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I'm building a new machine which will be used primarily for development and a little bit for photo editing. I am wondering if there will be any benefits in using Windows Server 2012 R2 as my workstations OS instead of Windows 8.1.

My guess is that the kernel is same for both and they use the same drivers? Is that a correct assumption? The only reason I was thinking of Server 2012 was due the availability of Hyper-V

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closed as primarily opinion-based by KronoS, Tog, Mokubai, ncdownpat, Breakthrough Oct 15 '13 at 19:42

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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Windows 8 has Hyper-V. The Windows Server makes a horrible desktop operating system, it actually does not have your tradtional desktop interface unless you enable it. I can't speak to the driver supporability but Windows Server 2012R2 is only 64-bit so it would only accept signed 64-bit drivers. Its safe to assume it will accept Windows 8 drivers. –  Ramhound Oct 9 '13 at 14:02
    
@Ramhound Thanks for confirming that Windows 8 has Hyper-V. I thought windows server 2012 had a desktop experience add-on as outline here technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc754314.aspx –  Danish Oct 9 '13 at 15:40
    
Please note I mention that you have to enable it otherwise its not neabled. Sounds like you want Windows 8. There isn't anything that the Hyper-V feature within Windows Server 2012R2 can do that Windows 8 cannot do at least not for somebody interesting in using it for programming or photo editing. Besides Windows Sever 2012R2 is only a VLK product. –  Ramhound Oct 9 '13 at 15:45
    
@Ramhound Yes indeed, you did mention I have to enable it. I have a MSDN membership and hence I can get any of the Microsoft OSs server or desktop. Even in light of that, I take it you recommend Windows 8? If you post your reasoning as an answer, I'll be able to accept it. –  Danish Oct 9 '13 at 15:57

4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you need any of the Server services such as DNS, DHCP or others and have no second machine to run these on, this could be a reason to use the server version.

Server 2012R2 does have the modern tile interface, but it doesn't come with any of the Windows Store Apps that Windows 8.x comes with. It doesn't even have a store tile. I think you can get these features after adding the "Desktop experience" feature. But if you don't like these apps, Windows server hides them all.

Also Windows 8.1 makes it harder to use a local account and wants you to use a Microsoft-account to log on to your machine. By default server does not use Microsoft accounts.

2012 R2 still comes with the full Windows 7 backup feature, while 8.1 has removed most of this feature. If you need it, server is the better choice.

Previously a superior IIS version and Hyper-V were reasons to use server, but these are now just as good on the workstation OS.

Having said all that, Windows 8 is optimized for desktop applications while server has been tweaked to run background applications such as Windows Services. So for a desktop PC, Windows Pro is the much better choice unless you have a real good reason to use server.

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"... while server has been tweaked to run background applications such as Windows Services..." - Is this also something which is a default setting and can be tweaked to be more desktop oriented? –  Danish Oct 10 '13 at 13:18
    
@Danish - Yes, you can some tweak things yourself, but that's a different topic and hard to answer in a comment. If you are interested, ask another question on how to make a server OS behave more like a Workstation. –  Peter Hahndorf Oct 10 '13 at 17:10

The Windows Server in general makes a horrible desktop operating system, it actually does not have your tradtional desktop interface unless you enable it. I can't speak to the driver interoperability but Windows Server 2012R2 is only 64-bit so it would only accept signed 64-bit drivers. I feel from based on what technical facts I understand about Window Server itself its safe to assume it will accept the desktop drivers.

Both Windows Server(2010, 2010, 2012, 2012R2) and Windows( Vista, 7,8, 8.1) all use the same driver model. There isn't anything that the Hyper-V feature within Windows Server 2012R2 can do that Windows 8 cannot do at least not for somebody interesting in using it for programming or photo editing.

While you can make a Windows Server into a desktop operating system it really isn't designed for that purpose. You likely will encounter software that refuses to install. Since you are willing to deal with the Modern UI you might as well just install Windows 8.1

I should point out that Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 should be used interchangeably.

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I've been using Server 2008 R2 for some time now, and for me it's been great. (Haven't tried server 2012 yet - I think I'll wait until the next one comes out)

One main advantage I see in server versions (which seems to annoy everyone above me in this thread), is that they have nearly all options the workstation versions have - you just need to install them yourself. This means that by default the server should be lighter on resources and work smoother (and probably somewhat be more secure, since there are less services running on it). According to Wikipedia the server versions (starting with 2008) require about half the memory and HD space comparing to the workstation versions.

It might be annoying at first to configure everything, but I think it worth it. I've been coding, gaming and managing server farms on my Server-2008r2 and I never had any problems with drivers, performance, etc.

I've also heard that server versions are built in such a manner that makes it more stable (but I don't know how to confirm it - ideas are welcome).

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I believe server 2012 R2 is available on MSDN now. Is that the one you are waiting for or did you mean something else? –  Danish Oct 9 '13 at 17:02
    
No, I meant the server version of windows 8.1 It just seems like Microsoft make a good OS (like XP) and then a bad one (like Vista) and then a good one again (like 7). Or maybe it's just me, taking a realy long time to adapt to the changes... –  EliadTech Oct 9 '13 at 17:39

Server 2012 has the data deduplication feature, which is very nice if you have a lot of redundant data. It is possible to enable it on Windows 8 with hackery, but there is no guarantee it wont break with future patches.

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