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Last post Author Topic: Turning Windows 2003 Server into a workstation?  (Read 13248 times)

superboyac

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Turning Windows 2003 Server into a workstation?
« on: August 27, 2007, 04:54:22 PM »
Hi guys, I remember right when Windows Server 2003 came out, some people tweaked it to function as a regular workstation and wrote some tutorials about it.  I used one of these tutorials and tried it, and I was really impressed with at least the speed of 2003, it seemed so much more streamlined than XP.  Eventually, I ran into trouble with driver compatibilities and some specific software.  I was wondering if things have progressed and if using 2003 as a workstation is easier now?  Has anyone tried it?

I just remember it being really fast, but probably it's compatible with everything.

f0dder

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Re: Turning Windows 2003 Server into a workstation?
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2007, 06:07:17 AM »
There's two parts to the win2k3 server thing... one is in what components are installed, but you can use www.nliteos.com to fix up XP and remove stuff you don't need (does take a bit tweaking though).

The other is, and I might remember things wrongly here, is that MS uses a more recent version of their compiler for win2k3 compared to the one used for XP (interestingly enough, XP64 is closer related to 2k3 than regular XP) - I don't know how much this matters in real life, though.

I think that madis from the flat assembler community runs a tweaked win2k3, I could try asking him.
- carpe noctem

justice

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Re: Turning Windows 2003 Server into a workstation?
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2007, 06:49:35 AM »
win2k3 is also optimized for server scenarios (see codinghorror's 64-bit desktop vs 64-bit server). If you have already made the decision however, it's just an interested article and I can't help you further lol

Not sure if it would support DirectX either in case you play movies / play games. and the driver issues you mentioned.

Eóin

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Re: Turning Windows 2003 Server into a workstation?
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2007, 09:46:01 AM »
I tried it once using Windows X's Windows Server 2003 - XP Conversion Pack. I didn't stick with it because I couldn't get the right drivers for some of my hardware, so went back to XP.

superboyac

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Re: Turning Windows 2003 Server into a workstation?
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2007, 10:04:41 AM »
I see...so the drivers are still the issue.  I wasn't really planning on doing it, I was just wondering about it.  I remember being impressed by the speed.  Of course, by the time I installed all the programs I have on my XP, I guess it would revert to the same thing.  Gotta have my software!

justice

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Re: Turning Windows 2003 Server into a workstation?
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2007, 10:34:38 AM »
I agree with your sentiments lol there's not enough alternatives on the desktop, I don't think MS wants to compete even more with itself.

superboyac

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Re: Turning Windows 2003 Server into a workstation?
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2007, 10:47:14 AM »
I'd consider a move to Linux or something like that (like Zaine) if I weren't so attached to my dozens of software.

JaneDC

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Re: Turning Windows 2003 Server into a workstation?
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2007, 11:58:18 AM »
itd be nice. since windows server is cheaper than xp.  ;D

superboyac

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Re: Turning Windows 2003 Server into a workstation?
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2008, 03:28:53 PM »
I just wanted to revive this thread because I was thinking about Server 2003.  After all this time, what can any users here tell me about Server 2003?  Is it really as fast as I think, or are my initial reactions a little too exaggerated?

scancode

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Re: Turning Windows 2003 Server into a workstation?
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2008, 03:35:44 PM »
I've been running on eXPerience's Micro2003 for a while (over 10 months), and simply love it.
Also used a clean install of 2003EE, and worked fine. It's a really good Desktop OS.

superboyac

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Re: Turning Windows 2003 Server into a workstation?
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2008, 04:07:18 PM »
Interesting, scancode.

Tell me, is Micro2003 compatible with all drivers and programs that you've used?

First of all, what is experience Micro2003?  I have no idea.  I can assume it has something to do with Microsoft Windows Server 2003.  WHen I first used 2003, I didn't really continue because I was afraid to commit to it and find out some critical driver or software wasn't compatible with it.  Please provide more info.  Thanks!

Carol Haynes

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Re: Turning Windows 2003 Server into a workstation?
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2008, 05:31:40 PM »
I did a Google search and found references to Tiny2003 that still work but the only Micro2003 references I seemed to be able to find are dead torrent links.

scancode

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Re: Turning Windows 2003 Server into a workstation?
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2008, 06:42:58 AM »
I haven't run into any compatibility issues, but ymmv.
Micro2003 is mainly a gaming system, but I used it because it's running on a 1gb HDD ;)

eXPerience's Micro2003 is a modified version of Win2k3, with a lot of features removed.

Here are some snips from the NFO file.

