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I have a small network with 6 users running on Windows server 2003. The workstations are antique and since all they do is transcribe medical records I'm considering replacing them with a thin client device and using virtual desktops. I've found some nice wireless devices reasonably priced so that's easy enough. I've been trying to determine what is possible, cost effective and the least hassle.

Could I simply add a Windows 7 Pro or enterprise machine to the network and serve the virtual desktops from that without otherwise changing things? If so is that how-to spelled out somewhere?

I could replace the current server with a new Pro/Ultimate/Enterprise box and get out of the domain business entirely. Would that box also serve the desktops if I made sure it had the horsepower when I configured it? Again, are the steps for that spelled out somewhere? I found a lot about adding servers to provide desktops and a lot about using Windows & machines to connect but not a white paper or guide for doing this in a small network like mine.

I was - long ago - a Citrix certified guy so I know the concepts and have done group policies and security. There's no email or anything fancy in this setup just 5 or 6 folks transcribing audio and saving them files.

Any ideas, pointers or guidance?



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Two pivotal aspects of this are: what software/apps you are using to do the transcription and is the server just being used as a file/data store or is it a key component of the transcription app. A third question is whether you are welded to Windows solution or would consider something else. – Linker3000 Mar 9 '11 at 20:06
Currently we use Word Perfect but would move to Open Office with the upgrade. The audio files come from a Lanier machine in the domain that serves audio to the user after it's assigned. Currently the server simply stores data and manages access. I'm not sure what the options for changing are at this point; hadn't really considered it. The Lanier application runs on a Windows machine and I use Paperport Pro for a lot of file work. Clients expect files in a windows readable format. I'd have to chat with Lanier about any option outside Windows. – Fred Mar 9 '11 at 21:14
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Could I simply at a Windows 7 Pro or enterprise machine to the network and serve the virtual desktops from that without otherwise changing things?

This is not supported by Microsoft. The "official" way to do this is via Windows Server running Terminal Services/Remote Desktop Services, and recently also via Windows Multipoint Server.

I believe there are third-party devices that can do this for a windows-7 machine, but you have to buy those specific devices.

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I was afraid of that. I had priced another 2003/2008 server but costs seemed to be getting away a bit and was hoping for another option Multi-point seems to be for schools only, everything I read about it speaks to teachers student etc. I'm not sure how that fits. – Fred Mar 9 '11 at 20:33

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