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Windows Server 2008 As a Workstation


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#1 ShadowFox

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 11:20 PM

Some of you may remember, back when server 2003 was all the hype, all the trouble I got myself into converting it to a workstation, finding issues with programs and all around the fun times I had with it (registry hacks to change the info to say it was a blackcomb build, etc.) Fortunately for me, Microsoft learned a few things from my spams of pleas for help with all my trouble tickets I wrote and manned up with this version.

I present to you, one of the most solid server editions and ease of use editions to a workstation, I consider it as a thought with me in mind :).

You may use this walkthrough to convert your Windows Server 2008 to what I call Windows Workstation 2008 :cheers:



Firstly WHY? might you ask. To put it simply, Microsoft has a bad habit of putting in all this bloated software that hogs memory and really brings down the performance of your PC. With past experiments with XP and Server 2003 we noticed an improved performance increase with using a server platform as a base. The reason being that even when you strip down XP you still have bloated software running in the background, besides, it's a lot of fun to do :gsg9:. Windows Server 2008 is just as Windows Server 2003 was, except better. 2008 is a stripped down version of Vista, so you still get all that Vista protection happiness (which I turned off btw) without all that flashy flashy turbo Linux rip off GUI. However fortunately for those of you that love it so, just as in 2003, you can turn on themes and apply them :). This walkthrough will cover many different areas of ways to turn on services, changes in the registry, and installing of components, if you feel you are not tech savvy enough to follow directions, please do NOT attempt. This walkthrough is considerably simpler than my Windows Version walkthrough but is still a very hands on walk through. I rate this in difficulty on a scale 1 to 10 (1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest) a 7. Please begin with caution, I've covered as much information as I thought was needed to get the job done and took notes as I installed these components. Many major software editions run flawlessly on 2008 and install without issues, many of the beta test programs do not. Games seem to run with a better performance than in Vista, you can look up ratings by use of Google ;).


----- CONVERTING YOUR WINDOWS SERVER 2008 TO A WINDOWS WORKSTATION 2008 WALK THROUGH -----

Registration Information

To change your computers registered owner and organization name click Run in the Start menu, enter regedit and click OK. In the Registry Editor navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> SOFTWARE -> Microsoft -> Windows NT -> CurrentVersion. In the right pane doubleclick and edit RegisteredOwner to change your registered owner and/or doubleclick RegisteredOrganization to change the registered organization. Minimize the screen as we will need the Registry editor later on.
Now if you open the Windows About window by clicking Start , Run, type in winver and click OK, you can see that the owner settings have been changed.

Adding Users, Settings Shutdown Permissions, and Turning on Shut Down Sounds

In the Start menu click Run and type control userpasswords2. In the User Accounts window that comes up click Add, fill in the required fields and click Next.
Fill in a password twice and click Next. In the next screen select Standard User to create a limited account to work with, then click Finish to add the user.
If you selected Standard User as level of access, you have to give the user permission to shutdown the PC. To do this click Run in the Start menu, then type gpedit.msc and click OK. In the Local Group Policy Editor that opens, browse to: Computer Configuration -> Windows Settings -> Security Settings -> Local Policies -> User Rights Assignment. In the right pane scroll to Shut down the system .
Double click Shut down the system and click Add User or Group. Now enter the User name of the user you want to give permission to shut down, and then click OK.
Finally click OK in the Shut down the system Properties window to save the changes you made to the list of users that are allowed to shutdown the computer. While where here let’s turn off that pesky Shut Down Tracker.
While still in the gpedit.msc window, Browse to Administrative Templates in Computer Configuration, click System and double click in the right window on Display Shutdown Event Tracker. Change its value to Disabled and click OK to save the change. Since you’re in the gpedit.msc window still, let’s enable Startup Sounds. Browse to the Local Computer Policy -> Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> System -> Logon, and open the Setting Turn off Windows Startup Sound. In the Turn Off Windows Startup Sound Properties window click Disabled, then save the setting by clicking OK.
Turn off the Ctrl+alt+del at Start up
In the Start menu, expand Administrative Tools and click Local Security Policy.
In the Local Security Policy editor expand Local Policies and click Security Options. In the right pane search and open Interactive logon: Do not require CTRL+ALT+DEL and choose Enabled. Save your change by clicking OK.

Audio

Click Run in the Start, then type services.msc and click OK. Now the Services Management Console will open.
In the Services window scroll to the service Windows Audio and open it. In the Windows Audio Properties (Local Computer) window select Automatic as Startup type, click Apply, then click Start to start the Windows Audio service. Close the properties window by clicking OK. Since you have the Services window open, navigate down to Themes, set Startup type to Automatic and click Apply. Clicking Start will not start the themes service as we haven’t installed any, I have saved it for last because it requires a reboot. Close the service manager.

Performance

To fully convert the Windows Server 2008 into a workstation we have setup that programs will have the best performance instead of background services.
To change to the best performance setting into programs, open Start, right click on Computer and select Properties in the context menu.
On the left below Tasks click Advanced system settings. In the Performance section click Settings. After that the window Performance Options shows up. Go to the Advanced tab, select Programs and click OK twice to save these settings.
Disable Internet Explorer ESC
Start the Server Manager by clicking the Server Manager icon in the systray, or the Server Manager shortcut in directly the Start menu or in the Administrative Tools menu.
Scroll down to Security Information within Server Summary and click Configure IE ESC. In the window that pops up select Off for both Administrators and Users. Save the changes by clicking OK.

SuperFetch

To enable the SuperFetch service you will first have to make a little change in the registry. Open the Registry Editor. In the Registry Editor browse to the location HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters.
Right click in the right part of the window and under New choose DWORD (32bit) Value. Type in: EnablePrefetcher
Edit the value of value EnablePrefetcher by double clicking on it. Change the Value data field into ‘3‘ (without quotes).
Next create a second DWORD (32bit) Value, name it EnableSuperfetch and also give it as Value data ‘3‘ (without quotes)
Close the Registry Editor, and then click Run in the Start menu. Type services.msc and click OK. In the Services window, scroll down to the service with name SuperFetch.
Right click on the SuperFetch service and choose Properties in the context menu.
Next choose in the Startup type dropdown Automatic. Click Apply in the lower right of the Superfetch Properties window. Press the Start button to enable SuperFetch for your current session, because we have set the Startup type to Automatic, next time you start Windows Server 2008, the SuperFetch service will run to optimize your systems performance.
Wireless, .NET 3.0, Themes, Networking and Video
Start the Server Manager by clicking the Server Manager icon in the systray, or the Server Manager shortcut in directly the Start menu or in the menu Administrative Tools.
In the Server Manager scroll down to Features Summary and click Add Features. In the Add Features Wizard window scroll down, check.NET Framework 3.0 Features, Desktop Experience, Windows PowerShell, and Wireless LAN Service, if a pop-up prompts you telling you that IIS and such needs to be installed as well, just click ok and it will select them for you, now click Next.
At the Confirm Installation Selections page click Install.
Click Close to finish the installation, and Reboot. Welcome to Windows Workstation 2008!

Mouse Pointers

Download aero_cursors.zip Attached File  aero_cursors.zip   147.3K   293 downloads.
Open aero_cursors.zip and browse within the archive to the folder cursors. Within the cursors folder select all files by pressing CTRL+A, and copy them by pressing CTRL+C.
Browse with Windows Explorer to C:\Windows\Cursors and paste press CTRL+V. All Aero cursors will now be unpacked to your system.
Go to the root of the aero_cursors.zip archive and double click at the aero_cursors(.reg) file. Click Yes when the Registry Import warning appears.
In the Start menu click Control Panel.
- If you use the Modern View, click Mouse in the Hardware and Sound section.
- If you use the Classic View, double click the Mouse icon.
In the Mouse Properties window click tab Pointers, select Windows Aero from the Scheme dropdown list. Optionally you can also check the Enable pointer shadow, Close the Mouse Properties Window.

