ThinKiosk:

Convert your current PC’s into VDI ready thin clients.

 

 

 

Please note: ThinKiosk has a new home, http://www.thinscaletechnology.com. This post will be left in place for referencing ThinKiosk pre version 4, this page should not be considered current or accurate.

 

 

With alot of uncertainty in the Citrix Thin Client market (Citrix SoC), the increasing demands for client offloading (HDX redirection), the hype created by VDI and the abundance of suitable hardware in your current infrastructure, there has never been a greater time to consider reusing this hardware as thin clients.

Using your current aging or end of life hardware to provide a platform to connect to your VDI environment can greatly reduce the cost of your VDI project. Recycling your current pc’s can also provide you a stop gap solution to allow you to sweat your current assets.

With all this in mind I recently set about evaluating free products in this market.

I tested both Linux based distro’s and the Citrix Desktop appliance lock with disappointing results.

  • The linux devices had driver related issues and didnt support the full feature list of Citrix’s HDX technologies.
  • The Citrix Desktop Appliance lock (although a great solution) lacked control and flexibility.
I also tested the “paid for” solutions, which were a mix of Linux boot images, insecure usb keys and false promises of hardware support. I won’t get into naming names, but none of the vendors in the market today offer a good recycling option for a reasonable price.
Ultimately, not satisfied with my options I decided to develop my own, free solution to this Problem.



The product I have developed, ThinKiosk, is a lightweight .Net framework application designed to replace the shell of the pc it runs on. ThinKiosk is free to use and the source code will also be available for further development.

How does it work?



ThinKiosk integrates a secure browser window that is designed to leverage the configuration and flexibility provided by the Citrix Web interface.

ThinKiosk allows the users to use multiple desktops, applications etc and adds additional configuration options to empower the user. Allowing users to configure screen resolution, keyboard, audio etc without allowing too much access to the pc.

ThinKiosk replaces the windows shell allowing you to use the pc’s as kiosks or launch pads to your VDI environment.

Why use ThinKiosk?

"ThinKiosk has over 20,000 registered instances running in enterprises today"

ThinKiosk allows companies to leverage all of the Citrix HDX components on top of hardware capable of client side rendering, at no additional cost.

As ThinKiosk will run on Windows devices, you can use your current antivirus and Windows Update products to manage these devices. No extra configuration, no messing.

With ThinKiosk you can present multiple desktops or individual applications to whoever logs into the kiosk.

With ThinKiosk, the Citrix Web interface or cloud gateway is your jump off platform. Using one platform for all internal and external entry points to your VDI environment is native and easy for your users.



Can I use ThinKiosk on my current Thin Clients?



Absolutely!

Many customers need to and do deploy Windows based thin clients to address Windows dependencies or client applications.

ThinKiosk works really well with vendor provided Thin Clients solutions, to provide a clean and simple user interface on Windows Thin Clients without compromising on user experience.

ThinKiosk has been deployed by many customers in HP Thin Clients with very happy results.


What about licensing?



ThinKiosk is free to use for any individual or business. So feel free to use it! If you do decide to implement it I do ask that you let me know how you get on, I really value feedback.

That being said, I don’t consent to ThinKiosk being used as follows:

  • Included as part of a bundle package.
  • Integrated into a “paid for” service
  • Sold as a service.


What VDI technologies does it work with?:



ThinKiosk is tested on the following VDI platforms and confirmed working:

  • Microsoft Remote Desktop Services.
  • Citrix VDI in a Box.
  • Citrix XenApp.
  • Citrix XenDesktop.
  • Quest vWorkspace (limited testing).
  • RES Software Virtual Desktop Extender.
  • VMWare View (Via Process Launcher).

Is ThinKiosk available in native Languages?:



Yes! at present ThinKiosk is available in the following languages:

  •  Dutch (NL)
  •  French (FR)
  •  German (DE)
  •  Norwegian (NO)
  •  Italian (IT)
  •  Spanish (ES)

if you have a need for an additional language, let me know.

Where Can I learn more?



To read up on some of the features included with ThinKiosk, head over to the features page.

To grab a copy of ThinKiosk and start playing, head over to the downloads page.

To find out more about ThinKiosk, how to install it or how to configure machines to use thinkiosk please use the links below:

  1. Thibaut
    October 5, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    I’m very interested in this product, is it possible to connect it to devices like USB contactless reader? The user could access his xenapp/xendesktop session with an RFID card for example.

    Are you going to Synergy Barcelona?

    • October 5, 2012 at 2:43 pm

      Hi Thibaut!

      The beauty of ThinKiosk is, if your peripheral with work with Windows, you can be fairly confident it will also work with ThinKiosk.

      I’ve never tested RFID / USB contact cards, merely because I dont have one! I’d be happy to assist if you have a similar environment test with.

