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

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

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This is a continuation of my previous post  Using Windows Server 2008 as a SUPER workstation OS

Here are a couple of things I missed in my previous post

11. Processor Scheduling

As pointed out in a comment on my previous post; On Windows Server 2008 background services are given preference over interactive programs. You can change this behavior by

Control Panel > System and Maintenance > System > Advanced System Settings > Advanced > Performance > Settings > Advanced > Processor Scheduling

Setting this to Programs will make foreground programs more responsive.

12. Visual Effects

One thing you will notice on Windows Server 2008 is that by default you will not see Preview Thumbnails in your Documents / Music / Video folders. This has to be enabled explicitly.

Control Panel > System and Maintenance > System > Advanced System Settings > Advanced > Performance > Settings > Visual Effects

Based on your preference you can tweak these settings.

13. Power Options

Do your bit for a Green World! The Balanced (default) power plan on Windows Server 2008  does not turn off hard disks by default. On Vista hard disks are turned off after 20 mins. You can change this by

Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Power Options > Change plan settings

It does take a bit to kick start the hard disks when you resume work but that's a sacrifice worth making for a greener world :).

14. IE Enhanced Security 

IE Enhanced Security Configuration has been moved from Add Remove Windows Components (on Windows 2003) to the Server Manager on Windows Server 2008.

Server Manager > Security Information > Configure IE ESC

You now have a choice to disable it only for Administrators. 

And to end with a couple of clarifications

* Why am I recommending Windows Server 2008 over Windows Vista ?

I am not!

* How to get Sidebar / Media center on Windows Server 2008?

My honest opinion would be to look for alternatives.

* Will hardware problems go away moving to Windows Server 2008?

Not likely. One of the biggest complaints against Vista was hardware issues. Without proper  drivers from your hardware vendors your ride on Windows Server 2008 is again going to be bumpy. For me all Vista compatible drivers worked fine with Server 2008 and I believe they should work for you as well.

* Will all software work on Windows Server 2008?

Most will but some setups detect Windows Server 2008 as a server OS and may not install. The compatibility mode does not have a Vista option only XP / Windows 2003 and other legacy OS.

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

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  • Logitech setpoint does not work with x64 builds, some people say the old 3.10 works, but any install prior to 4.00 causes continual blue-screens upon reboot (although it works great until then).

  • I've installed w2k8 on two machines - my desktop and laptop. Works AMAZINGLY well! FAR better experience than vista.

    For those who are having issues w/ windows live apps, the beta 2 of Messenger 9 works fine. (see the link soemone posted above). I also was able to get Messenger 8.5 working, but had to hack the installer to fool it in to thinking it was running on a workstation OS. Once I did that, it installed fine.

  • Hi everyone. After having nothing but hassles with Ultimate X64, I was sceptical about putting 2k8 on.  How wrong I was!  Now I've got 90% of things running (like Aero, Audio/Video experience etc. I'm pretty happy.  Only prob is, I'm chasing the Vista64 games pack (Solitaire, Purble Place, Chess, etc.) due to my love of playing Solitaire while apps are working.  Hoping for help soon.

  • Thanks for the article - I found this after I installed Win2k8 and found a lot of the same issues.

    My current outstanding issues in getting Win2k8 to do everything I would like to do  -

    1 Figure out how to get windows live mail working (windows mail says it doesn't support http mail - windows live mail says it won't install on WIndows server) - I have outlook but prefer to keep my e-mail account with my newsgroup reader open as a seperate item as I have many e-mail acounts and two outlook profiles that I switch between while I had been using outlook express on XP.

    2 Figure out how to customize my ie toolbar - I had done this on previous version of windows by adding registry entries and keeping a folder for the icons - e.g.  

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Extensions\{D7ED695D-4CA4-440d-B1CC-037F28765EBD}]

    "Default Visible"="Yes"






  • I figured out the issue with the iebuttons -  That registry trick still works - but since x64 has two version of IE7- and by default it puts the shortcut for IE7 32 bit on the desktop, I forgot to check if it made those shortcuts in IE7 x64 - which it does!

    Only problem - still no flash player for IE64

  • If anyone makes any progress on moving the media center stuff from Vista ultimate to Win2k8 as well as the animated background wallpapers I would be interested - THANKS

  • Could really be nice for the overall experience to have windows media plugin for IE or firefox installed on server 2008 but the installer just says, doesnt work on server OS

    any ideas?

  • Has anyone found any good forums on W2k8 workstation?   This one is laid out very well but I'm guessing not a lot of people have tested Windows 2008 workstation yet.

  • Windows Media Player (11 or any other) will not install on my WS2008 64bit. Some web sites will refuse to stream as result. That is not nice :-)

  • So, where do I sign the petition to ask MS to release a Workstation edition of Windows Server 2008 Web Edition?The only thing they need to change is the title and the licensing (don't use it in production as a server) and sell it for the same price as Vista Business... C'mon, not everybody has MSDN subscription.

  • ReadyBoost on W2k8 ? any ideas?

  • As an answer to vadim: Windows Media Player WORKS perfect on Windows 2008 x64. And is far better than what runs on Windows XP. I can watch divx movies and dvds without any problem. Also Creative Audigy Fx works perfect on Windows 2008, but the installation was a little bit tricky.

    Actually all my programs work perfect on Windows 2008 x64, including Skype.

  • Seriously, what is the difference?  Nothing... you can remove any of the x64 features from Vista.  I don't see a difference, they're the same kernel.  The risk and issues I had with 2k8 far outweigh the benefits, uhm if there are any.  You guys are friggin hype-to-the-max.

  • Thanks for the post. It was very helpful.

  • To those who are wondering the difference... this is not my personal conclusion, it is a loose citation of what I saw elsewhere, but WS08 is missing DRM! (Digital Rights Management) This makes it both FAR faster and FAR more stable. It also renders it pretty useless to those, who (like me) are trying to get media functionality out of their server. I thought WS08 was the end to all of my troubles when I was trying to build a home-based Web/Application/Streaming server and put it into an HTPC box, so when not under heavy use it could function as my media PC and gaming rig. Fine tuned the hardware components, installed all the soft.. and was VERY happy when not only everything worked great and fast, but I even got all the workstation perks thanks to this article and couple others. Then "whooops"es started happening: Can't install MCE, can't use as PVR (found a hack to port and install BDE, just recently, so I MIGHT be able to finally get the digital TV Tuner to work), can't port Games, the Marine Aquarium screensaver has some weird DX bug and half-the-time draws fish fins without the fish itself, my DVD movies won't play (though I'm sure that can be fixed as someone stated they had it working). Frankly, the speed and reliability gain are greatly appreciated, but I might be missing my DRM-powered features more than I thought I would. So it might be back to regular Vista. If I get it working under WS08, it'd make it just as slow and crash-prone, and I'd still have many incompatibilities.

    So my final verdict FWIW, WS08 makes a great WORKstation. If you're planning to use it for development, streaming, MS Office even... it will pay for itself in security, manageability, stability and reduced frustration time and again.  But if you want even a smidge of media and gaming, you would probably be better off going with Vista.

    Having said that, I had no trouble running Orange Box (Team Fortress 2) on WS08. Purrs like a kitten at all the highest settings. HD DivX movies were actually worse in performance than on my Vista machine, but that could be due to a CPU with lesser L2 cache (E2180@3Ghz vs E4500@3.2Ghz) and less system mem (2Gb@800Mhz vs 4Gb@800Mhz). I've since OC'ed the box a little differently, and the DivX movies run great. Even 1080p at full screen (non-anamorphic). But that's a different discussion. P.S.: I use a combination of Cole2K and CCCP codec packs on WS08 to get all the media to work. Now if only my DVD's would play.

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