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Can you help me with my software licensing question?

I am trying to emulate what a user has suggested here:

Use WDS to provide a WinPE image (that contains a RDC client) over PXE.

While I have a working PXE WDS Server with a WinPE Image I am not sure if this is actually allowed. I have tried to find if this is possible but so far I think it may be against the WinPE EULA to use WinPE as a RDC client. Can this be used, or would I be better adding something like a VNC client to the WinPE Image?

marked as duplicate by Bryan, Ben Pilbrow, Tom O'Connor, tombull89, MDMarra Feb 24 '12 at 23:43

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • Your title indicates you want the PE image to be the host but the question indicates you want it to be the client. Please clarify. – John Gardeniers Sep 27 '11 at 9:05
  • I wish the PE Image to contain the client, that is, Remote Desktop Connection, or mstsc.exe. – tombull89 Sep 27 '11 at 9:26
  • @JohnGardeniers ...really? "Am I allowed to add RDC to a WinPE..." make perfect sense to me. I'm not asking "can I RDC to the WinPE enviroment", that's why I put "add" in there. You can't add it from the WinPE image, it was never there in the first place. </nitpick> – tombull89 Sep 27 '11 at 10:37
  • You're right. I've rolled it back. – John Gardeniers Sep 27 '11 at 10:47
  • Sorry to cast the last vote on this, pal. :) – MDMarra Feb 24 '12 at 23:43

Yes and No. Yes it's possible to copy the binaries to WinPE and run the RDP Client. But WinPE is licensed only for administrative purposes. If you're using it as a thin client OS, you're in clear violation of the license.

See my answer to this related question for the list of files: Boot to Remote Desktop

  • Thanks, Chris, I've seen there's a 24-hour-uptime period in the WinPE enviroment before it force reboots to prevent you using it as a Thin Client. In the linked question you say it can be done but I take it using WinPE for a client OS, even one WAIK-customised, is not allowed? – tombull89 Feb 24 '12 at 14:11
  • Correct, WinPE is only licensed for administrative tasks. MS wants you to buy Win Embedded or Win Thin PC if you want to create a thin client. – Chris S Feb 24 '12 at 14:14
  • Out of interest, do you know if Windows ThinPC can be booted purely from PXE in live format? – tombull89 Feb 24 '12 at 14:22
  • Any of the 6.1 kernels can be booted from PXE; the problem is that it all has to load into a RAM disk, which for WinTPC is a minimum of ~3.8GB – Chris S Feb 24 '12 at 18:34

While not directly answering your question (because I'm not sure you can make mstsc.exe work in PE), why not try to work around the problem? Like you mentioned, try VNC. I've packaged other executables in PE environments and had them work just fine. As long as you have network drivers and capability it could do the trick.

Edit: According to Microsoft, as long as the workstation/hardware you are using has its own Windows Pro license, it's ok by them. This isn't my interpretation of their EULA, this was their rep telling me this over the phone.

  • Oh, it's certainly possible as I've managed to get it working. I'd prefer RDC over VNC, but I may as well include both. It'll be an interesting exercise anyway. – tombull89 Oct 13 '11 at 13:52
  • Care to share how? It's not something I've ever tried... although I can come up with a few scenarios. I'm thinking what might be against the EULA is the terminal services piece. I seem to remember dealing with Microsoft and their terminal services license agreements in years past. One specific case involved thin clients and how the terminal service license cost, when added to the price of the thin client, made it harder to justify thin clients in that solution. – Ben Campbell Oct 13 '11 at 14:00
  • I updated my answer to include some license info from Microsoft. – Ben Campbell Oct 13 '11 at 14:24

You can use free implementation of RDP client (like FreeRDP or rdesktop).

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