      I’ll be at Synergy Barcelona! My twitter account above would be the best way to catch me if you’d like to speak face to face over a beer!

      A

  2. Erich
    October 9, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    Love it. I have hopes of using this in a pure Server 2012 environment (no Citrix. Too $$$$). Came across a few issues with the Printer Settings:

    1. Is there anyway to delete a printer?
    2. When opening the Printer Settings, the ThinKiosk window becomes unresponsive while the Printer Properties page is open. If you close the Printer Properties page, it becomes responsive once again. However, if you click the x on the Printer Settings page, you will be prompted to kill ThinKiosk. If the user “Close the Program”, the client is hung. I then have to reboot it.

    My environment: Win7 ThinPC, Celeron D, 1GB Ram. Win 2012 STD RDWA.

    Thanks in advance.

  3. October 9, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    Hi Erich,

    Cheers for the bug and feature request, It’s in the next release, I’ve just finished the necessary code.

  4. October 15, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Hi Andrew

    We use the passthrough approach to connect the user directly to an Shared XenApp Desktop. In the current solution a lot of screens flicker around. Start ThinKiosk + Web Interface Logon Screen + Resources displayed after logon + Connection to Shared Desktop.

    I can cheat the whole process a little bit and modifying the web interface (blank white screens + css etc. or something like that). Do you see a chance to develop mostly “silent” connection mode so a user logons to Windows 7, sees Thinkiosk is starting but bypass web interface screens like web login and resource display?

    Thanks in advance.

    Best regards
    Joachim

    • October 15, 2012 at 1:16 pm

      Hi Joachim,

      Lets take this flickering offline as I would like to see what I could do to add value to that issue.

      In regards to a silent connection mode, YES! I would love to be able to do this and I’ve asked Citrix a number of times for an SDK for the receiver. It’s not something I can currently do but I’m pushing hard on my contacts to deliver.

      Regards

      A

  5. Jon
    October 22, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    Andrew,

    Is it possible to have ThinKiosk execute an RDP session instead of a Citrix website login?

  6. Jon
    October 22, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    Andrew,

    Is it possible to have ThinkKiosk execute an RDP session instead of a Citrix website login?

    • October 23, 2012 at 6:16 am

      Hi John,

      Sure, in version 3 there is a new feature called process launcher. That should do what you need.

      A

  7. Ivan
    October 29, 2012 at 2:14 am

    Dear Andrew,,

    Can ThinkKiosk support Branch Repeater Plugin?

    Ivan

    • October 29, 2012 at 8:51 am

      Hi Ivan,

      It should but I’ve not tested it.

      Ill test it this week and let you know

      A

  8. Pierre
    October 30, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Hi Andrew,

    Thanks vm for providing such a handy tool!Love it! :)
    I was wondering if I have disabled both the admin menu and unlock (then ctrl-alt-U doesn’t work), how to take back the control of the kiosk?

    Cheers,
    Pierre

  9. Joe
    October 31, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Hi Andrew,

    Firstly, thanks for this brilliant app.

    I am having an issue on some Windows 7 Pc’s with Thin Kiosk. Basically, on first login Thinkiosk freezes and I have to go into Task Manager, end the task and start it again. This only happens at first login.

    Any ideas?

    Regards

    Joe

  10. November 22, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Hi Andrew

    Great Work, very useful Tool, Thanks.

    Is there a way to auto launch the defined tools?
    If not, could you customize it for us?

    Regards Patrick

    • November 22, 2012 at 3:36 pm

      Hi Patrick,

      Could you drop me a quick email on andrew(at)andrewmorgan.ie and give me an idea of what you are trying to achieve?

  11. Sherry Dunkin
    November 27, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    Hi Andrew. I’m testing out Thinkiosk using HP thin clients (t610’s). I setup the Citrix receiver on one of these thin clients and have it pointed to the new web interface I created following your instructions. The client works great in that the Citrix receiver comes up automatically for the end user. But as an administrator I can’t break out of the thinkiosk product on the thin client to get back to the Windows interface. Is there a way to do this? thanks for any information!

    • November 28, 2012 at 8:43 pm

      Hi Sherry,

      From the admin menu you should be able to invoke explorer. If that doesn’t cut it, drop me an email on andrew@andrewmorgan.ie and we can find a Better fix.

      A

  1. March 22, 2012 at 9:17 am
  2. May 27, 2012 at 8:01 am
  3. May 27, 2012 at 1:00 pm
  4. June 7, 2012 at 11:53 pm
  5. June 9, 2012 at 12:34 pm
  6. June 11, 2012 at 6:37 pm
  7. November 16, 2012 at 9:57 pm
  8. December 7, 2012 at 8:41 pm
Comments are closed.
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,303 other followers

%d bloggers like this: