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Windows R8 or Windows 2012 server ? Makes a great laptop OS !

  1. #1


    Hafnarfjörður IS
    Posts : 4,376
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10

    Windows R8 or Windows 2012 server ? Makes a great laptop OS !


    Hi there

    Believe it or not if you can "Legally" get hold of a copy of Windows 2012 server (current release candidate freely downloadable and valid till Jan 15 2013) you could be a LOT better off using this on a Desktop rather than the W8 itself.

    Before people point out complexities of using a Server as a desktop OS it's actually EASIER with Windows 2012 server than with previous servers such as Windows 2003 or Windows 2008 servers to "convert" to a desktop OS.

    You basically have to do the following to make a server as user friendly as say W7 or W8 as a desktop OS:

    1) dismantle all the domain security stuff
    2) remove prompts like event log for server re-boots
    3) remove the CTRL-ALT-DEL key for logon
    4) remove the security restriction / nag you get every time you want to access a non Microsoft web page with IE 10.
    5) remove the "Complex password" requirement.

    That's got rid of the main nags and inconveniences of using it as a Desktop (or laptop) OS.

    Now add Desktop / Laptop experience (Multi-media, "thematic" backgrounds, customisation).

    1) enable SOUND -- yes W2012 server unlike W2008 server has fully blown SOUND capabilities (strange in a server --maybe now I can use Hyper-V with vM's and pass SOUND to them !!).

    2) enable DESKTOP EXPERIENCE -- this allows W7 themes to be installed and greatly "De-Uglifies" the bog standard bland grey desktop.

    3) enable incoming RDP connections if you want to access your "Server" from a network or the Internet.

    You've now got an exceptionally FAST STABLE (servers are always generally more stable than desktop OS'es) DESKTOP !!!.

    Just be slightly aware that some programs might not run on a server (different licence) - such as Acronis backup --for this simply use the Acronis stand alone recovery disk anyway). BTW the W2012 server's built in backup seems fine .

    Things like Sky Go and BBC Iplayer all install fine !!.

    I'm MORE happy with the server on the laptop than with W8 itself !!!. Bonkers you might say but a great learning exercise in servers too.

    All my stuff runs fine on it .

    Started with a VM --that was fine - now it's on a REAL machine.

    Bog standard default install was 11 GB disk space. Another thing about servers is that they install with the MINIMUM of features --you add what you want via the configure server. It's trickier than the other way around -- Windows itself starts with loads of stuff and you have to find out what you CAN remove but you get a nice streamlined OS -- and with an SSD ===> mega fast.

    I'll be testing now using HYPER-V with W2012 server --seems a better way to go than W8 desktop with HYPER-V.

    If people are interested - I'll post screenshots and the steps to get everything working including the Hyper-V.

    Another HUGE advantage of HYPER-V on a server is that people can access VM's running on the server WITHOUT NEEDING AN ACCOUNT ON THE SERVER AT ALL. In fact you wouldn't even know yuou are logging on to a VM in the first place if you didn't know.

    W8 and VMware has a limited capability in that regard but you are still essentially stuck with "a single user" OS.

    W2012 is a true server.


    Cheers
    jimbo

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    My apologies about my previous post. Not related.
    Last edited by HippsieGypsie; 07 Jul 2012 at 07:36. Reason: Not related - My ignorance
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    I always liked running server OSes as desktops. I remember Windows Server 2003 R2. Simply awesome as a desktop OS !!!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Hafnarfjörður IS
    Posts : 4,376
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10


    Quote Originally Posted by vrosa View Post
    I always liked running server OSes as desktops. I remember Windows Server 2003 R2. Simply awesome as a desktop OS !!!
    Still use it daily -- I still need it for some hardware (expensive) that won't run on anything later than XP and this hardware is EXPENSIVE !!!!.

    That's where I started messing about with servers as desktop os'es -- W2K3 was simply AWESOME with the hardware available at the time --wish we'd had SSD's back then.

    Here's a bit of "desktop de-uglification" -- running Fractal thematic desktop on W2012 server.

