Windows Server 2008 Standard – Workstationed

Well, with how well Vista is going, I was wondering if we were going to try and support XP Pro for years after it is officially dead.

Then, I came across this site the other day, which got me to wondering if we could use Windows Server 2008 as an option.

The only problem with the instructions as that site is that they are using Enterprise. While Standard is priced even better than Vista (at least for us), Enterprise is far too pricey to be an option for desktops. I decided to try this out with the Standard version, just to see. So, I ordered a license for 2008 Standard, and ordered what I thought was the media. What I ended up ordering was:

  • Windows Server Standard 2008 License
  • Windows Server Standard 2003 CD

You see the problem there. It seems what I needed to order was:

  • Windows Server Standard 2008 License
  • Windows Server 2008 Standard, Enterprise, and Datacenter DVD

Big difference. So, we now have both the 2003 and 2008 media. Oh well.

I began the long process of installing Windows Server 2008 Standard and making it into a workstation. The documentation from the site listed above are good, and everything was there that I needed, but there were assumptions made by the authors that doesn’t apply here; such as removing the CTRL+ALT+DEL login prompt. So, I dropped some things, and changed to order of the tasks.

  1. Install Server Standard
  2. From the ‘Initial Configuration Tasks’ window, I chose to ‘Provide Computer Name and Domain’
  3. Restarted and logged in as a Domain Admin
  4. I closed ‘Initial Configuration Tasks’ and set it to not open again, then from ‘Server Manager’ I chose ‘Configure IE ESC’
  5. I disabled IE ESC for both Admins and Users
  6. From the ‘Server Manager’ window, I then chose ‘Add Features” and added Desktop Experience
  7. After the reboot, I found out the hard way that you have to wait for the ‘Add Features’ window to open again and finish, before you do anything else
  8. I opened the ‘Services’ window, and enabled, but did not start, Superfetch, Themes, and Windows Audio
  9. I opened the Registry Editor and under
    HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters
    I added EnablePrefetcher and EnableSuperfetch, both as DWORD (32bit) values and with values of 3.
  10. I then opened GPEDIT.MSC and changed
    Local Computer Policy\Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\Display Shutdown Event Tracker
    to Disabled, and
    Local Computer Policy\Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\Logon\Turn off Windows Startup Sound
    to Enabled
  11. Opened System Properties, Advanced, and then Settings. Under another Advanced tab, I set “Adjust for best performance of” to Programs, and under Data Execution Prevention, I set it to “Turn on DEP for essential Windows programs and services.”
  12. Another restart, which did not require any setups to finish this time
  13. Right-clicked on the desktop, selected Personalize, click Theme, and then chose the Windows Vista Theme.

Whew, that was a lot of steps. But now we had a functional desktop, that resembles Vista for those who want that, or can be switched back to Windows Classic if desired. Oddly, Windows XP is not a theme option.

So far, it seems to have it’s own quirks, mostly with the software we have to use. However, a few of the Vista oddities continue on.

There are inconsistencies with running installer programs that are signed, and those that are not.
Signed Program Installation as Admin:

Unsigned Program Installation as Admin:

Signed Program Installation as non-Admin:

Unsigned Program Installation as non-Admin:

So, why does the signed and unsigned for admins have to be so different, while the ones for non-admins just have a different highlighting at the top?

Now, if you want to do any kinda file actions, here is what you get:
1. If it is a replace action, you get the replace dialogue

2. The notice that you will have a UAC screen in a moment…

3. and the UAC screen if you are an admin…

  • or the UAC screen if you are not Admin

    This is what really made me laugh. I really loved the window that basically just says that you will be given a UAC window after this, kind of a pre-warning window. Do people really wonder why so many computer users just click through error messages without reading them? They get so many, that say so little, that it isn’t worth their time and effort for it.

    That’s enough for now.

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