Statistics:

Installation Time From End Of Formatting... 4 Mins 45 Secs <-- Mine was faster.
RAM Usage On First Installation............ 39.2 Mb        <-- 40.4 MB
Handles.................................... 2135
Threads.................................... 156
Processes.................................. 14
WINDOWS Folder............................. 165 Mb
Items In System32.......................... 521
ISO File Size.............................. 93.0 Mb

Standalone system only! - The "Network Connections" service has been kept, but this service is only there to allow the smooth install of Ethernet card drivers, or modem drivers. The "Network Connections" service is not there to support LAN networking! You could try plugging another PC into yours and see what happens, it might work, but LAN networking is not necessarily functional in this install.
(Not true. I'm on a mixed (wireless/wired) network, and the Micro2003 computer is running a FTP server, HTTP server, SMO server.) The only problem is that you can't use DNS names, only the IP address.


Single User Only! - you cannot create extra users. You can only use the account that is installed by default. You actually can create another "Administrator" but beware - it cannot save any of the settings in Windows! For example you log in with a created Administrator account called "Bobby" and change the desktop from blue to black, every time you log in as "Bobby" you will be back to the blue wallpaper again. None of the settings stay saved. Also, the new user would have a Windows 95 style theme as well. The main account that this installation gives you is not affected if you make up another Administrator account, but for the above reasons, making any new Administrator account is pointless. You cannot make a new "User" account at all, if you do, you will not be able to log in with the new account unless it is an Administrator's account and even then, it will not save any settings. Despite all of the above you can still of course change the existing account name. Just look in Control Panel and you will see "User Accounts" there.
(I believe Micro2003 uses minlogon, but I'm not sure. You don't want to mess with that.)


No Webcams, Scanners or Digital Cameras! - You cannot use these items in this version of Windows because the "Windows Image Acquisition" service is removed.
(I had to add that from a Win2k3 CD. A bit messy to add.)

FTP Sites - There is no "built in" support for downloading from FTP sites, try using Filezilla or WS_FTP if you need to do that. This functionality is gone because the "Application Layer Gateway" service is gone, along with ALG.EXE that normally runs in Task Manager taking up about 6Mb RAM for what amounts to no reason.
(Opera FTW)


No Visiting Windows Update! - You cannot visit Windows Update with this version of Windows because Internet Explorer is removed. DO NOT INSTALL WINDOWS UPDATES!

(You don't need updates. Most stuff is removed anyways)


No Printing! - You cannot use a printer with this version of Windows, because the "Print Spooler" service is removed.
(I got a printer working once bypassing the spooler. YMMV.)

No Password Storage - Windows will not save stored passwords, however, this only really applied to Internet Explorer and Outlook Express, which are removed. You will be OK using Firefox or Opera web browsers and Thunderbird email client for emails. Those are self contained programs and take care of storing/remembering your passwords by themselves.
(Sure, who can't remember their passwords?)

No CD-ROM Autoplay - When you insert a CD that would bring up a screen to install the program contained on the CD, this does not happen in this version of Windows, you will have to explore the CD manually and run whatever file it is that runs the program's setup - usually "setup.exe" on the root of the CD.
(Wee! No more autorun viruses!)

No Smart Card Detection!
(Some dongle protected software might not run :'()

No Scheduled Tasks! - You cannot set programs, like AntiVirus or Hard Disk Defrag programs to run in the future. If you are going to run those types of programs you will have to manually scan or defrag whenever it is convenient. Despite this, one program that will schedule its operations is Perfectdisk defrag, you do not need Task Scheduler for this program to run a scheduled defrag.
(I never used it, I don't need it.)

No Remote Desktop! - There is no Remote Desktop in this version of Windows - because the "Terminal Services" service is removed.
(Replaced with TightVNC and Remote Desktop Client)

No Themes! - You cannot have the Luna (Blue/Olive/Silver) desktop themes in this version of Windows, the only theme you can choose is "Windows Classic" which it is already set to by default.
(UXTheme.dll patch + DeviantART)

No "Uninterruptible Power Supply" service! - I always thought "UPS Service" delivered parcels but apparently not - if you have this type of device then it will not work on this version of Windows. A UPS is only used for emergencies like if you have a power cut - thats if you even have such a device.
(Your UPS will still feed your 'puter. You won't be able to see batt status and stuff tho.)



If you can cope with that, you'll be fine.
BTW, I found at least two live rapidshare links. (Yep, it's Warez. So? Sue me! Of course, you should replace the CD KEY with your LEGALLY PURCHASED one)

f0dder

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Re: Turning Windows 2003 Server into a workstation?
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2008, 09:50:34 AM »
I wonder what the point is of running such a stripped-down version? How much physical RAM do you save by turning off that many services? Is the system measurably (not just placebo) faster? Or is it done because it's omfg-leet?
- carpe noctem

scancode

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Re: Turning Windows 2003 Server into a workstation?
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2008, 04:25:16 PM »
128 mb ram
800mhz processor
1GB HDD

does that sound stripped down enough?