    Sound and Multimedia all working --will set up my streaming stuff next.

    As I'm a TechNet member I'll change to the "std" W2012 server when it appears later this year --but this one runs great !!.

    cheers
    jimbo
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails w2012.png  
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 18
    Win7 x64 Ultimate, Mac OS X 10.6.8


    There was a time which I messed with using server OS's on my desktops but that's since passed. Now everything I need is installed via VM's, which suffice for what I need the OS to do. Still to perform a true trial simulation, I do have backup hard drives preinstalled with server OS's to run native mode. My favorite versions were at the time, Windows 2000 Advanced Server. Hated the Datacenter version though...
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    USA
    Posts : 100
    Windows 7 Professional


    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo45 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by vrosa View Post
    I always liked running server OSes as desktops. I remember Windows Server 2003 R2. Simply awesome as a desktop OS !!!
    Still use it daily -- I still need it for some hardware (expensive) that won't run on anything later than XP and this hardware is EXPENSIVE !!!!.

    That's where I started messing about with servers as desktop os'es -- W2K3 was simply AWESOME with the hardware available at the time --wish we'd had SSD's back then.

    Here's a bit of "desktop de-uglification" -- running Fractal thematic desktop on W2012 server.

    Sound and Multimedia all working --will set up my streaming stuff next.

    As I'm a TechNet member I'll change to the "std" W2012 server when it appears later this year --but this one runs great !!.

    cheers
    jimbo
    Sorry, a kind of off topic quesion, what wallpaper are you using in that screenshot? If you can, could you tell me where to download it?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Hafnarfjörður IS
    Posts : 4,376
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10


    Hi there

    just go to Get themes online in the Desktop personalization and select Fractals

    @Stratos I'm going to use the HYPER-V to set up a few VM's -- running on a Server with the VM's in the background is the way to do it -- I am just testing the W2012 server though --- it even actually recognized the Sony Pro duo stick and mmc dual built in card reader --even Win 7 couldn't find drivers for these !!!. It also found the webcam (although on a server both these aren't really necessary !!!) and incredibly too the wireless card worked first time even though I usually connect to a WIRED LAN.

    Better hardware recognition than either Windows 8 or Windows 7 !!.

    Cheers
    jimbo
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    You're having a good time with W2012 server, hah? Fulfilling the disappointment you had with 8? I like following you around the forum. I learn so much from you. Keep on keeping on.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Posts : 5,707
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    That is bonkers. I've been wanting to kick around Server 2012 mainly to see the new metro Server Dashboard and see what UI elements from that will come to 8. I've never really tested a server OS before. The only thing that might be the bad kicker for me is program and game compatibility since I don't think a server OS would run a game for the client OS.

    A question though, does Server 2012 have the Windows Store access? I've always wondered and never found out.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Hafnarfjörður IS
    Posts : 4,376
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10


    Hi there
    In Windows 2012 server the Store app is on the metro screen -- can't however see myself ever using it though. You get to the metro screen via the usual charms interface -- although on a server it isn't much use --remember you can configure 2012 server with no GUI -- just boots into the power shell or a minimal gui -- just boots into server management. You need to install the FULL GUI option for the Metro option.

    You probably COULD run a game for a client -- W2012 seems to have all the Multimedia and streaming stuff -- but you have to enable it via configure server.

    At first boot minimal features are installed -- it's up to YOU to add them -- I like this approach -- keeps system slick and responsive -- but you need to do a bit of trial and error to see what you actually NEED to install.

    I'm just trying a VM now with HYPER-V -- once I get that working I'll probably re-install the server on a desktop with the powershell option (no GUI) and just connect to VM's running on the server.

    With an SSD and a decent laptop --install time from a USB is around 7 mins -- so no trouble if you do it wrong.

    Windows to Go also works -- this really IS BONKERS having a portable server on a USB stick !!!! create it the same way as W8.

    Cheers
    jimbo
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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Windows R8 or Windows 2012 server ? Makes a great laptop OS !
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