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How to connect to Microsoft Terminal Server with Linux diskless PC

I needed to set up an environment where my old PC's work with my Microsoft Terminal Services server without use any Windows client (like XP, 7 or 8), must PC's were diskless , this give me few options, so I decide to install PXE Server and use in conjunction with my current Windows 2008 DHCP Server.
To mount the environment I used one old PC with disk where I installed CentOS 6.5 to serve as a PXE Server, download Thinstation 2.2, and configure my current Microsoft DHCP server with the Bootp options, also configure my Terminal Services Server in order to accept Remote Desktop connections from Thinstation.

    • Download and  Install Centos 6.5 on a computer  (steps to do it are out of this guide)
    • Open a terminal window and type the following in order to install TFT Server
      • Connect as a root user, you could type the following:
        • su - root
        • Type password for root user
      • yum install tftp-server
    • Disable SELinux
        • Gedit /etc/sysconfig/selinux
        • Change the line according to the following:
          • SELINUX=disabled
        • Disable SELinux immediately
          • setenforce 0
    • Edit the next file doing the following:
      • gedit /etc/xinetd.d/tftp 
      • Then change the option "disable" to "disable = no"
    • Then restart Xinetd Service  as follows:
      • service xinetd restart
    • Install Syslinux:
      • yum install syslinux
    • Configure IPTables (Firewall) to accept TFTP requests:
      • gedit /etc/sysconfig/iptables
      • Add the follwoing line:
        • -A INPUT -m state --state NEW -m udp -p udp --dport 69 -j ACCEPT
      • Save file and restart service
        • /sbin/service iptables restart
    • Create on root folder (/) a folder named tftpboot
      • mkdir /tftpboot
    • Copy the following files to tftpboot folder:
cp /usr/share/syslinux/pxelinux.0 /tftpboot/
cp /usr/share/syslinux/menu.c32 /tftpboot/
cp /usr/share/syslinux/memdisk /tftpboot/
cp /usr/share/syslinux/mboot.c32 /tftpboot/
cp /usr/share/syslinux/chain.c32 /tftpboot/

    • Download Thinstation 2.2 to whatever folder (i.e. /home/robert/documents/Thinstation)
    • Locate and uncompressing the file  named "Thinstation-2.2.2g.tar.bz2"  inside  the last  folder  (you could use a right click mouse and select Archive Manager)
    • Open a terminal window and run the following command:
      • ./build
    • Still inside terminal Window , copy  files FROM the following source folder /home/robert/documents/Thinstation/Thinstation-2.2.2g/boot-images/pxe/ TO the following destination folder /tftpboot (you could move inside the soruce folder and then execute the next statement to copy files)
      • cp -R -L * /tftpboot
    • Configure xinit for tftp
        • Gedit /etc/xinetd.d/tftp
        • Modify the following two lines (server_args must to be configured with your tftp folder):
      server_args = -s /tftpboot
      disable = no
      • Restart Xinit Service
        • /etc/init.d/xinetd restart
    • Until here, when your users boot via PXE they will get inside the following window and will connect to server they want.

    • If you need that your users log into an specific server, do the next steps:

    • Copy the file /home/robert/documents/Thinstation/Thinstation-2.2.2g/thinstation.conf.sample TO /tftpboot/
    • Edit the file with the following command:
      • Gedit /tftpboot/
      • Search for "“Big Bad Server Road Runner" section
      • Below the last section search and Modify "#SESSION_#_TYPE=freerdp" with "SESSION_0_TYPE=freerdp"
      • Also search and modify for "#SESSION_#_FREERDP_SERVER=" with "SESSION_0_FREERDP_SERVER=yourserverIPAddress"

    • For Windows DHCP  you will need to go to DHCP Scope Options and select  "Boot Server Host Name" which is your TFTP server and "Boot File Name" in this case "pxelinux.0"

In order to configure terminal server I will need to go to Control Panel/System and Security/System and then to the option "Remote Settings" , and select the option "Allow remote  connections " and uncheck box that is below with legend similar to this one "Allow only connections from computers that run Remote Desktop with Network level authentication" and click OK to finish.

Now you could boot your PXE clients in order to connect to your Microsoft Terminal Server (2008 or 2012) through Thinstation and CentOS, this configuration allows to you to use old PC's without pay for a Windows client license.

About Robert SA

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