Seriously, it *feels* faster. I should do some benchmarks...

justice

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Re: Turning Windows 2003 Server into a workstation?
« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2008, 05:18:22 AM »
I'm turning windows 2008 standard into a workstation (well on virtual pc) using the guide of some msdn blog. You can enable nearly all vista features (except MCE), but by default nothing is enabled, which is great if you want to run with just the things you want. Everything is there. Unreal Tournament 3 is supposed to run fine.

Using Windows 2008 as a SUPER workstation OS
Continued

justice

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Re: Turning Windows 2003 Server into a workstation?
« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2008, 05:48:50 AM »
Well works fine, after folling the instructions on those pages and running automatic updates it's now using about 256mb of memory + cache, running vista classic under virtual pc. After checking that I disabled windows defender and its down to about 230. Superfetch is working after adding 2 registry keys, there is even a window live messenger download link (and windows mail, photo gallery, media player, calendar, contacts,notepad, wordpad, paint is already there)  :up:

Windows 2008 workstation guides

Some security software won't install that are meant for home users of course but not really a problem as pc tools free antivirus works fine (if you want that).

System is speedy and feels robust. All windows vista drivers should install, which is pretty good (no experience).I guess application compatibility would make or break this, i can try and install adobe cs3 if you like.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2008, 06:04:46 AM by justice »

Lashiec

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Re: Turning Windows 2003 Server into a workstation?
« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2008, 07:17:50 AM »
128 mb ram
800mhz processor
1GB HDD

does that sound stripped down enough?

o_O, that's even worse than my old PC. How much gaming can you do on that? I guess a custom OS is mandatory, indeed.

Unreal Tournament 3 is supposed to run fine.

Wait, wait, Unreal Tournament 3? On Virtual PC? How is that? Software renderer?

justice

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Re: Turning Windows 2003 Server into a workstation?
« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2008, 08:13:21 AM »
no not in a virtual pc :) if you'd run it native.  :Thmbsup: link. screenshors below are taken with windows search indexing.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2008, 08:26:47 AM by justice »

Lashiec

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Re: Turning Windows 2003 Server into a workstation?
« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2008, 08:31:49 AM »
Ooooh, Resource Monitor *drools*

Darwin

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Re: Turning Windows 2003 Server into a workstation?
« Reply #20 on: November 01, 2008, 09:19:59 AM »
OK I find myself with a copy of Windows 2008 Server Standard and am intrigued by this. I'm going to install it to a virtual machine and play! Thanks for the links to the guides, justice! Reading through them now.

"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

superboyac

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Re: Turning Windows 2003 Server into a workstation?
« Reply #21 on: November 01, 2008, 04:15:37 PM »
I still remember how impressed I was with the speed of Server 2003 when I started this thread years ago.  If driver/software compatibility was not an issue, I would be really, really interested in doing this still.

Darwin

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Re: Turning Windows 2003 Server into a workstation?
« Reply #22 on: November 01, 2008, 04:19:47 PM »
Hmm... I have a couple of spare 40GB harddrives kicking around... maybe I should just swap out my XP Pro drive and swap in one of the 40GB drives and see what happens... I've nothing to lose! Will definitely try this in the coming weeks (lot on my plate right now, so will defer it).
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Darwin

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Re: Turning Windows 2003 Server into a workstation?
« Reply #23 on: November 08, 2008, 09:43:42 AM »
Ha, ha - forgot about a 100GB 7200.1 drive that I have... Swapped it into my newest notebook this morning and installed Windows Server 2008 64-bit... Nice and no problems so far. Will report back later. If I like this a lot, I am either going to stick with the drive that I have or buy a 320GB third generation 7200 rpm drive. Of course, this would leave me with a 250GB drive... Hmmmm... I guess the smart thing to do would be to install onto the 250GB drive, but it's only 5400rpm.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Darwin

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Re: Turning Windows 2003 Server into a workstation?
« Reply #24 on: November 10, 2008, 01:04:43 PM »
I like Windows Server 2008 64-bit. It's nice to see all 4 GB of RAM recognised and used. However, at the end of the day, I really don't see any significant performance boost from using it over Vista Home Premium 32-bit (Sp-1). I'm sure that "stressing" it might reveal some areas of superiority, but I can't be bothered, at the moment. I run Office 2007, which apparently doesn't play nicely with 64-bit Windows, and need to get back to work. Thus, the original 250GB HD with Vista, my applications, and e-mail already installed and set up is back in the notebook. The smaller drive with Server 2008 installed and activated is back in its external enclosure (useless there, BTW and OT, because getting a SATA drive to be recognised and mounted in Windows via USB 2 is more miss than hit).

When I have time in the future I'll play with it again. Just thought I'd update my previous posts in this thread.

Justice - any updates on your experience?
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin