Microsoft Windows Fundamentals will convert a legacy PC to a thin client in March 2006

I’ve previously written about Eiger, the codename for a product from Microsoft that will convert a legacy PC into a Windows-based thin client device. Microsoft has officially announced that this product will be available in March 2006 and called “Windows Fundamentals.

I’ve previously written about Eiger, the codename for a product from Microsoft that will convert a legacy PC into a Windows-based thin client device. Microsoft has officially announced that this product will be available in March 2006 and called “Windows Fundamentals.” There’s a catch, though. You can’t just go out and buy Windows Fundamentals. It will only be available as part of Microsoft’s volume licensing program to customers who have Software Assurance. This means that it’s for customers who buy Windows XP but who can’t run it yet.

Confused? Let’s go through a quick example:

Imagine a company has 3,000 desktops. Microsoft wants to move them to a volume license agreement with Software Assurance. (“Software Assurance” is Microsoft’s version of license maintenance. Instead of having to budget for a new version of each application every few years, you just pay a smaller annual fee to be “assured” that you’ll always be licensed for the newest stuff.)

So the Microsoft sales rep wants to sell Software Assurance to this company with 3,000 desktops, giving the company the ability to use Windows XP Pro on all 3,000. However, the company’s IT director says, “No way. Of our 3,000 desktops, only 500 are new enough to run Windows XP, so I’m not buying Software Assurance for 3,000 desktops since I will only get the value on 500 of them.”

Now, with Windows Fundamentals, the Microsoft sales rep can answer with, “But wait! You should still buy Software Assurance for all 3,000. Then install XP Pro on 500 and Windows Fundamentals on the other 2500. As those PCs are replaced, you’re already licensed for XP Pro!”

What’s Fundemental?

Windows Fundamentals is derived from Windows XP Professional with SP2. However, most of the “standard” XP functionality is stripped out, leaving a core OS that’s designed to run the RDP or ICA clients, a browser, management and security agents, document viewers, and (of course) the .NET Framework.

Since Fundamentals is built on XP Pro, you can add Fundamentals machines to your domain and lock them down via Group Policy or manage them via SMS. (All your management tools will see these things as XP SP2 clients.) You can also patch them in the same way that you patch standard XP workstations.

Even though Windows Fundamentals is software-based (i.e. you install it onto a standard PC’s hard drive), Microsoft is offering some capabilities that allow all changes to be written to a disposable part of the drive so that anything a user changes is lost when the client is rebooted. (In this sense, Fundamentals acts a bit like Windows XP Embedded.)

What's the impact?

All-in-all, Windows Fundamentals will help bring more people into the Windows-managed world (which is not the same thing as the server-based computing world). I mean it certainly can't hurt the up-take of Terminal Server or Citrix, I'm just not sure how many companies out there are going to pay for Windows XP (via client Software Assurance) and then run on old hardware. I think that in reality, we'll see this account for a small percentage of legacy desktops in environments where Software Assurance has been purchased. I don't think anyone is going to use Windows Fundamentals as a final-state thin client computing solution.

I also don't think that Windows Fundamentals will impact thin client makers or other software-based thin client products since it won't be released as a normal Microsoft product.

The bottom line is that Windows Fundamentals is a brilliant move for Microsoft because it lets them get their management tendrils on more client devices that wouldn't ordinarily be manageable by them, and that's it's real impact.

