Internet Radio With an Evo T20 Thin Client Needing No Moniter Keyboard or Mouse to Run!





Introduction: Internet Radio With an Evo T20 Thin Client Needing No Moniter Keyboard or Mouse to Run!

Here is how to use an Evo T20 thin client as a stand alone Internet radio receiver :

Why do it Well I did it for 3 reasons
1] because it was a challenge

2]To have a noiseless low consumption unit only 20 watts at peak rather than run a noisey power hungry Full Desktop PC ( I have measured mine and once Booted uses 8 Watts)

3]To find a use for something that otherwise was junk -

These older thin clients are currently getting pulled out of many businesses and can be picked up for anything from a few dollars to $50 dependant on how lucky you are. Have a look on Ebay or better still in the Dumpster out the back of a Network Dealer. Once fully configered no Screen key Board or Mouse is needed - Simply press the on button and after the 2 minutes of booting - Audio of your favorite Internet radio station comes out of the 3.5mm stereo plug ready for headphones or a suitable amplifier - Once you have finished press and hold the same button and the unit turns itself off

To Make things easier a Networked computer on the same Network with a "Shared" directory as a place to store files in the build stage helps, as does an extra mouse keyboard and monitor. The networked computer needs to be running Windows 2000, XP or Vista I do not Know about 7 yet!! There is a way round this using a pendrive which I have posted here

Step 1: First Buy Your EVO T20

Not all Evo T20 thin clients are the same some are quite high specificationed and some are basically Junk - To do this you Need one of them that Runs Windows Nt4e or Windows XPe with enough flash memory basically the 64 megabyte or better . The Windows Ce ones are totally unsuitable for this Project and are basically a Door stop: They all look the same and use the same 5 volt 4 amp power supply the only way to tell them apart is by the part number ; This is located underneath the unit. Other Thin Clients that I have tested and work are the Compaq EVO T30 Thin Client and for the Ultimate Version the " Hp T5700 which can be used as a Video Host".

Fortunately lots of information is available online at the HP web site and other sources
The following Part numbers are the ones it should work on from the HP list
305253-xxx 308791-xxx 311334-xxx

306480-001 is what I have used (128megs of ram and 128meg of flash ) in the demo After several trials any T20 or T30 with 64 megs or more is a possible candidate. With a 64 meg flash you have the options to source a 32 Meg smart media card ( if you can find one ) - slip that into the socket on the EVO's mother board then reflash it as a 96 Meg unit.I have found no way of making a Ce Unit into a NTe. With Windows media player installed a 64meg flash unit still has 9megs of spare space
You will also need a USB mouse a USB key board and a VGA monitor and Wired Internet (a Rj45 cable feeding broadband Internet From a router Ideally set in DHCP mode to give out network Ip addresses)

Step 2: Entering Administrator Mode on Your EVO

Hopefully your Evo T20 is the right sort and has the latest Firmware loaded without any problems If the EVO seems broken ( and if anything goes wrong with this project ) Reflashing the unit is the work of 10 -20 minutes with a suitably configured computer and a cross over cable lots of instructions are available online at and I have also done an Instructable on how to do it as well .

When you turn it on the EVO it will auto boot into the fairly limited User acount and before you can do anything you need to get it into Administrator mode to do this once it is up and running press Tab Home End Left arrow<- Right Arrow-> keys in Quick succession. This should spawn the Login screen
Change Default User Name from User to Administrator and default Password ( User) to Administrator (Both Case sensitive!) and should swap you into Administrator mode. On XPe the Tab Home End left Right 5 key sequence is changed to a simple Press and Hold the Shift Key while Logging Off ( and On again automatically ) User password sets are the same . At this stage all changes are temporary as the Flash drive is still locked and if you restart or reboot you will be back where you started . So you need to Unlock the Flash which is the next step

