Windows Server 2008 as a workstation

Just the other day I read a post about using Windows Server 2008 Standard as a Vista replacement. I haven’t had nearly as many complaints with Vista as many others. Generally speaking, I’ve been happy with it. However, from what I read about Windows Server 2008, it is more stable and gives an extra level of responsiveness that Vista doesn’t have. I did notice with Vista there seem to be lags and delays on occasion. I have a Server 2008 license, so I figured why not give it a shot.

My company does IT Technical support and sales, so we have a Microsoft ActionPack Subscription. For $299 for a year, it gives you access to all MS Software & Server products if you work in IT. If you qualify you should get it–the best $300 I’ve ever spent for software.  So, anyways, with that I have a Server 2008 license

Over the weekend I installed it and am now officially using it as my workstation. I’d like to re-iterate what many others who’ve tried it have said: It ROCKS! The installation was super smooth on my Dell D630 laptop. All the Vista drivers worked flawlessly, and so far I have not run into anything problematic. Here are a few things I like about it so far:

  • Indeed, it does seem snappier and more responsive. I’ve enabled the Aero interface, and still it’s faster (subjectively). It’s hard to explain why since it uses the same Kernel as Vista. However, it just seems more stable and smooth.
  • Boot/Shutdown/Standby/Resume: All these seem faster than Vista. Again, this is subjective. 
  • Stability. I haven’t been using it long, but it does seem more stable than Vista thus far. 
  • Defaults. As an advanced user, I love that it doesn’t have all the “Junk” enabled by default. It is a stripped-down OS designed for speed, security and efficiency. This is great for someone like me who usually tries to disable lots of services in Vista anyways. 

Just to give some context, my set-up is as follows:

Dell D630 laptop
 Intel Core2 Duo 2.0GHz CPU
2.0GB RAM
128MB NVIDIA Quadra NVS 135M Graphics Card
120GB HD

As you can see, a pretty average system nothing crazy…I do run Adobe Creative Suite CS3 (Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver). I don’t really need some of the advanced functionality others tout (Such as Hyper-V virtual machines); but, for my purposes it is super smooth and stable so far. 

 If you’d like more specific instructions on how to try this, check out these helpful blogs for step-by-step instructions. I read all of these before giving it a shot:

http://blogs.msdn.com/vijaysk/archive/2008/02/11/using-windows-server-2008-as-a-super-desktop-os.aspx– This is an MSDN blog. I believe this was the first mention of this concept. 
http://www.win2008workstation.com/ – This site seems to have the most detailed instructions; it even has downloadable PDF.
http://weblogs.asp.net/israelio/archive/2008/02/21/windows-server-2008-as-workstation.aspx – I’d call this the “Short & Sweet” version. Quick and to the point.
http://win2k8.msfn.org/index.htm– This is very similar to the win2008workstation site, however, it is broken up a bit more and has helpful navigation points on top. 

 So, there you go. If you have a Windows Server 2008 Standard license available (Through MSDN subscription or Action Pack), I highly recommend you give this a shot.

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