Hardware

Web-enable Win2K Terminal Services with TSAC

Terminal Services Advanced Client (TSAC) allows Windows Terminal Services to run from a Web browser and thus greatly streamlines client connections. See how to install, set up, and run TSAC in a Windows NT/2000 environment.


Terminal Services Advanced Client (TSAC) offers a Web browser-enabled Windows Terminal Services session using ActiveX. This allows any 32-bit Windows client that's running Internet Explorer with ActiveX controls enabled to run programs from a WTS server. The only caveats are that the Web browser must be configured to allow ActiveX controls to download automatically, and each client still requires a Terminal Services Client Access License (TS CAL) if you are running your terminal server in Application Mode.

The main benefit of using TSAC is central deployment. You simply install the TSAC software on a terminal server Web server, and clients connect to download the ActiveX control and the initial connection page.

This tutorial will guide you through a typical setup of TSAC using Windows 2000 Terminal Services. It assumes that the IIS server is on a separate Windows 2000 server and that the WWW service is installed and started.

Setting up TSAC
First, you’ll need to locate a copy of the Tswebsetup.exe file required for installing TSAC. The easiest way of doing this is with the Windows 2000 Service Pack 1. (This file is not included with SP2.) You will find Tswebsetup.exe in the \VALUEADD\TSAC folder on SP1. Alternatively, you can download it from the Microsoft site.

Run Tswebsetup.exe on a Windows 2000 Server running IIS5. You’ll be prompted to install the Terminal Services Web Client package but note that you must install this on the server running IIS and not the client PC. The installation will involve the following steps:
  1. Accept the license agreement.
  2. You will be prompted for the virtual Web directory to use. By default this will be \Inetpub\wwwroot\TSWeb.
  3. You’ll be asked if you want to read the release notes. This refers to the file Readme.htm, which is copied over into the installation folder, so you can read this later if you choose. It contains information about the three new WTS client packages included in SP1 and not just the Web-based client.
  4. By default, the newly installed Web site will be called TSWeb with authentication set to Anonymous And Integrated Windows, and it will have Read And Scripts Only execution.
  5. On a client PC that’s running IE4 or above, load the browser and connect to the server’s TSWeb site. For example, if your Web server is on the intranet and is called webserver, type http://webserver/tsweb.
  6. You should see the default connection page for Microsoft Windows 2000 Terminal Services Web Connection, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A
The default connection page for TSAC


As you can see from the instructions on the Web page, you need to type in the terminal server details, which you can do by name or IP address, and then click the Connect button. By default, the client will be prompted to download the TSAC ActiveX control, as shown in Figure B. Click Yes.

Figure B
The prompt to download the TSAC control


You’ll briefly see the browser show a blank screen. If you scroll down, it will display the information that you’re logged in to the name (or address) of the server you specified. Then, your screen will switch into a new window showing the same log on screen you would see if you were sitting at the console of the Windows 2000 server. You'll be prompted for your user name and password (and domain, if this is usually displayed). Type in your logon details, and by default, the desktop display will be the same as if you were sitting at the server itself.

To log off safely, either choose Start | Shut Down and select the Log Off option or use the new Start | Settings | Windows Security option, which will display the same dialog box you would see if you pressed [Ctrl][Alt][Del] at the server, confirming the server you're connected to. Select the Log Off option, which will return you to the Connect To Terminal Server page.

Connect again, this time specifying a screen size suitable for your monitor (for example 800 x 600) by using the Size dropdown list box to load your Terminal Services session in a window rather than full-screen mode. Select the Send Logon Information For This Connection Option. This will display two additional boxes for the User Name and Domain, as shown in Figure C.

Figure C
Specifying the window size and logon information


If your terminal server is in a workgroup rather than a domain, simply leave the domain blank. You may have realized that there’s no password field. For security reasons, Microsoft decided not to include a password field here, so you must type this in the Log On screen when connected to the terminal server.

This time, you’re not prompted to download the control, since it’s already installed. Also, you’ll see the Log On To Windows prompt in your browser window, which makes it more obvious that this is a remote connection. Your user name and domain will already be specified, but you will need to supply your password. You may have to experiment with the screen size that best suits your monitor settings and your browser.

Final word
Now that you have TSAC set up, you can deploy the Web address to users in various ways. You could simply send an e-mail with a link to the TSWeb directory. You could advertise the link on your intranet Web site. You might deploy IE with the URL as a listed Favorite (e.g., using IEAK) or as a desktop shortcut that loads IE with the TSWeb URL (e.g., with disk imaging). Alternatively, you may want to keep these services for a few administrators to use, in which case you could simply make it known by word of mouth only.

Next week, we’re going to offer some tips that will help you optimally run and manage TSAC in a production environment.

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