PowerPoint on a Thin Client

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The purpose of this article to describe a setup that would allow a remote user to update a PowerPoint Presentation running off of a ThinManager Thin Client without access to ThinManager. In this setup, the end user would save a PowerPoint locally and then have it automatically transferred to the Terminal Server at a predetermined time.

Terminal Server Setup

The Terminal Server will require PowerPoint Viewer to be installed locally, and the PowerPoint Files to either be copied locally or a network location accessible to the Terminal Server. For the purposes of this article, the Terminal Server is also the ThinManager Server.

Installing PowerPoint Viewer

A full Office Installation is not necessary to simply view PowerPoint Files. Microsoft has released a free PowerPoint viewer, available from their website: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=6.
Download and install the Viewer onto your Terminal Server. Configuration will be covered later in this article.

Creating a Network Share

In order for the PowerPoint files to be modified remotely, they first must be shared. The ultimate location of the shared file on your terminal server is up to you, but for the purposes of this article everything will be done from the C:\Shared directory.

C:\Shared showing the example PowerPoint
C:\Shared showing the example PowerPoint
  • Create a new directory in the root of C:\ and name it Shared
  • Copy the PowerPoint into the shared directory (C:\Shared).
  • Right click on the folder > Properties > Sharing Tab > “Share…”
    • This will bring up the File Sharing Window where you may specify what users can connect to this share. You will need to make a judgment call on who gets access to the share: whether “Everyone” or a single user/group has access will need to be determined based on your specific needs.It is critical that whatever user is connecting has both <b>Read and Write Permissions
Permissions Window showing Read/Write for Everyone
Permissions Window showing Read/Write for Everyone

ThinManager Setup

ThinManager will need a Display Client that is setup to launch PowerPoint, as well as an automated method to disable the terminal so a new PowerPoint may be copied over.

Setup Display Client

For detailed information, see the Display Clients Article

We need to setup a new Display Client and have it show only the PowerPoint. We can achieve this by utilizing the AppLink Feature and have the Command Line Arguments point to the PowerPoint located in C:\Shared. <applink.png>

  • The AppLink Path we wish to use is: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12\PPTVIEW.EXE"
  • The Command Line Options we wish to use are: "C:\Shared\Test PPT.pptx"
AppLink Configuration Page Showing the Default Install Path for PowerPoint Viewer
AppLink Configuration Page Showing the Default Install Path for PowerPoint Viewer
NOTE: Double Quotes are Mandatory for a path that has a space in it, if Double Quotes are not entered, Windows will only process the path up to the first space, creating undesirable results.

After creating the Display Client, go ahead and assign it to your Terminal.

Setting the Schedule

PowerPoint will lock the file currently in use, which prevents it from being modified. To get around the file lock, we can setup ThinManager to disable a terminal for a specified amount of time at a predetermined time. To set the Schedule:

  • Right Click on the Terminal > Modify > Next x2 > Check the “Set Schedule” Box
  • Create the following schedule by clicking the “Schedule” Box. Leave yourself a little bit of time between rebooting and enabling the terminal as during this window, the new PowerPoint will be transferred. 5 minutes should be sufficient for most applications.
  1. Disable Terminal: Disabling the Terminal will prevent the Display Client from being loaded.
  2. Reboot Terminal: Rebooting the Terminal cause the Terminal to reboot in a Disabled State. This may be scheduled at the same time as Disable Terminal, but must be listed after Disable Terminal in the Event Schedule.
  3. Enable Terminal: Enabling the Terminal will allow the Terminal to be rebooted into the normal state with the updated file.
Terminal Options Wizard Page and Event Schedule Window Showing a Completed Example Schedule.
Terminal Options Wizard Page and Event Schedule Window Showing a Completed Example Schedule.

Workstation Setup

The final piece to this puzzle is to configure a Windows Workstation to automatically synchronize the local version of the PowerPoint to the version residing on the Terminal Server.

Map Network Drive

The most efficient way and user friendly way of transferring files between the Terminal Server and the End User is to map a network drive.

  • Browse to the Network Share Created in the Creating a Network Share step above.
  • Right click on the shared folder > Map Network Drive

Install SyncToy

The actual copying of files will be handled by SyncToy – A simple Microsoft Application that is used to synchronize folders between locations.
It may be downloaded from: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=15155

Configure SyncToy

At this point, SyncToy may be configured in 3 steps:

  1. Specify the folder pair. Local files on the left, Mapped Network Drive on the right.
  2. Configure the Synchronization to "Echo" Mode.
  3. Naming the Operation.

SyncToy with Local and Remote Destinations Specified.
SyncToy with Local and Remote Destinations Specified.

SyncToy with the Echo Option Selected.
SyncToy with the Echo Option Selected.

SyncToy with a Name Specified for the Sync Operation
SyncToy with a Name Specified for the Sync Operation

Automating SyncToy

On it’s own, SyncToy will only perform a synchronization on demand, with no option to schedule synchronizations. We can use the Windows Built in Task Schedulerto automate the task.
Launch the Task Scheduler by going to Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Task Scheduler

Create a Basic Task Page with populated Name and Description.
In the Actions menu, click Create Basic Task and then give it name.

Task Trigger Page with a Daily Operation Selected.Task Trigger Frequency Sub-page with a Daily Operation at 2:02 AM specified.
Specify the frequency that the synchronization should happen. This value should be within the scheduled downtime created in the Configure SyncToy Section

Create Basic Task Wizard Page with "Start a program" selected.
The Task should Start a program.

Start a Program Sub-Page with the SyncToy Path and -R argument specified.
Specify the Program as: "C:\Program Files\SyncToy 2.1\SyncToyCmd.exe", with an argument of: -R

Summary Page with Name, Description, Trigger and Action Specified.
Confirm your settings and Finish out the Wizard.

End User Considerations

  • For the synchronization to happen, the user's workstation must be powered on.
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