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I'm about to setup a server/media computer in my home, but I don't know which OS to use. I'm currently running Ubuntu, but I dislike having to do use the terminal so much. I have configured a server running Windows XP before, so I know how to set up a server with a GUI.

The computer is going to be hooked up to two TV screens at the same time. I'm particularly going to use it for:

  • Server apps (HTTP, ftp, svn, remote access, etc...)
  • Spotify
  • Watching HD movies
  • Web surfing (with flash)

What would be the benefits of using Windows 7 versus Windows Server 2008? For home server use, is one more appropriate than the other?

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migrated from Feb 17 '11 at 17:46

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Are you planning to host any sites (IIS)? – Raj Kashyap Feb 15 '11 at 19:15
Yes, but with apache – Mockarutan Feb 15 '11 at 19:18
Considering how much more expensive a Windows Server license is than a Windows 7 license, it seems unlikely that it would make more sense for you to use that. – nhinkle Feb 17 '11 at 21:16
I can get both legally for free though my school. – Mockarutan Feb 25 '11 at 1:55

You cannot use TV cards with Windows Server 2008/R2, as it has no support for BDA drivers and it seems difficult or impossible to install Flash Player on Firefox or Chrome.

If you are using Apache for the web server, I cannot see what Windows Server can offer as any advantage as a media centre.

I have around 4 unused Windows Server 2008 R2 licences, but my HTPC runs Windows 7 Ultimate.

EDIT: You would have have more networking connections for BitTorrent though, and if your websites have a lot of concurrent vistors, but you can use a Windows Server 2008 virtual machine on the same physical machine for that.

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@ Paradroid, There is a tcpip patcher for W7 to increase half open connections for bit…... one poster said the limit was raised to 120 in Windows 7 version 7068, so it may not be necessary to patch it. – Moab Feb 17 '11 at 21:06
Chrome comes with flash builtin. – paradd0x Feb 17 '11 at 21:09
Flash works fine on Windows Server in my experience. Chrome has Flash built-in and sandboxed now, so if you can install Chrome, you should be able to install Flash. – nhinkle Feb 17 '11 at 21:10
Oh yes, I just meant Flash on Firefox. – paradroid Feb 17 '11 at 21:15

Windows 7 Home Premium (with its Media Center) will work for the things you have listed. [Edited after your response about using Apache]

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I went with Windows 7 Pro and now the server is up and running with everything a was planning on using, thinks for the answers. – Mockarutan Feb 25 '11 at 1:57

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