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General => General Chat => Topic started by: Ampera on December 27, 2016, 02:13:57 am

Title: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: Ampera on December 27, 2016, 02:13:57 am
I have a copy of Server 2016 Datacenter, I was thinking it might make a nice, lightweight operating system. Security is vastly improved over desktop versions, and a lot of the bloatware is gone. It's sorta like how NT was used in the 90s.

Thoughts?
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: NiHaoMike on December 27, 2016, 02:54:52 am
Assuming it's the version with the full GUI, it should just work.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: Ampera on December 27, 2016, 02:58:59 am
Assuming it's the version with the full GUI, it should just work.

Even the cut down version can be retrofitted with a GUI.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: TiN on December 27, 2016, 04:11:18 am
I use 2008 since ~2010 (used 2003 prior to that) and it works happily ever. I often have 40+ programms open/100+ tabs in browsers, and server OSes run better on bigger RAM/CPU core count machines I usually have (currently 10c Xeon + 56GB RAM).
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: evb149 on December 27, 2016, 04:21:14 am
I've heard of it being done on other 'server' versions of the OS.  I imagine it may be possible to do with this version.
One problem I've heard about, though, is that there is a lot of badly written 'utility' software out there that will REFUSE to install or work on a server OS since they only "support" desktop versions.  So if you want to use such bad 3rd party software you may have some problems in getting it to work properly.
Maybe even some Microsoft SW might behave like that, I don't know.
It could be that some device drivers could also give such problems.
I would not be surprised if anti-virus packages were often like that.


 
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: Ampera on December 27, 2016, 05:01:20 am
I've heard of it being done on other 'server' versions of the OS.  I imagine it may be possible to do with this version.
One problem I've heard about, though, is that there is a lot of badly written 'utility' software out there that will REFUSE to install or work on a server OS since they only "support" desktop versions.  So if you want to use such bad 3rd party software you may have some problems in getting it to work properly.
Maybe even some Microsoft SW might behave like that, I don't know.
It could be that some device drivers could also give such problems.
I would not be surprised if anti-virus packages were often like that.

I would probably have to change registry values/compatibility stuff, but I am going to dualboot with Windows 7 for now.

I just don't want all the crap that Windows 10 introduces.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: Halcyon on December 27, 2016, 06:29:36 am
Stick with Windows 7 in my opinion (which you can still buy). It will be supported until at least January 2020. Windows Server just introduces services and features you're probably never going to use. I run Windows Server on a server here which does some RADIUS auth./Certificate Services/Active Directory stuff and it's still overkill. It won't necessarily offer you any more stability. With Windows (depending on the version), proper hardware is the key to stability, not the version of OS you're running*.

If you're having issues with stability or uptime, it's not Windows 7 that's causing you dramas, take a look at your hardware. It might not be faulty, just a little bit crap.


* Unless you're running Windows 95a, Millennium Edition, Vista, 8.x... then you're on your own.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: Ampera on December 27, 2016, 08:05:34 am
Stick with Windows 7 in my opinion (which you can still buy). It will be supported until at least January 2020. Windows Server just introduces services and features you're probably never going to use. I run Windows Server on a server here which does some RADIUS auth./Certificate Services/Active Directory stuff and it's still overkill. It won't necessarily offer you any more stability. With Windows (depending on the version), proper hardware is the key to stability, not the version of OS you're running*.

If you're having issues with stability or uptime, it's not Windows 7 that's causing you dramas, take a look at your hardware. It might not be faulty, just a little bit crap.


* Unless you're running Windows 95a, Millennium Edition, Vista, 8.x... then you're on your own.

I am having no stability/uptime issues, Windows 7 is running fine, but it's hindered by it's Vista origins. I like the idea of upgrading to Windows 10 because it's a faster operating system, but I don't want all the bloaty crap that comes with it like Cortana, and I don't want all the stupid monitoring crap.


But I pulled the trigger, and thankfully I manage to not pull the trigger to my head while doing this.

Man do I got a story to tell.

So, installing Server 2016, not as easy as you might think, at least not for me.

Long story short, I have DVD+RWs. That's it, I don't have USB drives, I just don't got any, need to rectify that in the future.

