[Review] Windows Thin PC: Definition/System Requirements/FAQ [MiniTool Wiki]

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What Is Windows Thin PC?

Windows Thin PC (WinTPC), released in 2011, is a Microsoft Software Assurance (SA) benefit that offers a low footprint, locked down version of Windows 7. It allows organizations to reuse existing PCs as thin clients to reduce the need for new thin client machine.

Since those PCs retain their existing SA coverage, they don’t need any additional Windows Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) licensing for VDI. Windows Thin PC provides an excellent thin client experience through licking down the PC by write filters, while still offering users with a superior remote desktop experience through RemoteFX support.

Tip: To activate Windows Thin PC, you need to use KMS/Volume license activation key.

IT can deploy and manage Windows Thin PC images to multiple PCs using System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) and push updates to those PCs using Windows Update or Windows Server Update Service (WSUS). Besides, WinTPC leverages Widows Enterprise features like BitLocker and AppLocker to further secure the endpoint.

About Windows 7 Thin PC

Windows Thin PC is the successor to Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs. It is based on Windows Embedded 7, the embedded version of Windows 7 and servers as a thin client that can be used on older computers for people who don’t want or do not have the option to upgrade hardware.

This operating system (OS) isn’t available in the retail market. The only legal way to get Windows Thin PC is via Microsoft’s Software Assurance program, which is targeted at enterprise markets.

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Windows Thin PC System Requirements

Since WinTPC is a locked down version of Windows 7, it can run on any device that is able to run Win7. The following is the recommended specifications for running Windows Thin PC OS.

  • CPU: 1 GHz or faster 32-bit (x86) processor
  • RAM: 1 GB memory
  • Storage: 16 GB hard disk capacity
  • GPU: DirectX9 graphics device with Windows Display Driver Manager (WDDM) 1.0 or later
  • Bootable DVD-ROM drive

Windows Thin PC vs Windows 7

Windows Thin PC is developed based on the same code as the Windows Embedded Standard 7 (SES7), which in turn has been derived from the proven Windows 7 platform. Although both systems share many common features, they are still different in some aspects.

1. Hardware Efficiency

WES7 thin client hardware is usually more locked down and power efficient than WinTPC devices, which are reused PCs.

2. Enterprise Features

Enterprise features like BitLocker, AppLocker, and DirectAccess are built into the base image while they are available on request from OEMs.

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3. Availability

Windows Embedded Standard 7 is only available on thin client devices through the OEM channel while Windows Thin PC is available as an SA benefit through Microsoft Volume Licensing (VL).

4. Image Size

WinTPC has a fixed image size whereas WES7 images are flexible and can b e configured by the OEM, which causes that WES7 images may be larger or smaller than those of WinTPC.

5. Pricing

Windows Embedded Standard 7 is sold to OEMs and thin client devices are then purchased from the OEM. Whereas, Windows Thin PC is free of cost to SA customers. As for non-SA customers, they have to buy SA, Windows SA, or Windows Intune to get WinTPC.

Windows Thin PC FAQ

1. Can Windows Thin PC be installed on laptops?

Yes, Windows Thin PC leverages the extensive Windows 7 device driver framework and has built-in support for wireless NICs.

2. Can Windows Thin PC Run in a Virtual Machine (VM)?

No, it can’t. Windows Thin PC is designed to repurpose existing PCs as thin clients and thin client OSes aren’t designed for or supported in a virtual machine.

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3. What kind of apps can run on Windows Thin PC?

  • Document viewers
  • Web browser
  • Media player
  • Security
  • Instant messaging client
  • Management
  • Terminal emulation
  • Remote desktop and similar technologies
  • .NET framework and Java virtual machine

4. Where to Download Windows Thin PC?

Only Volume License customers can download Windows Thin PC ISO image file from the volume licensing website. WinTPC is available through all VL programs that support SA and VDA including Open, Open Value, Select, Enterprise Agreement (EA), and Campus and Schools Agreement (CASA).

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