Posts tagged autoview
In my journey to find the best method to convert an old workstation into a thin client for our View deployments, I came across many solutions before we came upon AutoView by Justin Emerson at VM Junkie. AutoView is a series of scripts and registry edits that convert an XP machine into a thin client in minutes with only one click.
The general premise of what it does is:
1. Create a user called ‘user’ and temporarily adds this user to the Administrator group so it can make the necessary registry changes.
2. Modify the Winlogon registry settings for the local machine so that ‘user’ logs on automatically, and that upon the next reboot another batch script executes.
3. Reboots the system.
4. After reboot, it sets a VBScript to execute the View client in a loop as ‘users’s logon shell. This makes it so that the user only sees the View client, and not the start menu, etc. It also disables Task Manager, Lock Workstation, and Password Change options from the Ctrl+Alt+Delete menu.
5. It then removes ‘user’ from the Administrators group and reboots the system.
6. The system now boots up, auto-logs into the ‘user’ account, and only shows the View client to the user.
If the View client is exited, it simply re-opens automatically. If you need to get to the Administrator account or to another account, simply Ctrl+Alt+Del and hold down ‘Shift’ while clicking Log off. This will exit you out to the normal Windows logon screen. If shift is not held down, it simply logs back into the user account.
The great thing about this is that you can convert someone’s existing workstation and leave it untouched in case they are unhappy with their virtual desktop. All you have to do is make it so the ‘user’ account doesn’t auto-login which can be done by modifying the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\ForceAutoLogon key to 0 then they’re back to their regular desktop.
Overall, this has been the perfect solution for us in our deployments without hardware thin clients. It may not be perfect for everyone, because you’re still using a Windows license on the underlying system, but that is not a problem for our environment.
I won’t go into detail with these, because we didn’t choose to pursue them after initial testing, but I will give my general impressions.
We use several Wyse thin clients, so we did explore their PC Extender solution. We tested this, and came out generally unimpressed. You could tell it didn’t get a lot of TLC from Wyse, which I suppose makes sense… they would obviously prefer you to buy their hardware thin clients. The setup and implementation wasn’t great, and they would only support a limited number of PC makes/models. It definitely has potentional.
We also considered Devon IT’s VDI Blaster, which was an impressive product. It didn’t have quite the amount of polish I was hoping for, but it was a solid solution. Once issue we ran into is that the hostname of their management suite was hard-coded into the software and required a bit of work to fix.
Lastly, another option is ThinLaunch. This software does literally the exact same thing that AutoView does. There are no features in ThinLaunch that are not provided by AutoView. If you don’t believe me, feel free to watch their video demonstration. The real problem with this? It costs $25 per computer, and AutoView is free and modifiable.