And Server 2016 doesn't FIT onto a DVD (over 5GB in size). So I thought I might be able to chuck some files off the ISO to make it lighter. (Btw I got the system off Microsoft Imagine, didn't steal notin)
yea, everything is stored in an installation image too big to fit on a DVD.

So, ha, ha, haaaa... I thought if I don't have a flash drive, and a DVD won't fit... What sort of bootable storage device can I use to put the ISO image on and install Server 2016?

A hard drive!

So I gutted my media center computer that has been sitting ignored for ages (Sadly) and grabbed a drive that I never hooked up and had just thrown in. Windows didn't want to partition, or do anything with it, and it was a spare bad blocks drive, so I am assuming it's dead.

Next drive lucky, time for a 300 GB WD Caviar Blue with bad blocks, but still working. One partition later, and I could use it. So I used a tool called YUMI to "Burn" the ISO on there with a strange pocketed bootloader... Yea I don't know what the hell it's doing. I can't use DVD burning software as it only works for optical media, I can't use Win32DiskImager because A. It doesn't work with fixed drives and B. I don't f**king trust it (I lost two computers to it, never try to write a floppy with that software, it will mistake your C drive for the floppy, MS-DOS on an i7 was funny for a few seconds), so that worked fine.

Booted up, and started the installer

I want to dualboot, and I am not going to take no for an answer here. Windows Server 2016 setup has the option of, bin the Win7 installation, or throw me on a drive and see what happens.

I chose the latter, and it installed on a second partition on my SSD. But one reboot later, and it wouldn't boot in. I thought, Ahh I'll just add it to the Windows 7 bootloader.

Yeea, I used EasyBCD, added it as an entry, and it complained that winload.exe's digital signature couldn't be verified.

No matter what I did, including trying to swap both the file and signature of Windows 7's winload.exe, to no luck, until I decided I was going to try to repair the bootloader or whatever I could try on the install disk's repair utilities.

So booted that up, and lo and behold, it didn't go into the installer, but the Server 2016 installation! The bootloader on the install disk allowed me to enter both Windows 7 and Server 2016.

So I decided to not bother messing with anything else, and that I am going to leave the 300GB hard drive in and just use that bootloader to switch into either system, with the accidental perk of having the setup utility incase something goes to pot with my install.

Not gonna mess with anything else, I am sure I made more errors along the way, and there probably was a stupidly easy solution to all of it, but that doesn't matter now. It is working, and that is what I need it to do.

So now the question is, is this viable? I think it may be, but time will tell, but one thing is for sure.

I.E. on Server operating systems is LITERALLY unusable. I can't even install google chrome.

Cheers.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: Ampera on December 27, 2016, 08:41:16 am
UPDATE:

Everything installing smoothly, I tried to use some programs from the other installation. Steam works fine in that manner, but an attempt to use Ext2FSD (Windows Ext support) resulted in it picking up my partitions as EXT3, and not mounting them properly.

Whatever, drivers and everything are fine.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: slicendice on December 30, 2016, 11:29:39 am
If your computer is online pretty much 24/7, or you don't mind long boot up times, then yes, use Windows Server. The Server version of Windows is so much better in any aspect, especially when it comes to stability and reliability. Only two reasons I don't use Windows server as my main workstation OS is the cost and convenience. Windows 7/8.1/10 has all the features I need out of the box. But Tweaking the server allows you to get all the same features and much more.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: suicidaleggroll on December 30, 2016, 04:41:36 pm
The server versions of Windows have horrible licensing requirements.  You can't install Office, you need the "special" server version of Office for twice the price.  Every user needs a user CAL, every user who wants to remote desktop in needs a remote desktop CAL, every device that wants to talk to the computer needs a device CAL, etc.  Using a Windows server OS in a desktop environment will likely require many hundreds of dollars in additional licensing that is not required for the desktop version.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: Ampera on December 30, 2016, 05:35:38 pm
The server versions of Windows have horrible licensing requirements.  You can't install Office, you need the "special" server version of Office for twice the price.  Every user needs a user CAL, every user who wants to remote desktop in needs a remote desktop CAL, every device that wants to talk to the computer needs a device CAL, etc.  Using a Windows server OS in a desktop environment will likely require many hundreds of dollars in additional licensing that is not required for the desktop version.

