Thin and Zero Clients are usually associated with desktop virtualization (VDI) and Host desktop environments (DaaS), but it is important to distinguish their differential features.
Thin Client devices are traditionally end point devices that run on Linux or Windows Embedded (WES7/WE8) and to a lesser extent in Windows CE. Windows CE is deployed much less frequently due to the lack of connection brokers from major providers and to limited peripheral support.
Security is one of the points in favour of these devices, since it is extremely difficult for a Windows Embedded Thin Client to be infected by a virus and its own protection filter getseasily rid of them rebooting the system, since the filter restricts any thing written in the solid state storage. It is also virtually impossible that a virus enters a Linux Thin Client.
Zero Clients, instead of an operating system, have a specifically designed processor for the three VDI protocols (PCoIP, HDX, or RDS).
Most decoding and display processes are conducted in dedicated hardware and therefore, it is more efficient to use a client software and a standard CPU and GPU as with a Thin Client configuration.
In addition, Zero Clients only takes a few seconds to turn on and are immune to viruses, malware, and other threats. Thus, it decreases total downtime of the device and increases productivity for end users. The Zero Client device requires very little maintenance and rarely need an upgrade, unless there is a change or improvement significant in the VDI or Protocol the BIOS update, usually having to do with further improving peripheral support.
More information: 10ZiG Forum