Themes (part 2)

Right click on an empty spot of your desktop and choose Personalize. In the Personalization window click Theme. Select the Browse… option from the dropdown if the theme Windows Vista is not already listed.
If theme Windows Vista was not listed, browse to the folder C:\Windows\Resources\Themes, then select aero and click Open. Apply your selection by clicking OK.
If you have installed drivers for your video card you can also enable transparent window borders and 3D Flip (Windowskey + Tab) with Windows Aero Theme instead of the Windows Vista Basic theme. To do this click Window Color and Appearance in your Personalization window, select Windows Aero and click OK.
Now you have the Security of Windows Vista, and the Reliability of a Server. Enjoy your Workstation 2008 :gsg9:

#2 m.oreilly

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 11:29 PM

shadow, have you tried using the search function here?

:cheers: :)

we all have been using Attached File  Windows_2008_Workstation.pdf   5.99MB   939 downloads

yep, it works pretty darn neat as a workstation os :)

glad you are liking it.

#3 ShadowFox

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 12:53 AM

/fail then... yeah search = not so good

the way I word things and the way someone else words things don't always work the same and it eluded search but thanks you may delete the topic then

and also, liking it? I'm loving it son... Everyone knows I like server builds better than the original :)

Edited by ShadowFox, 18 July 2008 - 01:03 AM.


#4 ShadowFox

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 01:02 AM

and as a savior to me, here is proof of me searching and using the context I would look for information in :)

Attached Image: search.jpg

#5 Nvyseal

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 02:05 AM

View PostShadowFox, on Jul 17 2008, 05:53 PM, said:

/fail then... yeah search = not so good

the way I word things and the way someone else words things don't always work the same and it eluded search but thanks you may delete the topic then

and also, liking it? I'm loving it son... Everyone knows I like server builds better than the original :cheers:

Quite alright Shadowfox. Thanks for sharing your tweak on making 2008 a great workstation :)

#6 m.oreilly

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 02:21 AM

View PostNvyseal, on Jul 17 2008, 07:05 PM, said:

...Thanks for sharing your tweak on making 2008 a great workstation :)
:)

hehe, and as for the search: i too had to hunt and peck to the point i gave up, and just decided to bask in the glow of your splendid tutorial :cheers:

#7 m.oreilly

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 02:29 AM

oh, shadow, i was going to ask you: do you leave DEP turned on? i had some issues with it on, so i turned it off. but then i got tagged with a bug that other systems, with it active, sloughed off. i'm kinda on the fence re using it though...

#8 hog

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 04:53 AM

Mmmh that's interesting... I knew already that MO and some others were using Server 208 and liked it a lot, but now with such instructions I might try it out myself too. Thanks :)

#9 ShadowFox

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 06:02 AM

0 issues with DEP Sir, however I have only been running for a number of weeks, and the only reason I decided to try it out was because I was sick of Vista and on the verge of re-installing XP Media Center... but I thought I'd do another Experiment because I found it on my MSDN Academic Alliance d/l list lol.

I recommend all say FU to Vista and Load up on the Server 08! A lot of your favorite games will install :)

#10 m.oreilly

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 06:12 AM

View PostShadowFox, on Jul 17 2008, 11:02 PM, said:

0 issues with DEP Sir, however I have only been running for a number of weeks, and the only reason I decided to try it out was because I was sick of Vista and on the verge of re-installing XP Media Center... but I thought I'd do another Experiment because I found it on my MSDN Academic Alliance d/l list lol.

I recommend all say FU to Vista and Load up on the Server 08! A lot of your favorite games will install :)

i agree 100%

this is the longest install of any os i have ever kept. i think this is ms's finest to date.

#11 ShadowFox

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 06:48 AM

I had to read that then scroll up to make sure I knew you were talking about server :)

#12 Linoman

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 04:26 PM

I would actually use Server 2008 as my main OS, if it was not for the fact that I can not get my HP-F2180 printer drivers to work. Until then, I'll stick with XP and Ubuntu




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