Monday, December 22, 2008
I have several laptops being used around my house. Being older machines, I have set them up to be used as RDP (Remote Desktop) clients to a single powerful desktop - yep, just dumb terminals! This doesn't work well for graphics/video, but has huge advantages for me for everything else:
- Single machine, single licenses for all my software
- The desktop runs Vista, which has awesome Parental controls features for limiting internet access and computer usage times
- The clients are running XP with network access only to the desktop
Even though Vista supports RDP, only one person can be logged in at a time. I've found and use a great hack to allow all of us (four simultaneous users) to work on the desktop at the same time. I usually shy way away from hacks, but this one seems reasonably safe, and actually works well. I had trouble installing the initial version on my Vista Ultimate 64bit SP1 system, but found this one works great.
In addition to RDP limitations with graphics, I've found that this multi-user setup has a couple gotchas:
- Java-based apps don't like mult-user mode, so the kids have to coordinate who uses that particular app one at a time
- The sound drivers crash when more than one person tries to use them - sometimes.
- Sometimes a new RDP session will get created instead of using an existing session, which can be confusing