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Microsoft is only doing this to make more money, not as a true/honest response to customer needs.
If Microsoft were really responsive to customer needs, they would sell it as a real product that people could decide to buy instead of MS' increasingly criticized Software Assurance.
BOO Microsoft!!
We can even have WinPE to run ICA or RDP as thin client.
Microsoft has already shown us "Eiger": That is no innovation. They built a version with no Outlook Express, Media Player etc. but with the same kernel. So you need the same hardware as for XP SP2. Nothing new for Rich Clients, Software ThinClients or however you will name it.
I am curious to see this in a live environment. I have already build a thinclient using a locked down XP sp2 client with shelaunch.exe to replace explorer.exe and some hardened policies on that machine so it can function as a thinclient only. If this could replace and simply harden the machines in a domain that would be a very nice. Saves me time to buildup custom build thin clients.
Please go boo somewhere else.
Not true! The hardware requirements are far below the XP minimums. In fact, most of the Linux distributions around today require better hardware than what Win FLP requires.
This is an outstanding opportunity for charities and community's for the less fortunate kids and the like! For the past 2 decades those kind of charity based organizations have beed overloaded with the burdin of out dated PC's, softwares, pc accessories, printers, etc. (not to name the unsupported devices that need specific drivers).
OK, I can load up Windows Fundamentals (WinFun?) and connect it to what? A now legacy Win2k terminal server?  A new Win2k3 Terminal server?  If it's a thin client environment, lock down the terminal server and use what ever flavor of RDP client you like.  I've got an environment of linux based thin clients from Neoware (@ about $200 bucks each), "recycled" legacy PCs running thinstation (a linux based version of WinFun), and WinXP PCs.  I'm not sure I would want to pay the extra $$$ just so I get the windows logo right after POST.  I can wait the extra 45 seconds for the MS logo at the logon screen on my salvaged PII running a thinstation distribution.
What am I missing?
I must be missing something as well.
After installing WinFLP on a HP d530 (not a legacy PC I know but I didnt want to wait around) and hooking it to the domain, it operated exactly like full XPSP2 - and by that I mean I installed all of our SOE applications (Office 2003, McAfee Ent 8, Quicktime 7, Acrobat 7, Flash 8 and Shockwave 10, Media Player 10 and Photostory ) with no problem. In fact the only thing different is that visually the start menu is a bit shorter (which can be changed in the start menu settings) and it says Windows Fundamentals at the logon screen.
It can connect to file servers (using network places or browsing the network), it wont handle roaming profiles, the internet is the same and it even updates off our WSUS server, it connects to network printers and you can use Outlook 2003 etc - i could be fooled into thinking that was in fact XPSP2 - where is the XP Embedded component??
Have they changed anything at all? it runs just as slow on a P266MMX with 112MB RAM as if it were running XPSP2 so the speed increase isnt relaly there.
If this is cheaper than running XPSP2 then why not use it? In terms of its operation on a network and for users it is identical.
Same deal here.  If you want to be able to remotely manage this machine (Which is something you can't easily do in a Windows-only environment with thinstation), your footprint is about 700mb of disk, not to mention all the "headaches" that come along with it like security patches etc.
Commit charge was about 120MB just after login.   It reports itself as Windows XPSP2 and doesn't seem to be any "faster" than regular XP.
I'm just not seeing the value unless this is "free", and even then, its debatable.
Thinstation boots completely on a junk machine in about 10-15 seconds tops right to a RDP window - this doesn't even come close, and it looks like a pain to provision.
Any one use a product like Thinstation but is a different solution?
hi to everyone...can u help me guyz on where to download "WINDOWS FUNDAMENTALS FOR LEGACY PCs".....tnxs and advance...

It needs an underlying oem license. It is only for PC's eligible for upgrade under SA and that SA eligibility doesn't move with the PC.

Maybe you should contact gates' charity and request they create a license for your purpose. 


I have installed WinFlp with Office 2003 within an older P3, although, when I try to send/receive mail from Outllook it reports the 0x80040154 error. Googling I read that an Office reinstallation may help but isn´t.Is something about WinFLP? Tanks.


I have installed WinFLP and Office 2003 within an older machine, although, when I try to send/receive mail, Outlook reports the 0x80040154 error.Is something about WinFLP? Tanks


use the forums <a href="/forum" target="_blank">>


I installed WinFLP on an AthlonXP2400+ (2000Ghz) with 512 of RAM an a Nvidia GeForce FX 5200 video board. Video playback is very very slow in full screen. I use VlC player (tried others too with this ocassion, same result). Any ideeas why? My email is Write me if you have a solution.


I'm running WinFLP 5.1.2600 SP2 and Mac OS X as guest OS simultaneously on on top of Host OS - OpenSolaris/POSIX on Intel Quad Core 3.5GHz, 4G DDR3 RAM, 2TB Seagate on SATA2 via VMWare.   All seems well.  Using Dual LCD Screen Extender, I have WinFLP on 1 side and Mac OS X on the other.

As for Legacy Systems, using Dell Dimension Intel 800Mhz, 128MB 800Mhz RAMBUS RAM, 500G Hitachi Drive.  WinFLP seems at par with Win 2000 SP4 w/ a better GUI.  Although some applications won't run Win 2000, on Win FLP no problemo.




What version VLC r u using ?