Not when your a student :)

Anyways it's been working brilliantly, and when Microsoft's usually crappy and broken ass services don't work, use open source. Libre/Open Office is fine for most people.
You can also turn most of that certificate crap off or ignore it, and those are mostly for features I don't use anyways. Remote Desktop is rarely used by me, and Samba
which IS used by me is as dysfunctional as Windows 7 (Which is alright I guess)

But the advantages that I receive are not bad. I get a Windows 10 experience WITHOUT stupid Cortana spying on me, I get an honestly better interface, which I find ironic since it looks like something that can be made with MDA characters, but whatever, it's minimalist enough.

I also get the "Advanced" (Stupidly confusing) configuration, but it does allow me to do a lot of stuff I couldn't normally do on Desktop

My verdict is if you are looking at a business use, go away, it's not worth it in monetary terms for you, but if your a student like me, or your an enthusiast with access to an MSDN license (Like most of us wish we had) you might as well give it a try, and at the end of the day, I still have Windows 7 on dual boot.

Also I cannot confirm,  but I think Server 2016 Datacenter at least might have legacy driver support as I was able to install drivers for my WinTV HVR-1800 TV Tuner, which is fairly old. So unless Happauge updated the driver (And stuck it into a really old installer) it's got legacy driver support, which could be a good way out in 4 years when Win7 support kicks the bucket.

And yea, it runs your windows programs, don't think it doesn't. It has no Edge or fancy ass windows application support, or whatever that is (Not really sure), but I never had that in Windows 7 anyways...

Also, remember Hypervising, you can just have a Win 7 VM on hand and do all the stuff you can't on Server 2016 (Which I might actually do)
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: KhronX on December 30, 2016, 05:55:21 pm
I actually had / used Server 2008 R2 for a few years, with the freebie student license i got, back in '09 or '10 :)

Apart from having to edit the Kaspersky .msi file to fool the OS check, i don't really recall having any (serious) issues. Even migrated (read: drive-cloned) the OS across three laptops since then :D Finally ended up installing Win10 about a year ago, using the Win7 license that came with my latest laptop though.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: Ampera on December 30, 2016, 06:07:49 pm
I actually had / used Server 2008 R2 for a few years, with the freebie student license i got, back in '09 or '10 :)

Apart from having to edit the Kaspersky .msi file to fool the OS check, i don't really recall having any (serious) issues. Even migrated (read: drive-cloned) the OS across three laptops since then :D Finally ended up installing Win10 about a year ago, using the Win7 license that came with my latest laptop though.

2008 R2 found it's home on my IBM 325. Not a bad operating system, but I wouldn't use it as my main OS.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: slicendice on December 30, 2016, 06:31:19 pm
Server 2008R2 still works quite well, but if you want the latest virtualization support with latest tech and want no Cortana spyware as you stated, then def. go for Server 2016 or at least Sever 2012R2.

The MS student licenses are very generous (free), so I would def. go for server in this case.

When I was at school for a brief 2 years, all Operating systems on the school lab computers were Windows server 2012R2.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: Ampera on December 30, 2016, 10:36:10 pm
Server 2008R2 still works quite well, but if you want the latest virtualization support with latest tech and want no Cortana spyware as you stated, then def. go for Server 2016 or at least Sever 2012R2.

The MS student licenses are very generous (free), so I would def. go for server in this case.

When I was at school for a brief 2 years, all Operating systems on the school lab computers were Windows server 2012R2.

I went to MIT for spark a couple years ago, the computers ran Windows 7 Enterprise.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: Ampera on January 11, 2017, 09:20:49 am
The server versions of Windows have horrible licensing requirements.  You can't install Office, you need the "special" server version of Office for twice the price.  Every user needs a user CAL, every user who wants to remote desktop in needs a remote desktop CAL, every device that wants to talk to the computer needs a device CAL, etc.  Using a Windows server OS in a desktop environment will likely require many hundreds of dollars in additional licensing that is not required for the desktop version.

This is not true, and sorry for the slight necropost, but this is important information to the topic at hand for anybody who wants to try what I'm doing.

Long story short, Microsoft office installed just fine for me, check.

