Microsoft announced Windows Thin PC last month, saying it would be available as part of Software Assurance, a licensing programme that gives upgrade rights and other services to Windows customers. The company reversed course slightly this week, offering a preview version of Thin PC as a free download available to anyone, but said the final product will still be available only to Software Assurance customers.
Windows Thin PC is a "locked-down version of Windows 7 designed to help repurpose existing PCs as thin clients", helping customers save money on hardware, and replaces Microsoft's previous thin client OS, Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs. Microsoft promises a "rich VDI experience through support for RemoteFX, improved endpoint security by denying certain disk writes via filters, [and] enterprise-grade management support through System Center".
The Windows Thin PC evaluation version is a 1.2GB .ISO file which can be downloaded on the Microsoft Connect site. Hardware requirements include a 1GHz or faster processor, 1GB RAM, 16GB hard disk space, a DirectX 9 graphics device with Windows Display Drive Model 1.0 or later, and a bootable DVD-ROM drive. The preview version will remain active until October 31 2011.
In addition to Windows Thin PC, Microsoft has also been providing new package accelerators for App-V, which simplify the process of deploying software as part of an application virtualisation roll-out. Specific pieces of software supported by package accelerators include Microsoft Office, Adobe Reader, Firefox, Safari, QuickTime and OpenOffice.