Saturday, 10 January 2009

Windows Server 2008 as a Workstation

Well, its well known that Windows Server 2008 is 11-19% faster than Vista, and its using the Vista kernel. There's a ton of articles and i'm not going to list them here.

But what I am going to show you is how to do it.

Quoting from Alex Zaharov-Reutt
Although using server versions of Windows as desktop/workstation versions over the years certainly isn’t new, the source of the latest drive to turn Windows Server 2008 into Windows Workstation Vista 2008 seems to have come from Microsoft employee Vijayshinva Karnure, in his blog “The Way I See It”.

Karnure works at Microsoft India, and in a blog entry called “Using Windows Server 2008 as a SUPER workstation OS”, and in a follow up “Cont’d” posting, he outlined what Server 2008 users need to do to enable all the Vista-esque workstation goodness.

Another website called “Convert your Windows Server 2008 to a Workstation!” offers a “Windows Server 2008 to Workstation Manual”.

Reasons why Server 2008 might be faster include the lack of DRM found in Vista, and the additional time (and incentive) Microsoft has had to get Server 2008 robust and fast, given the fact it is meant to be used in business environments which expect high-performance software and hardware.

Reveals some excellent must see/download links:
  1. It can look like this: server 2008 aero screenshots
  2. If your sitting on the fence and don't really know if you should use Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows Server 2008. Read this. However, if your PC is old and slow, stick with XP. XP will always be faster than vista and server 2008 because it does less. Read Tomshardware Windows XP vs Vista benchmark guide. Its close on all counts apart from Open GL applications such as Maya, 3DS Max, Ensign, Lightscape where Vista is 90% slower due do its lack of OpenGL support.
    There are some programs that showed deeply disappointing performance. Unreal Tournament 2004 and the professional graphics benchmarking suite SPECviewperf 9.03 suffered heavily from the lack of support for the OpenGL graphics library under Windows Vista. This is something we expected, and we clearly advise against replacing Windows XP with Windows Vista if you need to run professional graphics applications. Both ATI and Nvidia will offer OpenGL support in upcoming driver releases, but it remains to be seen if and how other graphics vendors or Microsoft may offer it.

    However, my glass is always half full and I'm forever optimistic. Can you honestly see large companies like Autodesk (owners of Maya and 3DS Max) sitting back idly while their applications run like a dog on Vista? I'm sure they're poking ATI and nVidia in the ribs as you read this.
  3. Windows Server 2008 Workstation Converter. This program automatically converts your server 2008 into a workstation. Totally excellent and a must have.

  4. If you don't want to use the above program, you can do it by hand by following this guide, or download the full PDF guide.
  5. Another guide by Vijayshinva Karnure is here: Page1, Page2.
Are there any drawback to using a Server OS?
Yes, in fact.
Most things will work just fine, however some setups detect Windows Server 2008 as a server OS and may not install. Diskeeper for example, or any other software vendor with a workstation and server version of their product.
The compatibility mode does not have a Vista option, only XP/Windows 2003 and other legacy OS.