(http://prntscr.com/du6579)

There was no additional fees to be paid, it's just standard office as supplied by my school. There is no special server stigma to it, and as far as I can tell,
http://stackoverflow.com/questions/28649763/installing-microsoft-office-on-a-windows-server (http://stackoverflow.com/questions/28649763/installing-microsoft-office-on-a-windows-server)

There is absolutely no restriction on Microsoft Office for Server 20xx

And it doesn't make sense the other way either. From the standpoint of Microsoft why would they charge extra for the 2 people who want to install office on an operating system that barely needs a desktop UI?

And there is no certificate anything to connect to another machine. Samba shares work fine, and remote desktop does to. I can even terminal into Windows Server 2000 which has 0 security, and vice versa if I set the settings right.

Anyways, how has it gone? Beautifully! While most don't, I can share programs between windows installs by shortcutting to them. I haven't yet had a program refuse to install because of it being a server OS, albeit I am sticking with Windows Defender for AV. As I said, word works fine, and so does Libre/OpenOffice. All desktop programs run fine.

So you might be thinking, what are the actual advantages? Why would I spend money on this?

The answer to this is, if you have to spend money on an individual copy, it's probably not worth it unless you are incredibly frustrated with windows and need a way out regardless of the cost.

But if you have access to Microsoft Imagine (Their give free stuff to students program) or an MSDN subscription, it's DEFINATELY worth spending the time to throw it on your system.

Here are the pros:

It's faster than any other desktop Windows installation including Windows 10.
It supports all Windows 10 drivers.
It has 0 Cortana, so you won't get spied on.
There are no forced updates.
It comes with a half decent AV.
It runs almost all desktop apps.

Here are the cons:
Everything is named differently and in a different place, but if you didn't already expect this, you haven't been using Windows.
If you don't have it for free, it's going to be a steep expenditure for you.
SOME programs may not work because it's a server OS. These programs can occasionally be tripped up and fooled into running, but most of them are things that already come with Server 2016 like
AV programs and things like Macrium Reflect.

These are all the details I can include. It's a great OS to run. It's the closest you can get to a decent Windows OS. Some people had mentioned Windows 10 Enterprise, but it's not as cut down as Server 2016.
You still get all the desktop junk that you will never use. Server 2016 is cut down, but not uselessly cut down. You still get Windows Media Player, and the standard UI with all you'd need. Even still, if you are pining for the days of Windows 2000, arguably the last decent Windows Operating System Microsoft product, then this is for you, there will be no closer experience to that.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: slicendice on January 11, 2017, 11:10:59 am
Windows server does not have to cost much. You dont need to purchase Windows Server 2016 Datacenter if you are going to use it as a workstation OS. The price consist of the additional services you setup for your server.

There are multiple editions of Windows Server (2016):

EditionPriceDescriptionLicensing ModelCAL RequirementsSuitability for Workstation usage
Datacenter~$6000 + VAT + CALFor highly virtualized datacenter and cloud environmentsCore BasedWS CALCan be used as Workstation but makes no sense to pay extra for things that you don't need
Standard~$900 + VAT + CALFor Physical or minimally virtualized environmentsCore BasedWS CALCan be used but makes no sense to pay extra for things that you don't need
Essentials~$500 + VATFor small businesses with up to 25 users and 50 devicesProcessor BasedNO CAL RequiredCan be used as a Workstation and has all the basic but enhanced server like features Windows 10 has built in
Multipoint Premium ServerDepends on Volume license agreement with MicrosoftFor Volume Licensing Customers in Academic segments onlyProcessor BasedWS CAL + RDS CALIf you own your own School and need a lot of licenses then you can get this, else not. Can be used as a Workstation though
Storage ServerIncluded in the harware price when purcasing a storage server computerStandard and Workgroup editions available in the OEM channel onlyProcessor basedNO CAL RequiredThis edition is design to be a File Storage server and makes no sense to even attempt to use it as a Workstation
Hyper-V ServerAbsolutely FreeFree HypervisorAbsolutely FreeAbsolutely FreeCan not be used as a Workstation as it's only intended to serve as a container for virtualized environments

For students all of the above products and many more are absolutely free if your school has made a DreamSpark agreement with Microsoft.

For small business startups you can also apply for a BizSpark agreement from Microsoft. You will be entitled to all the above operating systems and many many more for free for the agreement period. After that you can purchase licenses for the product you want to still use for a fraction of the price.

