Q

Can I use XenClient to change a PC to thin client?

With Citrix XenClient, you can easily turn a PC into a thin client. If you have XenDesktop Enterprise or Platinum licenses already, you can do it for free.

Many VDI shops look to thin clients as simple, easy to manage hardware. But the cost of provisioning a slew of new thin clients and the time it takes to learn how to manage them are often significant.

Fortunately, there's a free way to turn PCs into thin clients right under many administrators' noses: Citrix XenClient Enterprise Engine, and it's included with XenDesktop Enterprise and Platinum licenses.

XenClient allows you to repurpose existing PCs with its Type 1 bare-metal hypervisor. PCs that have Virtualization Technology enabled with their CPU are typically equipped to run XenClient, but Citrix also provides a tool to check the PC for compatibility issues and ensure it will be able to run XenClient. XenClient's user interface -- the Launcher -- includes a Dock that has Google Chrome, a Remote Desktop client and a built-in Citrix Receiver. For basic thin client capability, this is often all users need.

You can use XenClient's Synchronizer to deploy a Windows virtual machine (VM) to the client. With a local Windows OS, the user gets a VM with whatever he needs: full-featured Windows, Citrix Receiver, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office and more. You can also hide the XenClient interface so the user only sees the Windows VM screen. This makes for a transparent user experience.

Synchronizer is also a central management point for updating XenClient PCs and their host VMs. Repurposed PC hardware resources can perform with few of the compromises associated with thin clients.

This was first published in August 2014

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