Using Windows Server 2008 as a SUPER workstation OS

Using Windows Server 2008 as a SUPER workstation OS

Windows Server 2008 is the best OS to be released till date from Microsoft's stable. And the moment I got hold of the RTM build I could not resist installing it on my workstation. Due to the nature of my work I always prefer running a Server OS on my main workstation... I have been running Windows 2003 disguised as XP (with all the themes and stuff) all these days.

So here is my tale of how I went about setting up Windows Server 2008 to look and fell like its desktop counterpart Windows Vista.

1. Enable Hardware Virtualization

My workstation is a x64 machine with hardware virtualization capabilities. This means I can run Hyper-V on my machine. Even if your machine's hardware supports virtualization it is most likely not going to be enabled by default. You have to enable it via your BIOS setup.

2. Install the latest Graphics and Audio drivers

Being a server OS Windows 2008 carries with it basic graphics and audio drivers. To utilize the full strength of your hardware ensure you install the latest drivers for both graphics and audio hardware. Only with the proper graphics drivers will you be able to enable the "Aero" experience on Windows 2008.

3. Desktop Experience Feature

The Desktop Experience Feature enables a bunch of stuff that is by default present on a desktop OS. Most importantly it includes Themes, Windows Media player and the Aero related features. You will have to enable it form the Server Manager. The "Turn Windows features on or off" / "Add remove windows components" has all been rolled into the Server Manager now.

Server Manager > Features > Desktop Experience

Installing the Desktop Experience feature does not enable them. You have to manually set them up.

4. Themes

To enable Themes you will basically have to enable the Themes Service. Again being a server OS it is not enabled by default.

Services.MSC > Themes

Set the start up type to Automatic

Enabling the Aero Theme.

For this go to Control Panel > Personalization >Theme and select Windows Aero

5. Search

Search is also disabled by default on Windows 2008. Searching is important for me as I use it a lot to find my emails. To enable search you will have to add the File Services Role via Server Manager.

Server Manager > Roles > File Services > Windows Search

Outlook relies on this search service.

6. Disable Shutdown Event Tracker

Since I am using it as a workstation I do not want to keep a track of all the Shutdowns. The Shutdown Event Tracker is the pop up that you get asking you for a shutdown reason. To disable it

Open mmc.msc

Add the Group Policy snap-in

Under Administrative Templates expand System

Set Display Shutdown Event Tracer to Disabled

7. Audio

For audio you need to enable the Windows Audio service. You do this by setting the startup type to Automatic.

Services.msc > Windows Audio

Ensure you have proper drivers for your audio hardware... for me the default driver was not enabling the headphones ... it started working fine after I got the proper driver.

8. SuperFetch

As a workstation, enabling SupertFetch will give you that additional bit of responsiveness. The SuperFetch services is disabled by default and when you try to enable it you will most likely get an error message "The operating system is not presently configured to run this application"

You will have to make two registry changes to enable this service. I basically copied them over from my Vista machine.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters

EnablePrefetcher DWORD 3

EnableSuperfetch DWORD 3

9. Get a codec pack.

For media hungry buffs download a codec pack. This will ensure you can play all media files.

10. Enable Hyper-V

With Hyper-V you can run virtual machines on your workstation. This is useful if you want to run your tests on older OS versions. Enabling  Hyper-V is easy

Server Manager > Roles > Hyper-V

Remember you need a Hyper-V enabled Windows 2008 licence and also your hardware has to support virtualization.

Also If you are using an existing VHD it may ask you to re-Activate Windows as it detected hardware changes.

One good thing about Windows Server 2008 is that it no longer asks for the i386 folder like Windows 2003 while you enable features.

Using Windows Server 2008 as a SUPER workstation OS ... Cont'd

[Update 2012] Windows 8 is the Super workstation OS I had been waiting for

Bookmark and Share

Leave a Comment
  • Please add 5 and 1 and type the answer here:
  • Post
  • I think this systems is fantastic and like anyone else I would like to get a legit serial and product. The only problem is that it costs soo much money. Anyhow, if anyone of you out there want to share with me a serial then by all means hit me up.  rob007games(at)yahoo(dot)com. I would trade my three Ultimate serials numbers for a legit serial of this bad boy..

  • Using Windows Server 2008 as your workstation OS

  • If your server 2008 sound is sluttering read url which i included.


  • If possible could someone tell me whether the following programs work on WinSrv2008 so i can make a more informed decision on upgrading...



    Nero 8

    Photoshop CS2

    Jaikoz audio tagger



    Float's mobile agent (with bluetooth support)

    Focusrite saffire (drivers for external high-end soundcard)

    Mixmeister fusion

    Please write even if you know if one or two of the above work..

    Thank you.

  • Oh and does the vista version of Symantec Antivirus 10.2 (corporate edition) work or not?

  • Так как руки уже чешутся поставить Windows 7, решил пока не поздно рассказать как ставил себе Windows

  • Так как руки уже чешутся поставить Windows 7, решил пока не поздно рассказать ка

  • I'm considering purchasing a Sony Vaio laptop and installing Windows Server 2008 instead of Vista.  I thought this would be an easy thing to do until I read this forum.  Do I really have to install drivers and additional software to enable all devices to work on the laptop?  Is there a compatibilty list available somewhere like there is for Vista?

  • P.S.  I don't need it to look like my XP or Vista desktop.  I'm only going to use it to run Sharepoint Server 2007 on a stand-alone portable machine.

  • I have my old SBLive from about 10 years ago working sweet in Windows Server 2008.

    Go to this link

    And download these old SBLiv drivers.

    Install 'Drivers Only' - the mixer etc doesn't work.

    After rebooting, start msconfig and go to startup to disable:

    ReadReg Application

    Creative Updreg

    That worked for me. I hope it works for some of you.

  • I forgot to say...

    You must run the installation program in XP SP2 compatability mode.

  • Hi,

    It seems Microsoft removed the x64 version from its evaluation page. I have the serial for 32bit version and was looking for the x64 version since I upgraded my RAM. Is it available somewhere else? I tried but cannot find it anywhere.

  • Did you try googling for Windows Server 2008 trial? I see 3,000,000 hits.  

  • if the native Server 2008 misses all these enduser features and gadgets, you guys copy and install from various sources, shouldn't the adding of the Terminal Services role add these automically?

    I guess a TS is suppose to give endusers same experience as he would sit in front of a workstation OS.

    Am I right or wrong?

Page 13 of 16 (232 items) «1112131415»