VM Junkie

July 10, 2009

Using the HP t5545 Thin Client with VMware View

Filed under: hp, thinclients, vdi, view, vmware — ermac318 @ 2:22 pm

This is my first in a series of articles outlining how to setup various Thin Clients with VMware View.

One of my favorite thin clients as of late is the HP t5545. It’s a very inexpensive thin client with a lot of great features – local web browser, full VMware View support, Multimedia redirection, USB redirection, and more. Up until recently, however, getting all that to work was a bit of a challenge.I’m glad to note that as of the latest firmware image (M5ST0031), most of the annoyances from previous versions are gone. View support is built-in (along with HP’d RDP enhancements like MMR and USB), and they’ve significantly improved the UI and management functionality. So the first step in setting up your thin client is flashing it to the newest firmware.

Download the firmware from the image above and run it. You’ll eventually see this screen.

imagetool

HP Thin Client Imaging Tool

My recommendation for your testing is to use USB Format. Stick a USB key (at least 512MB in size) in your system, and then format it using the tool. This will give you a bootable device that you can boot the thin client from.

After sticking the formatted key in your t5545, it will boot the key and confirm you want to flash. Hit Y twice, and when the flash is complete remove the key and reboot the thin client.

defaultscreen

Control Center in User Mode

You system should then boot up to a screen that should look a lot like this one:

From here, we can configure the Thin Client to be just how we want it. For this article, I’m going to set it up to be a seemless launch of the View Client.

First, we should switch to Admin mode. This can be done by clicking the HP icon in the bottom corner and selecting Administrator/User Mode Switch. Note: the default admin password is “root”.

Switch to Admin Mode

Switch to Admin Mode

When in Admin mode, the Connections bar in the control center will appear red instead of blue.

Control Center in Admin mode

Control Center in Admin Mode

From here, click on Control Panel. You’ll see all the various configuration options broken up into five categories.

  • Peripherals: Display, Input, Sound, and Printing.
  • Setup: Network, NTP, Language, Security, and GUI settings.
  • Personalization: Logos, Themes, Backgrounds and Screensavers.
  • Management: Agent Settings, Factory Reset, Imaging Tools, Remote Control.
  • Advanced: CDA mode, Text Editor, and X Terminal.

For the most part, Peripherals is good as-is. If you need to add local printers, or change your display resolution or language, this is where to do it. By default, the thin client uses the native resolution as provided by the DDC info from the monitor.

First, assuming your network is working, lets setup NTP. Under setup, select Date and Time.

NTP & Time zone

NTP & Time zone

From here, check the Use Network Time Server checkbox, and enter the address (or addresses) of your NTP servers. Also, don’t forget to select a timezone. Once we’ve done that and clicked okay, our time in the lower right should be correct.

Next, lets setup the various GUI options. Launch ThinPro Configuration.

ThinPro Configuration

ThinPro Configuration

The first screen here determines what rights the User account has. Do you want your user to be able to add new connection types, or make special connections to servers or web sites? I don’t, so I uncheck all of these. This means that only the Admin account can configure new connections.

Next, click the Control Panel option on the left of this window:

Control Panel Permissions

Control Panel Permissions

On this screen, you determine what Control Panel options the user account can access to. If you want the user to not even see the control panel, select Kiosk mode at the top.

Finally, under the Desktop tab, we can make some changes to the main GUI that the user sees. If we want the user to not see the Control Center at all (and rely on auto-launch configuration to connect the user), uncheck the first checkbox. If you want to hide the taskbar as well, you can uncheck that too. I recommend leaving the first and second boxes unchecked – that gives a pretty clean UI for the user on startup.

Desktop settings

Desktop settings

Finally, under management you can setup settings for the built-in Altiris or HP Device Manager agents, as well as enable and password-protect the built-in VNC Server.

Now that we’ve got the configuration all setup, lets go back to Connections and add our VMware View server connection. In the connections bar, select Add and pick VMware View.

Add VMware View Connection 1

Add VMware View Connection 1

On the first screen, we can name the connection, as well as pre-populate most of the various fields. Usually you want to at least specify the connection broker URL. However, you can specify the Domain or the name of the Desktop Pool you want to connect to, as well. You can specify the username and password, but this would only be useful in the case where you’re using a single shared user account.

Add VMware View Connection 2

Add VMware View Connection 2

On the next screen, I recommend checking “Automatic Login”. This will cause all the options on the previous screen to change from the default selection to a mandatory one. For example, without this box checked, when you launch the connection it will wait for confirmation before contacting the URL you specified. Once this is checked, it will automatically connect to the URL.

