Friday, June 26, 2009

VMware View Client as a shell for XPe and XP Pro clients

Using the Win32 View Client on XPe or XP Pro will allow you to use the full featured View client with all the bells and whistles. The problem is that it's still XP and can be confusing to your users to have them log into one desktop just to send them to another virtual desktop. So how can we fix that? If you replace the shell with the View client you can eliminate the XP desktop and on a boot of the client the only interface presented to a user is the View Client. This makes logging in simple and clean. The problem with just replacing the shell with the View client is that once the user exits, logs out, or just accidentally closes the client, It will not start again automatically. Below is a way to have the Client restart automatically and hide the needed command window.

The following instructions will hide the XP desktop and present the user with just the View client and will restart if it gets closed. This was done on an HP t5730 Thin client but the process should be the same for most XPe Thin clients and even a repurposed XP Pro desktop.

Create a View.cmd file with the following.

@echo off

:View

"C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware View\Client\bin\wswc.exe"

goto View

Place it where ever you like, c:\BatchFiles for example

Create a vbs script with the following in it. Place it wherever you like C:\BatchFiles for example.

Set WshShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")

WshShell.Run chr(34) & "C:\BatchFiles\view.cmd" & Chr(34), 0

Set WshShell = Nothing

Open Regedit and go to ;

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

Change Shell from explorer.exe to the new shell path and the Windows Scripting command, e.g wscript c:\BatchFiles\view.vbs

Commit the changes to the flash drive if using XPe.

ewfmgr c: -commit

Reboot. Enjoy the new View only interface!

Once this is done there will be no desktop for any users, including Administrator. You can still get to the Task Manager with a CTRL-ALT-DEL but the interface is gone. You can modify the Registry setting to use a specific user by logging in as that user and modifying HKEY_CURRENT_USER instead.
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