Microsoft is always looking to increase the value of Software Assurance (SA). The Addition of Windows Thin PC, WinTPC for short, does just that. In a world where virtualization is being employed more and more, where VDI, Thin Clients, and Remote Desktop Services (RDS) are becoming more attractive and commonplace, Microsoft Licensing must evolve as well. WinTPC’s incorporation into SA is a reflection of that.
On June 7th Microsoft Released Windows Thin PC to Manufacturing (RTM). It will be available for SA customers to download starting this Sunday, July 1st, 2012. You can read more about the release and vision behind WinTPC on the Windows Team Blog here.
WinTPC works with other benefits within Software Assurance to allow organizations to better take advantage of their legacy hardware, extending its lifecycle by using it as a de facto thin client.
From the Windows Thin PC FAQ
Windows® Thin PC (WinTPC) is an upcoming Microsoft® Software Assurance (SA) benefit that provides a low footprint, locked down version of Windows 7 that enables organizations to repurpose existing PCs as thin clients, thereby reducing the need for new thin client hardware. And since these PCs retain their existing SA coverage, they do not need any additional Windows Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) licensing for Microsoft Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Suites…
The neat thing about WinTPC is that is hosts many of the premier capabilities included within Windows 7 enterprise (keeping in mind its limitations and purpose). Some capabilities include:
- RemoteFX support
- IT can deploy and manage WinTPC images and push updates to these PCs using Windows Update or Windows Server® Update Services (WSUS).
In case you are wondering about the recommended system requirements for WinTPC they are below:
- 1 GHz or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
- 1 GB RAM
- 16 GB available hard disk space
- DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or later version driver
- Bootable DVD-ROM drive
You can find out additional information on the Windows Thin PC Landing Page on Microsoft.com.
Although the power consumption of PCs is usually higher than true thin clients, the cost barrier is much lower as thin client costs range from $100-$700 dollars AND you will still need to purchase VDA (Virtual Desktop Access) for them which is roughly $100 dollars per year. For that price, an organization could either continue an existing SA subscription on client systems, buy VDA only (which also includes WinTPC rights), OR purchase a subscription to Windows Intune. Windows Intune provides WinTPC, Windows 7 Enterprise, End Point Protection, and PC management from the cloud for approximately $11 dollars per device per month. A heck of a deal. You can find out more about Windows Intune here.
WinTPC is an interesting addition to the windows line-up!
I think I have a use for a few of those netbooks I have sitting around, if nothing else they will be a good test bed!