Ruminations of idle rants and ramblings of a code monkey

Final (?) Comments on Windows Server 2008 R2 as a desktop

Idle Babbling
I know … I keep bringing this up. It’s been a long road and there were still a couple of things that I found that I needed to really, truly, fully replace Vista/Windows 7 client with Windows Server 2008 R2 for my desktop OS … on both my traditional “desktop” machine and my laptop. I think, finally, I’ve got all of them worked out. Power Management/Sleep/Hibernate Mode: I absolutely love sleep mode. I see no need to keep my machine running at 100% power all of the time. And I’m impatient so I don’t like to wait for a full reboot if I don’t have to. I don’t do hibernate too much but that’s also nice to have. As I’m sure you are aware, Windows Server has no problem with the whole power management stuff … until you enable the Hyper-V role (which is one of the biggest reasons that I want to run Server 2008). Once you enable Hyper-V, you lose all power management capabilities. In Windows Server 2008, there was nothing you could do about this. When folks raised this as an issue, Microsoft’s response was … tough. Hyper-V is supposed to be on a server and a server never sleeps. It doesn’t matter if you have VM’s running or not either. A lot of folks came up with workarounds/hacks that “enabled” this, with various degrees of success. Well, apparently there was enough of a hubbub for the Microsoft folks to do something about it. You’ll need to create a new boot entry with BCDEdit and set hypervisorlaunchtype to off. Full details and step-by-step instructions are on Virtual PC Guy’s WebLog. You will have to reboot to re-enable Hyper-V (and the hypervisor) but that’s OK for me … I don’t always run VM’s and I’ll accept the reboot for that. It’s not my ideal scenario, but it works. Zune: This sucked. I couldn’t get the Zune software to install for anything. Improper version or some such nonsense. Which meant that I couldn’t access my Zune pass and couldn’t sync with my Zune unless I dual booted. Apparently, the Zune folks don’t think that Windows Server is an appropriate platform for Zune. Fortunately, I found a post on David Zazzo’s blog that takes you through doing this step-by-step. One note: I right-clicked on packages\Zune-x64.msi and clicked on “Troubleshoot Compatability” … which applied the settings “Skip Version Check”. Just running ZuneSetup.exe … even in compatibility mode … didn’t work.

More on Windows Server 2008 R2 as a desktop

Idle Babbling
Since I did the last post on this, I’ve also (now) installed Server 2008 R2 on my personal desktop … as my laptop had to be turned in. In doing this and getting it set up to be a day-to-day desktop OS (as opposed to a demo machine OS), I ran across a couple of other things that I thought were worth noting. IE ESC: That’s Enhanced Security Configuration … the ultra-secure-because-it’s-only-HTML mode of Internet Explorer that is enabled by default on Windows Server. Again, something that makes a TON of sense but it doesn’t work very well when you are using it as a desktop. I had thought (silly me) that it’d be easy … go into the Server Manager and turn it off. Well, there were complications. Here’s the deal: I run with a different account than the built-in Administrator account. It’s also the account that ties my machine to my Windows Home Server (which is way cool, btw). When I created the account, I did not initially add it to the Administrators group. So, when I turned IE ESC off for Admins, it didn’t turn off for that account … because it wasn’t an admin. Easy enough … I turned off IE ESC for all users. Nope. Didn’t work. Added my account to the Administrators group. And it still didn’t work … I was still running IE in the Enhanced Security mode. Even after rebooting. I went to “User Accounts” in Control Panel (it’s just like on the desktop version) and couldn’t add that account as an Administrator account there either. So … I wound up deleting the account and recreating the account using the "User Accounts” applet in Control Panel, creating it as an administrator account. Then it worked. Just fine. I don’t know why this happened. I cannot explain it at all. But there it is. Windows 7 Themes: I did turn on the themes and eye candy as mentioned previously. But the Win7 themes aren’t included and I couldn’t find a way to install them. Easy enough … copy them from a Windows 7 installation. They will be under %WINDIR%\Resources\Themes. You’ll also want to copy the pictures (%WINDIR%\Web\Wallpaper) and the cursors (%WINDIR%\Cursors). They will then appear in your personalization window. Windows Search: This one is important for finding stuff in Outlook and on your drives in a reasonable amount of time. It is not installed by default in Windows Server … and Outlook will tell you all about it and the necessity of installing it if you want to do any searching. You cannot find it in Features. There’s a download for Windows Search 4.0 for Vista … that doesn’t work either (refuses to install). Where is it? It is under Roles …File Services … Windows Search. Perfectly logical right? So there it is. I’ll post any more tidbits as I happen across them. So far, though, all is well and happy.