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Note: Microsoft no longer offers Windows MultiPoint Server. However, Windows Server now has a MultiPoint Services role that does not have the 20-user limit of MultiPoint Server.
Windows MultiPoint Server is a thin client or shared resource computing software solution in which one host computer is shared by multiple users simultaneously. Basically, it allows one computer to serve several people in a lab or library at very low cost and with minimum maintenance. TechSoup and Interconnection, one of our Refurbished Computer Initiative partners, teamed up to supply a group of nonprofits and libraries with everything they would need to set up a MultiPoint Server lab in their environment. In most cases, we sent them the instructions, hardware, and software they’d need and then stood back and watched how the installation went. We then did check-ins on how the MultiPoint Server system held up under use.
The Associated Recreation Council (ARC) was one of our test sites. They are a nonprofit that has a close partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation Department. The program offers Seattle residents with a variety of recreational and lifelong learning programs, classes, and activities. One of ARC’s RecTech Coalition programs wanted a Multipoint Server lab in their Chinatown International District Community Center. ARC already has a training lab there that provides lifelong learning opportunities for older adults, many of whom speak languages other than English. The program specializes in Internet job search, resume preparation support, software training workshops, English as a second language (ESL) classes, and an Earned Income Tax Credit Program developed in conjunction with United Way of King County. We worked with Young Pham, ARC’s technology support person.
This was a five-station donation:
Installation Date: Oct. 23, 2012
Existing lab IT system the new MultiPoint Server system replaces: six older Gateway Pentium 4 desktops with Internet connectivity via 13 MB Wave Cable
Young Pham, who regards his tech skills as medium, set up the MultiPoint Server system. It took him 30 minutes to set up hardware largely without using the directions we supplied. It took another hour to get all terminals activated. He did use instructions for that and reported that they were complete and easy to follow.
Young had some trouble getting Internet Explorer to connect to the Internet on the server computer, but after restarting, it began working. We also discovered that the Plugable USB docking stations needed additional software to run on MultiPoint Server, so Young consulted with Charles Brennich of Interconnection and then downloaded DisplayLink USB MultiPoint Server driver software and installed it.
The new MultiPoint Server system will mainly be used for open public access, primarily Internet use. It will also be used for digital literacy classes, and perhaps for ESL classes. Since ARC has a large number of Chinese users, this lab needs to be multilingual. ARC installed the MultiPoint Server traditional Chinese language pack, so one user can have their session in English and another user can have their session in Chinese.
To ensure an easy restoration of the configured MultiPoint Server software, Young used Clonzilla to take an a ISO image of the software in case it crashes and needs to be re-installed. He said that this will save considerable time in not having to re-install all the software drivers for their particular system. He does not use an additional program like Faronics Deep Freeze for that.
Young also takes care of regular software updates for MultiPoint Server, MS Office, Adobe Flash, Shockwave, 7zip, and Adobe Reader. He reports very much appreciating having to maintain just one computer.
Young Pham recommends MultiPoint Server for use in any other public access environments.
Image: Young Pham of ARC, photo by Charles Brennick
This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License.