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I've noticed quite a few people using Windows Server as their main desktop operating system. Why? I've never used it, so I don't know if it has some productivity features that aren't available in Windows Vista/7, but I'd like to know, if only to quench my curiosity.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

A couple reasons why I prefer Server:

  • Tends to be more stable, and have lower resource consumption (no proof of this, but it uses less at boot on a bigger machine than my laptop running Vista)
  • Allows for more than 1 remote session (default is 3 I think?) which makes it easier to share with others, or even to have multiple sessions for yourself
  • For 2008+, better VM support at the OS level (Hyper-V)

At work I have been running 2008/2008R2 with themes, so it looks very much like Vista (except no sidebar, which I don't miss). I would put it on my laptop, but I heard Hyper-V negates many of the power options, so I'm waiting for Win7 to come out.

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B/c we're SuperUsers and we like to test stuff out. I've been using it on my laptop for a year since I got it free from the Win2k8 launch event last year, just to get a feel for it. It's the same codebase as Vista. But where Vista starts with features activated and you pick which things to uninstall, 2k8 starts on the other end and you add what you'll need. Theoretically, someone with Vista should be able to achieve the exact same performance as someone with 2k8, but unlike Vista, the default install is very responsive, if spartan.

OTOH I have yet to find a bluetooth dongle that works and some desktop programs refuse to run at all. I'm just about ready to ditch this and restore XP.

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Since this time, I have moved back to Windows XP for my main development machine. Speed is the same. XP has an annoying way of temporarily locking explorer when I click on a network resource that isn't available. Server 2008 wasn't as bad about this, maybe it had a shorter network response time-out by default? Anyway, I'm happier with XP: more compatibility. Some applications refuse to install when they detect a server OS. If I need 2k8 I'll run a VM for it. – hyperslug Sep 26 '09 at 14:40

Development, specifically SharePoint, which cannot run on Windows XP and requires major hacking to get it to install and run on Vista.

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+1 yep that's helped out too, but I think I'm just going to run 2k8 as a VM from now on. – hyperslug Aug 5 '09 at 6:29

A MSDN Blog post -- Using Windows Server 2008 as a SUPER workstation OS, Feb 2008.

Windows Server 2008 is the best OS to be released till date from Microsoft's stable. And the moment I got hold of the RTM build I could not resist installing it on my workstation. Due to the nature of my work I always prefer running a Server OS on my main workstation... I have been running Windows 2003 disguised as XP (with all the themes and stuff) all these days.

Another post -- Using Windows Server as a desktop, Aug 2008.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I really do have strong views about Vista: I loathe the thing. As a software developer, I find there is just so much of Vista that gets in the way...

Maybe things will change with Windows 7?

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