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Windows Server 2008: The Definitive Guide by Jonathan Hassell

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Chapter 10. Terminal Services

In the old days of mainframe computing, employees typically used terminal equipment to connect to a big machine in a white room that ran all their programs and calculations. The terminal only showed the user interface while processing keystrokes and responses from the user; the mainframe in the back actually executed the programs and displayed the results to the end user so that very little processor intelligence resided at the client equipment end. This is largely why these terminal systems were called “dumb.”

Although the move into the personal computing and desktop computing era made large inroads into corporate America, there are still some uses for dumb terminal (or in more modern terminology, “thin client”) functionality. Windows Terminal Services (TS) is a set of programs and utilities that enable this functionality on a more intelligent, contemporary level. In fact, you might already be familiar with Terminal Services in a scaled-down mode. Both Windows XP’s Remote Assistance and Remote Desktop Connection utilities are examples of Terminal Services in action. Terminal Services passes only the user interface of a program running on a server to the client computer, which then passes back the appropriate keyboard strokes and mouse clicks. The server running Terminal Services, which many clients can access simultaneously, manages the connections and the active programs seamlessly. It appears to the user that he’s using his own computer, rather than ...

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