Step 3: Unlocking Evo Flash

To Unlock the Flash to make permanent changes the Unit needs to be in Administrator Mode
Click on Start >Programs> write Filter and this should start the Write filter Device Control
Click on Flush cache and after a few seconds the NTE Flash memory Write filter will turn off click on close and should now be able to delete and change things permanently
However every time the unit restarts the Memory Write lock will re-engage (It can be turned off but is best left like this as it this does give protection against accidental deletions )

Take this opertunity to delete a few dirrectories to create space for usefull stuff specific dirrectories that can go are Adobe Rapport etc but Leave Windows Media Player / Common files / Internet Explorer/ Windows Media Player / and Orl intact [The Orl dirrectory includes files that permit remoting into the unit over the network]
To do this may need to stop some services through control Panel - I will clarify this in another instructable later .

On XPe units in Administration mode a different Write filter of the same name is used with the Xpe version once the Write lock is turned off it stays turned off untill you turn it back on again even when you reboot.

Step 4: Increase Ram Drive

In Order to loaded needed software need a larger than standard Ram Drive as this is where tempory files are unpacked to - this is accessed through Control Panel.
Once the Ram disk has been enlarged to 30 meg need to reboot.

Remember that when the unit restarts on NTe units the Flash drive will have relocked and so will need to be unlocked again as in step 3 check you have enough space should have about 50+megs on the Drive C: now dependant on the Model and how vigerous you have pruned unneeded programs.

Step 5: Install Software Specifically Real Player

For Most Internet Radio stations you need to install a compatable Windows Media Player ( which can be optained dirrect from microsoft from and for others you need to have a version of Real player installed, If you look at [] there is an up to date list of the Many Internet stations you can set this particular Unit up to stream. - Do not try to install the latest version its to big and won't work you need a specific older version , Version 8 This is where a networked computer with a shared dirrectory comes in Or a Pen drive . The software can be down loaded from or By Doing a Google Search -I have also put it on a page on My own website so it will remain available at

You need to save this in the shared dirrectory as there is not enough space on the EVO's C drive for the compressed install file and to expand the files for the install ( this will be done in the now enlarged Z: drive [30megs] do not install the extras like jukebox basically tick no to every option and should intall without problems -

reboot the EVO and only one or two steps now left .

Step 6: Setting UP Explorer

At this stage if you click on the Internet Explorer Icon should go to the default "" that was set up in the factory this is not much use So After Unlocking the Flash drive again see step 3 click on Control panel and then internet options and then edit the home page to be your favorite internet radio live feed I have mine set to UK BBC Radio  whi\os Urls are listed

now if you click on internet explorer - explorer 5.5 starts then spawns realplayer  or Windows Media Player depending if you have selected a . rm stream or a .AsF  stream and in a few seconds you have your chosen Radio Playing.
Now the clever bit to automate things . Make a short cut copy of Internet Explorer and drag it into the start up folder located in Winnt profiles or in start menu.

This is also a Good time to reduce the ram drive back down to a smaller size about 6-8 meg to increase working ram.

Step 7: Using It Enjoy

Now assuming all is set up right if you turn the EVO on with or without Key board Mouse and Monitor attached ( But obviously a Wired Ethernet Broadband conection ) you will have Internet Audio stream in a few minutes -


If you have any problems get in touch - also if there is sufficent interest will load how to remote into the box so can control it over the network to change station and even record programs.

The Main advantage of this bit of kit is its small so could be build into other Projects . It also has very low power consumption.

Apart from the Audio as there are no moving parts no fans no disks so it is Totally silent ideal for a bedroom!

Can also play Solitaire and Type that Book you have always intended to write on it but that is a different chapter.



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    20 Discussions

    I've been able to do quite a bit with my 48/96 ( now a 48/192 with optional usb flash drive). Mine has Sonique as its media player. I also installed an old copy of Mozilla Firebird, the Windows 3.1 Best of Windows Entertainment Pack, Solitaire, Frecell, and probably the coolest two programs are Mini vMac and WinQuake, all on the flash stick. The NTe T20s are surprisingly versatile little machines.

