Have you heard of: ThinLaunch

most people haven't but I spent about 45 minutes with Michael Cardinal, Sales Director and got the rundown of what they are all about. You can check it out here as well.

most people haven't but I spent about 45 minutes with Michael Cardinal, Sales Director and got the rundown of what they are all about.  You can check it out here as well. 

They are a company that saw a lengthy, manual process and decided to create something very simple to automate that process.  What is the process?  Trying to lock down a thick client (laptop or desktop) and only allow one executable to be run (VDM client, ICA client, single app, etc).  It's a simple product that installs via MSI and can be configured easily.  The awesome part about it is that it doesn't affect the underlying OS.  I did a little video of the demo and I'll post it up shortly to YouTube and then link to it from here.

So what's the use case?  Here is the big one I like; transitioning to a thin client environment, but you don't want to refresh all the hardware in your organization at once. So why not take your existing hardware and use it as a thin client.  This is a very effective way to get it done and do it in an inexpensive manner.  Speaking of inexpensive, guess what the price is?  $20/CCU.  Yep that is right.  They have a booth here in the Innovators area, so if you are at VMWorld be sure to stop by and ask for Michael or Nick.

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I can acheive the same effect by replacing the explorer.exe with mstsc.exe, and I can make this change for free.  I can even go further and remove certain parts of mstsc with Resource Hacker, allowing me to customize it even more.  Why would I want to pay $20 for something that I can do for free?
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That's great.  Thanks for sharing the way you do things.  I thought this was cool and simplistic and wanted to share.  I'll let the developer of the product present a counterpoint to your position.  Nick thoughts?
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Quite a few of these around: Centralis Clam, MS Win Fundamentals, AnywhereTS off the top of my head.

 

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sure thing, they have competitors, but to do what they do for the business at the price, pretty good stuff.  Taking how long it takes to do the manual process to have it automated makes sense and to me worth the twenty bucks.
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I saw the demo at VMworld. I have beend frustrated for years using the approaches mentioned above. Nick has done an oustanding job with his product. I'm not doing that other stuff any more. Nick - Thanks for the usb drive with the software. I called a friend of mine and told him about Thindesktop he's going to download it from your site.
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You can certainly do what you suggested. I have also spent time doing something similar before Thin Desktop - configuring, testing, tweaking, testing, deploying. That's why we created Thin Desktop (www.thinlaunch.com ). The goal has been to make it simple and easy for any user without advanced knowledge of Windows registry, policy, and security settings.

The most difficult problem we believe we solved was that most applications were never designed to become the shell. If the application were to terminate, the user would be stuck without an interface. Thin Desktop solves this by monitoring and automatically re-launching the application in case of termination.

Another advantage is the ease of mass deployment because it is packaged  into an MSI file and may be distributed by any standard method you are already familiar with. Instead of installing it interactively as we show in our demonstration, the unattended command line installation may accomplish the same thing silently.

Thin Desktop is by no means an advanced or highly evolved piece of software but I believe that is reflected in the price. As you indicated, your choices are either put all the pieces together manually and hope they work the way you intend or try a convenient, integrated, bundled package like Thin Desktop that can be supported.

I invite you to try out the fully functional thirty day trial to see how it works (www.thinlaunch.com/download.shtml). Your feedback is appreciated.
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After watching your video demo on your sight, I did see simplicity of it, which I do really like.  I also thought about it more, and thought how it could easily be used to run something like a web browser which then connected back to an application server to run a system into a simple kiosk (given that you can pass a parameter into the exe like the URL).   i also see your point about the ease of deployment; so I redact my previous statement, and will say that it sounds like a great product.
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Thanks for taking the time to watch the demo. I appreciate your comments. Our goal has always been to solve the problem in the most simple, elegant way possible. 
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I would like to see the author address the following security issues at:
http://blog.randyjcress.com/2008/09/thinlaunchquicktake092008txt.html

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Thanks for the feedback and for taking the time to dig into it deeply on a technical level. The next update to Thin Desktop will address this. It is being tested now. The major improvements will be (1) the password for the auto logon user will be moved to the local security authority and not saved as plain text within the registry. (2) The password will be a random, strong password specific to each computer on which Thin Desktop is installed. (3) The special purpose ThinDesktopUser will be removed from the Administrators and left in the Users group after first run. It may be further restricted by the administrator if desired. 

Look for the release some time this week. 
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Other than price, why would I not use WinSelect?
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