The rest of the options should be self-explanatory, except remember that USB storage mapping may be redundant if you are using the HP USB Redirection functionality.

Add VMware View Connection 3

Add VMware View Connection 3

The last screen is also very important. If you want this connection to automatically launch on logon, change the autostart priority to 1. If you want this connection to automatically restart after disconnection, check the Auto Reconnect box.

Whew, all done with that part! There’s one other important thing to configure, and that’s the MMR and USB redirection. Next to the Add button is a General Settings button. Click that and select RDP.

From here we can turn on and off MMR and USB, and even determine the kind of USB devices that we want to forward to the remote session.

USB Redirection Settings

USB Redirection Settings

Note: in order for MMR and USBR to work, you will need to install a server-side component on your VMware View template, which you can download here.

Now that we’re done, click the HP logo in the corner and pick Logoff to restart the GUI. Now, we should see our system automatically launch the View client and connect our broker.

View Cilent Autolaunch

View Cilent Autolaunch

Now this thin client’s ready to go. We can take all the work we’ve done here and replicate it to multiple thin clients in many ways. The first, and most scalable, is to use Altiris or HP Device Manager (both free – the thin client includes an Altiris client license and HPDM is completely free) to take the thin client image and deploy it to other thin clients. If you lack this infrastructure, however, don’t despair! HP has a built-in tool called HP ThinState, which you can use to capture only the settings of the thin client, or the entire image itself, and send them to a USB device or an FTP server. Then from other thin clients, you can apply these settings or download and apply the image. For more info on ThinState, check out the ThinPro manual.

Finally, there’s one extra tidbit for my special readers out there. A customer recently had a complaint that the default RDesktop settings on the t5545 are to remove the desktop background when connecting to a VM. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any way to change this, so I contacted the developer of the HP View Client. He was kind enough to, in a coupe hours, knock out a modified View Client binary for this thin client to change the default RDesktop settings used by the View Client. You can download it, along with installation instructions, on my Sky Drive. I also wanted to point out that an updated version of the client, due out very soon, will have this built into the GUI as well.

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10 Comments

  1. Great article!

    Im trying to connect with VMware View on my T5545 and select HP RGS.

    Is there 3.1 view mgr for the TC?

    Comment by rickymh — July 29, 2009 @ 2:33 pm

  2. Sorry, I believe as of right now the RGS client on the t5545 thin client only connects to standard RGS senders, not VMware-View integrated ones. In other words, the View Client on the t5545 only supports RDP.
    According to HP this functionality should be coming soon.

    Comment by ermac318 — July 29, 2009 @ 7:23 pm

  3. Do be aware that you can now get the same interface on the T5145?

    HP ThinPro for HP t5145 Thin Client (128 MB) ;-))

    Comment by Dave Caddick — August 17, 2009 @ 3:07 am

  4. Vmware View 3.1 is out, for the TC that should let you pick RGS protocol.

    http://tinyurl.com/n6m2se

    Comment by RickyMH — September 23, 2009 @ 1:43 pm

  5. Hi Ricky,

    Just as an update I have also posted this for the T5545?

    http://www.techagility.info/2009/10/looking-deeper-in-to-the-t5545-thinpro-linux-thin-client-from-hp-and-how-to-tweak-it-and-make-deployments-a-breeze/

    Cheers,
    Dave

    Comment by Dave Caddick — October 12, 2009 @ 5:49 pm

  6. Can you ask the hp vmware view developer if he has seen any weird issues with num lock.

    We connect to our Windows XP machine, then we also rdp into a terminal server from there. Num locks works on and off in that session. From what I can tell it something on thin clinet end.

    Comment by Sean Bruton — February 16, 2010 @ 9:08 am

  7. If you would like to email him you can get his address by running the vmware-view client from the XTERM of a t5545 with –help at the end – I don’t have his email at hand at the moment.

    Comment by ermac318 — February 16, 2010 @ 11:55 pm

  8. Do you know if an SNMP Daemon is available for the T5545?

    If not, is there a way of modifying the OS to include one?

    Comment by Mike — February 26, 2010 @ 2:34 am

  9. Hi Mike,

    Open up the Xterminal from the advanced tab and start looking at using fsunlock then apt-get, once you have what you want then lock it back down with fslock before rebooting?

    Hope that helps?
    Dave

    Comment by Dave Caddick — March 2, 2010 @ 5:08 pm


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