I just did something I’ve been meaning to do for a long while: re-tooled my laptop with Windows Server 2008 and Hyper-V virtualization. I really appreciate the Hyper-V performance, as well as the modularity of the operating system: it’s easy to turn pieces on and off so you only run what you need. This is a great setup for a developer or IT Pro who needs to run server software on the go.
A few friends asked how I set it up, so I thought I’d put it on my blog for anyone else who’s interested and hasn’t already tried it. There are plenty of great resources already on the web, but I didn’t find any single resource that showed how to get all my desired laptop features working. So here is my list of links to the various steps for transforming the Windows Server 2008 install into a mobile workstation with the Vista UI, search, wireless, Bluetooth, etc.
Note that Hyper-V requires hardware and BIOS support in order to work, so it’s generally available only on relatively new machines made in the last year or so. Also, when you enable Hyper-V, the operating system shuts off the sleep (S3) and hibernation (S4) features because supporting these states in a hypervisor is an “incredibly complicated problem”, according to Virtual PC Guy. I can only imagine...
Anyway, here are the sites that got me through the process, in more or less the order I did them:
Install the OS
Just install the OS to start; I chose x64 of course so I could get to all 4GB of memory on my laptop.
In Server Manager, enable the “Wireless LAN Service” feature to install Wifi handling. Several people recommended doing this before installing the Wifi drivers; I did it in the other order and it worked anyway.
Install drivers for your laptop. Vista drivers generally work fine; I had no problems with any of them.
NOTE: I had a few unknown devices even after installing the obvious drivers, but they all got taken care of when the Bluetooth stack was added later on.
Enable the Vista UI and Desktop Search
UPDATE: Step #6 is missing a part ... go into Group Policy Editor as it says, or by typing "gpedit.msc" into the Start/Run box. Then navigate the tree to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System and find the "Display Shut Down Event Tracker". Disable this policy and the shutdown event prompt will go away. Thanks, Barry!
NOTE: I skipped step #8, enabling the Superfetch service. Do a web search for Superfetch and decide if you want this thing anticipating your application usage and pre-fetching the apps in the background. Seems faster to me without it.
Disable Internet Explorer Enhanced Security mode
We all want to be secure, but this is a workstation... http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/datacenter/?p=255
Adding the Vista Sidebar
Bluetooth – the hard careful way
Bluetooth – the easy way (thanks to Spence’s download – worked great for me!)
(Spence happens to have a MacBook-Pro, but AFAIK it’s the same for any laptop.)
Windows Mobile Device Center (to sync your phone)
(You may want to check for the most recent version)
Migrating VPC’s to Hyper-V
Great Hyper-V Blog
I hope this is helpful … Have fun!
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