When going into details about the CAL and CPU licensing models it gets a bit complicated and that information was left out from this post intentionally.

So there you have it! Hope it helps.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: Ampera on January 11, 2017, 11:15:10 am
Windows server does not have to cost much. You dont need to purchase Windows Server 2016 Datacenter if you are going to use it as a workstation OS. The price consist of the additional services you setup for your server.

There are multiple editions of Windows Server (2016):

EditionPriceDescriptionLicensing ModelCAL RequirementsSuitability for Workstation usage
Datacenter~$6000 + VAT + CALFor highly virtualized datacenter and cloud environmentsCore BasedWS CALCan be used as Workstation but makes no sense to pay extra for things that you don't need
Standard~$900 + VAT + CALFor Physical or minimally virtualized environmentsCore BasedWS CALCan be used but makes no sense to pay extra for things that you don't need
Essentials~$500 + VATFor small businesses with up to 25 users and 50 devicesProcessor BasedNO CAL RequiredCan be used as a Workstation and has all the basic but enhanced server like features Windows 10 has built in
Multipoint Premium ServerDepends on Volume license agreement with MicrosoftFor Volume Licensing Customers in Academic segments onlyProcessor BasedWS CAL + RDS CALIf you own your own School and need a lot of licenses then you can get this, else not. Can be used as a Workstation though
Storage ServerIncluded in the harware price when purcasing a storage server computerStandard and Workgroup editions available in the OEM channel onlyProcessor basedNO CAL RequiredThis edition is design to be a File Storage server and makes no sense to even attempt to use it as a Workstation
Hyper-V ServerAbsolutely FreeFree HypervisorAbsolutely FreeAbsolutely FreeCan not be used as a Workstation as it's only intended to serve as a container for virtualized environments

For students all of the above products and many more are absolutely free if your school has made a DreamSpark agreement with Microsoft.

For small business startups you can also apply for a BizSpark agreement from Microsoft. You will be entitled to all the above operating systems and many many more for free for the agreement period. After that you can purchase licenses for the product you want to still use for a fraction of the price.

When going into details about the CAL and CPU licensing models it gets a bit complicated and that information was left out from this post intentionally.

So there you have it! Hope it helps.

That does make sense, but I thought Essentials was command line only.

And your school doesn't need to sign a Dreamspark (Now called Microsoft Imagine) agreement. If they do, you get more software, but even homeschoolers with proof of homeschooling can get Imagine software for free, and this includes Server 2016.

But thanks for the info.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: slicendice on January 11, 2017, 11:18:38 am
Quote
And your school doesn't need to sign a Dreamspark (Now called Microsoft Imagine) agreement. If they do, you get more software, but even homeschoolers with proof of homeschooling can get Imagine software for free, and this includes Server 2016.

Oh yes, that is right, they changed that recently.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: george graves on January 11, 2017, 11:25:17 am
Win NT was so amazing at the time.  I'm glad win 7 is basically the same except for the crappy web browers.  Who writes that code?  Rabid Monkeys?
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: slicendice on January 11, 2017, 11:35:34 am
Win NT was so amazing at the time.  I'm glad win 7 is basically the same except for the crappy web browers.  Who writes that code?  Rabid Monkeys?

Yes Windows 2000 was the first Workstation OS that was based on NT tech. After that they abandoned the DOS based systems. Only Windows ME was not NT based, and that was a total flop, fast but completely unusable for most.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: Ampera on January 11, 2017, 11:42:04 am
Win NT was so amazing at the time.  I'm glad win 7 is basically the same except for the crappy web browers.  Who writes that code?  Rabid Monkeys?

Yes Windows 2000 was the first Workstation OS that was based on NT tech. After that they abandoned the DOS based systems. Only Windows ME was not NT based, and that was a total flop, fast but completely unusable for most.

That's completely not true. NT 3.1 was a workstation OS. That's why the main version of it had Workstation in the name, and why it was used on high end workstations.

Windows was just a renamed NT 5, it has no real drastic improvements over NT4 that make it stand out. NT 3.1, 3.5, 3.51, and 4 all had workstation versions, and so did Windows 2000.

