Thin Client

What Does Thin Client Mean?

A thin client is a networked computer with few locally stored programs and a heavy dependence on network resources. It may have very limited resources of its own, perhaps operating without auxiliary drives, CD-R/W/DVD drives or even software applications.

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Typically, a thin client is one of many network computers that share computation needs by using the resources of one server. A thin client often has low cost hardware with few moving parts and can usually function better in a hostile environment than a fat or rich client.

A thin client is also known as a slim or lean client.

Techopedia Explains Thin Client

In contrast to a thin client, a fat or rich client is a computer with many locally stored programs and resources and little dependence on network resources.

By further comparison, a fat client balances program dependence locally with a hard/connected drive and device resources, while a thin client balances program dependence with a network server’s hard/connected drive and device resources.

A system designer determines this balance, depending on whether lengthy computations must be performed by the client or server. For example, a computer that handles most of a simple drawing’s editing with sophisticated software stored on a network server may be considered a thin client. A computer that handles most of a complex drawing’s editing with locally stored and sophisticated software may be a fat client. Editing or viewing accessibility to the drawing and editing software is determined by the system designer.

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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…