A thin client is a stripped-back computer that a server computer centrally manages. Typical thin-client computers have no disk drives, optical drives or expansion slots, relying on the server to provide the software applications needed for operation.
In a thin client, the server provides the processing power, and it streams data to the client for viewing. It uses the software as a service model of computing, where the server grants access to the available software. This process increases security by removing the ability to add new software on the client side. It also lowers the cost of the client, and it enables the client to use less power than a traditional desktop or laptop computer.