In fact you could even argue Windows 2000 was less of a workstation version than NT3.x and 4 since it doesn't have a "Workstation" version, and instead uses the title of Professional.

EDIT: Slight correction, NT 3.1 doesn't have a version named Workstation, NT 3.5 does, NT 3.1 is still a Workstation OS though.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: kaz911 on January 11, 2017, 12:21:42 pm
I ran Win Server for some years - but have given up.

Not because it is not super stable - but because a lot of 3rd party software looks at your installation and says - uhh this is a SERVER - so you need to buy a 10-50x cost SERVER license. So anything like backup, image software and many others ended up with "can't use" without paying 10-50x what a normal "consumer" license would cost.

Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: Ampera on January 11, 2017, 12:54:42 pm
I ran Win Server for some years - but have given up.

Not because it is not super stable - but because a lot of 3rd party software looks at your installation and says - uhh this is a SERVER - so you need to buy a 10-50x cost SERVER license. So anything like backup, image software and many others ended up with "can't use" without paying 10-50x what a normal "consumer" license would cost.

There are ways to trick programs, but I find if there is a program that REALLY just will NOT run on a Server OS, I can use use a VM or dual boot.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: slicendice on January 11, 2017, 01:46:10 pm
Win NT was so amazing at the time.  I'm glad win 7 is basically the same except for the crappy web browers.  Who writes that code?  Rabid Monkeys?

Yes Windows 2000 was the first Workstation OS that was based on NT tech. After that they abandoned the DOS based systems. Only Windows ME was not NT based, and that was a total flop, fast but completely unusable for most.

That's completely not true. NT 3.1 was a workstation OS. That's why the main version of it had Workstation in the name, and why it was used on high end workstations.

Windows was just a renamed NT 5, it has no real drastic improvements over NT4 that make it stand out. NT 3.1, 3.5, 3.51, and 4 all had workstation versions, and so did Windows 2000.

In fact you could even argue Windows 2000 was less of a workstation version than NT3.x and 4 since it doesn't have a "Workstation" version, and instead uses the title of Professional.

EDIT: Slight correction, NT 3.1 doesn't have a version named Workstation, NT 3.5 does, NT 3.1 is still a Workstation OS though.

Oh, sorry, was meant to say first NT based system since NT 4.0 that lead to abandoning all other cores.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: slicendice on January 11, 2017, 01:57:14 pm
I ran Win Server for some years - but have given up.

Not because it is not super stable - but because a lot of 3rd party software looks at your installation and says - uhh this is a SERVER - so you need to buy a 10-50x cost SERVER license. So anything like backup, image software and many others ended up with "can't use" without paying 10-50x what a normal "consumer" license would cost.

If you really need a server OS for some reason, you probably already know that Windows has all backup features built in to the OS, even Windows Home has all you need for basic backups. No need for 3rd-party apps there.

Yes it is common that many apps refuse to install on server version of Windows, but  those apps are usually the kind of programs I would not use anyway because they usually do stuff to the system that many times render the OS unusable or at least unstable anyway. Most software that are not compatible with Server OS are just badly programmed tools and I would avoid those at all cost.

About licensing, yes there are tools that have different versions for Workstation and Server OSes, but those have also different prices because 1. Servers are used for professional stuff so there is usually some money involved. 2. The app may have more features on the server than on the workstation.

Rarely do I find any app today that does not run on Servers or want me to purchase a server or whatever expensive license, except when it comes to AV and Firewalls.

Yes it is possible to trick the app to think it runs on a Windows workstation computer.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: suicidaleggroll on January 11, 2017, 04:07:37 pm
The server versions of Windows have horrible licensing requirements.  You can't install Office, you need the "special" server version of Office for twice the price.  Every user needs a user CAL, every user who wants to remote desktop in needs a remote desktop CAL, every device that wants to talk to the computer needs a device CAL, etc.  Using a Windows server OS in a desktop environment will likely require many hundreds of dollars in additional licensing that is not required for the desktop version.

This is not true, and sorry for the slight necropost, but this is important information to the topic at hand for anybody who wants to try what I'm doing.

Long story short, Microsoft office installed just fine for me, check.