    1 reply

    Great to Hear that as they use so little current and are cilent I find that to do small simple tasks much better than starting a fully optioned computer

    Excellent project.  I have a lot of thin clients floating around, with the intention of doing something like this.  But, alas, I am always at a loss for time.  This is one that I might actually take the time to do.  Pandora over the whole-house audio, here I come.

    4 replies

    Glad to hear My Idea is being used : Have a few other none standard uses for these machines they make great network printer adaptors so you can use cheap USB printers and anyone can print to them across the network basically converting them into Ethernet printers which normally cost $100+ more - Also have managed to make  a T30 into a Programmable Stream recorder to record my favorite overseas Internet radio and to play it back when I want it !  

    If you installed a Windows version with Remote Control Desktop included, you can control the Thin Client around the home. I have a old iMac G3 and i'm planning to make it a second monitor for Virtual PC, Remote Control Desktop and any other thing i need a second desktop for.

    Good ol' HP/Compaq T5500 i believe, or one out of the family. It comes with Windows CE for VPC itself, but it's able of USB booting, and i guess Windows 98 should work fine on it. Also, my plan has changed, i will make this my Media PC for games and TV. Than i don't need to extend my Coax cable for a few meter in my room. And i can play Petz 5 and 4 on the TV :3

    Only Issue I can think of is are they generic mice with just the 2 buttons and maybe a single scroll wheel or very  fancy multi button mice[ Usb Ports are class 1.1 I believe and so some modern equipment is not compatible ] - Never had issues with any generic  mice in any of th3 T20s I have used -Would suggest trying a new cheap  generic mouse first ?  Is a key board working- If a key board is working suggests USB ports are good  first thing I would do is reset back to factory settings in case " mouse function" has been turned off - press and hold G when doing a restart while the Led is still amber - if that fails then may need to do a full reflash back to the factory setting - or possibly the T20 unit is faulty?  Hope that helps

    1 reply

    Hmmm my evos wont boot onto a desktop, they keep booting into the Compaq Connections Manager, and I cannot seem to connect to anything from there, (well i have no terminal server) :(

    4 replies

    The Higher spec T5500 will allow connection of Laptop IDe Hard drives or CF drives in a Laptop Ide adaptor internally and happily access a USB memory stick they will access a USB stick in the preboot stage as that is how you re flash them - (however it is expecting to see the standard flash image and you would probably need to modify that rather than just pulg in a Pre Install enviroment of your choice and hope.) The T20 and T30 units just expect to see mice and keyboards and ignor USB memory sticks

    USB is not the most friendly way. Here's a list why:
    Windows XP - Reboot loop, no safe mode will get around it.
    Windows 95 - Does not do anything, it goes to network boot
    BartPE - ERROR 16

    That didn't work that well.

    One thing that will sometimes get it out of this logic Loop is to Turn it on without any Ethernet cable plugged in some times it wont start the logon sequence then - if it has been extensively changed from factory " flash " might need reflashing before you can do anything - Important question look on bottom on silver bracket what is the Part number on sticker !

    I picked up a HP Thin Client (T5500) on a secondhand shop for 9 Euro! They had a big load of them, and they had other Network PC's. So yes, they get pulled out of offices, but they are NOT useless!

    hey, i bet this could also make a nice intercom system.

    I am trying do do internet radio on a T20 - but the one I got off ebay, neither of the usb mice that work on my other computer work on the T20. Do you have any tips?

    Hmmm This sounds like something I might have to do, acutally I was planning on building something like this and running it over my extra pair of wires in my home network, then I can have internet radio everywhere!!! LOL, I just ordered Three thin clients on ebay, they still have their original boxes keyboards and mouses and everything, I am soo excited........

    Cool ible. I've had the guts of one of these sitting in a nice wood box acting as a juke box. It net boots Linux and runs mpd, these are just powerful enough to be useful.

    1 reply

    Yes Good project .I have managed to get one similar but booting from the Flash Image- the Songs on a pen drive and remote network access to change songs Amazing little computers really .