I recently observed this strange set of workstation at my workplace where around 30 monitors are installed and it seemed to be running fine.There was no CPU connected to the monitors but there was a modem like thing which has connection to the monitor and in parallel to other PCs adjacent. Later it was realized that a virtual connection has been set up.

From what explanation i received,there was a main Computer with a CPU and server connections. And the required software were installed on that PC which could be accessed by the remaining 30 PCs.

My main question now is how is this connection established.Would it compromise on the performance or speed while the remaining users perform their respective tasks. Also can the processes being executed on the respective PCs be tracked at this main server machine.


It is a terminal server, with thin clients connected to it via a "dumb" machine (offers basic networking, video and mouse/keyboard input). Everything is living off of one server that everyone shares, and is therefore managed by an IT department. The clients connect (usually) with the RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) used by Windows Servers, although there are some that use VNC or other remote technologies. The main point though is that the devices that connect the keyboard mouse and monitor are not processing anything themselves, but rather, sending all input to the server, and taking in the output for the screen.

It will affect system performance as more users connect, but most terminal servers are built to handle large loads of data and processing. And since everything is actually taking place on a remote server, yes, everything can be logged

  • Can network connectivity be established with thin clients? – techie Jul 4 '12 at 18:13
  • That's how it connects – Canadian Luke Jul 4 '12 at 18:24
  • Is tracking at other machines possible from this server machine?(without any additional s/w installation for tracking) – techie Jul 4 '12 at 18:28
  • All computers will connect to the terminal server. It's one computer, period. If there is tracking, it probably tracking everything. The thin client would (most likely) not have a hard drive, and therefore would not have the capacity (let alone technology) to "track" you manually – Canadian Luke Jul 4 '12 at 18:30
  • But then the thin client allows only i/p and mouse movements over the data transmitted from this main machine.So it is possible that the process flows generated at individual pcs can be viewed at the main terminal? – techie Jul 4 '12 at 18:32

To add on what @Luke said, a common way for the thin client to connect to the terminal server is over what is commonly referred to as Remote Desktop. Usually, the server is hosting multiple virtual machines, e.g. each user's workstation.

Most thin clients have a barebones linux OS installed on a small flash drive embedded in the motherboard of the "modem like thing." When the client boots, it automatically starts a remote session with the terminal server, and displays a log in prompt to the workstation OS.

  • Yes thats exactly what i see just like u mentioned.How is such a connection set up any ideas. – techie Jul 4 '12 at 17:27
  • @techie When the server is set up and running, you add the thin clients. During the thin client setup, you enter in the address of the terminal server for it to connect to, then it saves that information for you. To learn how to set up a terminal server is out of the scope of the site, but would be more into the ServerFault site – Canadian Luke Jul 4 '12 at 17:43
  • all of what @Luke said it right, although you do not always need to 'add' thin clients. Often times the virtual machines are only accessible locally (within your office). – Cameron Aziz Jul 4 '12 at 18:52

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