(http://prntscr.com/du6579)

There was no additional fees to be paid, it's just standard office as supplied by my school. There is no special server stigma to it, and as far as I can tell,
http://stackoverflow.com/questions/28649763/installing-microsoft-office-on-a-windows-server (http://stackoverflow.com/questions/28649763/installing-microsoft-office-on-a-windows-server)

There is absolutely no restriction on Microsoft Office for Server 20xx

And it doesn't make sense the other way either. From the standpoint of Microsoft why would they charge extra for the 2 people who want to install office on an operating system that barely needs a desktop UI?

And there is no certificate anything to connect to another machine. Samba shares work fine, and remote desktop does to. I can even terminal into Windows Server 2000 which has 0 security, and vice versa if I set the settings right.

To be clear, I was not speaking theoretically, I was speaking from experience, having actually set up a Windows Server 2012 and tried to install Office.  Thinking back, I don't believe the problem was with Office in general, it was the "Home and Business" version (the ~$100 one) I was trying to install that wouldn't work.  I contacted a Microsoft authorized partner and they confirmed that you need Office Standard (the ~$350 one), and you need one license per user ($700 for 2 users).  The CALs are a whole other ballgame.  From what I understand the device CALs are more of an "honor system" than a hard requirement, but I didn't go that route.  I went with the user CALs, remote desktop CALs, etc.  All told it was around $2000 in licensing to set up a Windows system that two people could remote into, including the OS itself, Office, and CALs.

I feel your impression of the situation is skewed since you're working with a free all-included educational license.  Things change dramatically when you leave the "education" world.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: slicendice on January 11, 2017, 07:24:50 pm
Yes the licensing for Windows server products gets quite complicated and expensive in the long run. If you buy anything with a CAL license required, you pay a lot extra every year.

This is why I love Linux, it's free and it works (assuming you can get it to work), and has quite good range of software too, but could be better though.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: suicidaleggroll on January 11, 2017, 07:57:56 pm
Yes the licensing for Windows server products gets quite complicated and expensive in the long run. If you buy anything with a CAL license required, you pay a lot extra every year.

This is why I love Linux, it's free and it works (assuming you can get it to work), and has quite good range of software too, but could be better though.

Indeed!  That Server 2012 system had to be Windows because of a piece of software that was required, but it's actually a VM that sits on top of a CentOS host  :-+
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: Howardlong on January 11, 2017, 08:27:02 pm
Windows was just a renamed NT 5, it has no real drastic improvements over NT4 that make it stand out. NT 3.1, 3.5, 3.51, and 4 all had workstation versions, and so did Windows 2000.

Hot plugging cards and USB were the most obvious "drastic improvements" to make it stand out as a desktop OS.

Quote
In fact you could even argue Windows 2000 was less of a workstation version than NT3.x and 4 since it doesn't have a "Workstation" version, and instead uses the title of Professional.

Despite Microsoft's more recent marketing and product branding attempts to confuse customers, the Windows 2000 lineup was pretty simple: Professional, Server, Advanced Server and Datacenter Server.

XP on the other hand was very little more than Windows 2000 with chrome (i.e., XP is Windows 5.1, 2000 is Windows 5.0).

Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: slicendice on January 11, 2017, 10:31:39 pm
XP on the other hand was very little more than Windows 2000 with chrome (i.e., XP is Windows 5.1, 2000 is Windows 5.0).

Absolutely correct!

XP is short for EXPERIENCE --> Windows 2000 with added chrome and some other minor tweaks = NT5.0 --> NT5.1

Then came NT5.2 --> Server 2003 and x64 version of XP/Server 2003 R2

After this we got 6.0, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 and now with Windows 10/Server 2016 we arrived at NT10.0

Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: Howardlong on January 11, 2017, 10:48:19 pm
One caveat for the OP is that some desktop software, for example for backups, frequently don't work on server platforms, they are often deliberately crippled.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: Ampera on January 12, 2017, 09:33:29 am
One caveat for the OP is that some desktop software, for example for backups, frequently don't work on server platforms, they are often deliberately crippled.

Server comes with it's own fairly decent server grade backup software. It also comes with a fairly decent server grade antivirus. Most of the utilities you can't use on server, server already comes with.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: slicendice on January 12, 2017, 11:54:01 am
One caveat for the OP is that some desktop software, for example for backups, frequently don't work on server platforms, they are often deliberately crippled.

