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I have a Dual Core Intel CPU E7200, 4 GB RAM, and a NvIDIA 8600 GT for graphics and 500GB HDD. This configuration runs Windows 7 Ultimate very smoothly, but now I recently signed up to the MS WebSiteSpark programme and have downloaded the Windows Server 2008 R2.

So my question is whether I can use the Server Edition for my day to day use, play games, etc etc??

I want to install the Server OS to monitor my Home Network and also for some web development I have been trying out lately.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Dec 17 '09 at 11:45

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3  
What do you mean by "monitor"? –  Stephen Jennings Dec 17 '09 at 12:33
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6 Answers 6

In the days of Vista, A LOT of users were not happy about the experience yet still wanted DX10 Gaming and decent OS performance, so a movement started that introduced Windows Workstation 2008. You see the kernel was infact quicker in the server product, real world tests prove as much as 15-17% quicker.

Besides this, if you're a developer its often great to work directly on a server product, but at the same time you want to still keep your after hours activities (gaming, movie watching, etc) Your first answer is YES, all of these can be done on a server.

You will run into some practicality issues, but most of these can be overcome. For example - Certain AV products won't install on a server. But I've always found a workaround for this. Another thing is some Nokia phone software also required some extra hacking to get working, and at one stage even Windows Live Products needed to be "hacked" to be installable on a server product. Some old games that check for OS, also might not install on a server OS. Perhaps the biggest loss, Windows Media Center.

However the reverse is true, most server products can be "tweaked" to get to work on client systems. Take SharePoint for example - you can get that running on Windows 7, if you know what you're doing.

I am not sure if you're going to see any real performance increase in using Windows 2008 Server R2 vs Windows 7. Windows 7 sports a very well written kernel and explorer shell, and I have yet to find any convincing evidence that the server product is somehow quicker.

I guess its all about preference and experimentation, don't let anyone on here tell you otherwise. Do what you want, and enjoy the experience!

If you want some inspiration I would suggest looking at this web site: http://www.win2008workstation.com/

Enjoy and take care....

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Very well said, JL. I tend to notice that with a a lot of people converting server into a workstation their biggest beef is Antivirus and Media Center support. Other then that its just a few mere simple tweaks and because they share same kernel application practicality is around 99%. –  user33375 Feb 24 '11 at 7:11
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Which real world tests prove a quicker speed? –  Tom Wijsman Feb 26 '11 at 9:17
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Since this is the #1 result on google, I will chime in. I tried running 2008 R2 SP1 as my desktop OS. By the time you add back all the components that are removed from Windows 7, you basically just got Windows 7 with server added on. However sometimes it's a real PITA. For instance, I had to install a few hacks to get some of my games working, I had to install Game Explorer manually using Windows 7 files. You can't even burn files natively without running the localsystem/Administrator, which I don't like. I created another user that is an admin, but due to some insane server policy it doesn't matter. I don't know how burning a disc would be a security risk when I can easily copy files to usb drive.

It isn't worth it, just get Windows 7 Home Premium or Pro. You won't benefit from 2008 R2 unless you run it as is, instead of adding a bunch of server features. Although I do like the whole Server Configuration panel and the ability to actually remove and add features instead of Windows 7's method of just hiding it.

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I have a machine running Windows Server 2008 R2 and another machine running Windows 7 Ultimate as well (also have Windows 7 on a notebook).

In my opinion choosing between Windows 7 OS or Server 2008 R2 would be based soulfully upon the user's needs and experience in working in and around a Windows OS. I have not found anything that I could not do on Server 2008 R2 that I could on Windows 7.

The problem that most will run into is that most Windows features are disabled by default on Server 2008 R2 and to use these they have to be activated with the "add or remove features" or Run » services.msc. Most inexperienced users will have trouble simply activating Windows Aero themes because in Server 2008 R2, Desktop experience is disabled by default.

So for someone who just wants to play games and use their PC for media, movies, music, etc – unless you are good with software – I would recommend Windows 7 Home Premium. For those of you who would prefer the advanced controls and the ability to administer your own server, Windows Server 2008 R2 is the way to go also for those who are pondering about the performance difference.

I personally think that Server 2008 R2 is faster and more powerful, just due to the fact that my machine – which has a Quad core processor overclocked to 4.05 GHz and 8 Gigs of RAM – running Windows 7 Ultimate is not showing a noticeable difference in speed compared to my machine with a 2.30 GHz Dual core Processor and 2 Gigs of RAM running Server 2008 R2. Both are 64 bit.

My machine running Windows 7 does multitasking better but that is only due to the 8 Gigs of RAM compared to the 2 Gigs. Before I installed Server 2008 I was running Windows 7 Ultimate and saw more of a difference in speed and performance between the two machines than I do now.

In my personal opinion I do think that Server 2008 R2 is superior to Windows 7.

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The fundamental difference between Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 is how tasks are prioritized. To give you an example, by default in Windows Server 2008 R2, processor scheduling is set to prioritize for background processes rather than foreground. The reason for this is that most of a Server's work is done without user intervention. Why on earth would you want to increase system overhead by installing audio and DirectX?

Changing Windows Server 2008 R2 to act like its desktop counterpart is nothing more than flicking a switch. Changing the CPU processor scheduling to Programs here... enabling the Themes and Audio service there....... a pinch of changing the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Multimedia\SystemProfile "systemresponsivenss" registry value to 20 (thus optmizing audio playback)...essentially you have a respectable gaming counterpart.

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Windows Server is not intended for gaming/media. If you are wanting to get into that then you will want a separate computer that has windows 7 on it. Windows Server is intended for http, print, ftp, file, database, mail, dns, and active directory servers. Keep this in mind when considering implementation.

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I would suggest installing Server 2008 as a virtual machine. You can give it 1GB of RAM and not notice much of a performance hit.

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protected by nhinkle Feb 16 '12 at 19:06

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