ClientName REGISTRY KEY
Section XI: CHANGE XENAPP APPLICATION IN PROGRAM NEIGHBORHOOD
Section XII: INSTALLING A PANASONIC KV-S1025C SCANNER
Section XIII: CONFIGURE DOMAIN USER ACCOUNT AUTO-LOGIN
Section XIV: ENABLE WRITE FILTER
In closing, on how to set up a thin client, plan ahead, develop a thin client image specific to your organization to use with all new installations and develop step-by-step procedures to guide you through the configurations. How do you set up a thin client in your organization?