Terminal Services is a significant departure from the default Windows Server 2003 environment. In all other discussions in this book we have assumed that the user is operating from a self-contained computer system. Otherwise known as a fat client, this system type is responsible for application processing, local storage, and management of the Win32 user interface.

By contrast, Terminal Services uses a thin client. Although the local computer might have storage and a resident OS, all processing is remotely performed on the server. The Windows Server 2003 Terminal Services passes the Win32 user interface to the thin client, where it is locally displayed. As keystrokes and mouse clicks are entered, they are sent to the server for interpretation and execution, after which the server refreshes the thin client's local "terminal" screen. The default Windows Server 2003 environment is a decentralized, multiconsole environment, but Terminal Services provides server-based, multiple user capabilities (see Figure).

Figure. Terminal Server–Thin Client Relationship


The Terminal Server operates with either Windows Server 2003 workgroups or domains (see Figure). Users of thin-client systems must be authenticated, and as such their privileges are defined by Windows Server 2003 group policies. Users of thin-client terminals are like their fat-client counterparts except for some differences in system configuration and hardware availability. Windows Server 2003 Terminal Services supplies terminal clients for Microsoft Windows environments only. Client support for other OSs must be obtained from third-party vendors (Figure).

2. Terminal Services in a Domain Environment


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