Server comes with it's own fairly decent server grade backup software. It also comes with a fairly decent server grade antivirus. Most of the utilities you can't use on server, server already comes with.

Exactly, as it will conflict with the OS services or in worst case break the OS completely!
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: Howardlong on January 12, 2017, 02:00:11 pm
One caveat for the OP is that some desktop software, for example for backups, frequently don't work on server platforms, they are often deliberately crippled.

Server comes with it's own fairly decent server grade backup software. It also comes with a fairly decent server grade antivirus. Most of the utilities you can't use on server, server already comes with.

I am only going from my own experiences of running various bits of software designed for the Windows desktop OS that didn't work, or weren't supported, under various Windows server platforms.

An example off the top of my head are the Microchip XC series of compilers that specifically state they are not supported on Server versions. They're not supported on VMs either unless you buy a much more expensive version.

True, it's a minority of applications, but it only takes one application not to work, and you've wasted an awful lot of effort. I'm not stopping the OP going ahead, they are welcome to proceed, but I don't think it's right to imply or suggest it'll be a bed of roses, because that has certainly not been my experience I'm afraid.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: orin on January 13, 2017, 07:01:29 am
XP on the other hand was very little more than Windows 2000 with chrome (i.e., XP is Windows 5.1, 2000 is Windows 5.0).

Absolutely correct!

XP is short for EXPERIENCE --> Windows 2000 with added chrome and some other minor tweaks = NT5.0 --> NT5.1

Then came NT5.2 --> Server 2003 and x64 version of XP/Server 2003 R2

After this we got 6.0, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 and now with Windows 10/Server 2016 we arrived at NT10.0


I've been in the Windows programming game since 1986.

The serious breaks as far I'm concerned are between 2000 and XP and between XP and (ugh) Vista.  I can still easily write code that will run on XP (and compile in Visual Studio 2015), but not Windows 2000.  In fact at work, my project, until today, was set to build for XP - there's really very little in the way of APIs added since XP that the average program needs.  It was only a certain IPV6 related API that I was considering that prompted the change.

I used to run a server OS at work - 2008, 2012, various versions, with/without "Classic Shell", but after a hard disk failure, I installed Windows 10 and once you get rid of the extra crap on the start menu, it's not too bad; at least not bad enough to install Classic Shell again.  If only they'd stop dumbing down the admin tools...
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: slicendice on January 13, 2017, 07:45:23 am
I think the biggest change between Win2000 and XP was DirectX and bad GPU compatibility. I remember running a lot of games on Win2000 on a dual core system, and they were slow. Tested same game on Linux and it was 10-30x faster and very smooth. The gap got a lot smaller for the same game once XP was released, and has improved even more for every new Windows release.

Agree Once Windows 10 is stripped down of all the bling-bling, what you have left is really good and stable. But MAN Windows 10 has issues regarding UWP and any function that uses it. I'm currently on Preview build 15002 and it simply just does not work or just breaks the whole system. :-)

Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: Ampera on January 13, 2017, 03:28:27 pm
I think the biggest change between Win2000 and XP was DirectX and bad GPU compatibility. I remember running a lot of games on Win2000 on a dual core system, and they were slow. Tested same game on Linux and it was 10-30x faster and very smooth. The gap got a lot smaller for the same game once XP was released, and has improved even more for every new Windows release.

Agree Once Windows 10 is stripped down of all the bling-bling, what you have left is really good and stable. But MAN Windows 10 has issues regarding UWP and any function that uses it. I'm currently on Preview build 15002 and it simply just does not work or just breaks the whole system. :-)

This makes 0 sense as Windows 2000 and XP almost share drivers.

It's possible your driver install was bad. I've also heard things about Win2k having poor multi-threaded support, but that could just be that most programs at the time didn't use more than a single thread.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: slicendice on January 13, 2017, 06:52:55 pm
No the problem was with AGP and DirectX on NT core, non multithreading app/game had nothing to do with it. on Windows 2000 I got about 20-30fps, on Linux same game gave me 200-350fps. And the drivers for Linux during that time were horrible. :-D
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: rrinker on January 13, 2017, 07:53:23 pm
 WHo has to pay more and more every year? 5 years ago I bought a copy of Home Server 2011 and haven't had to pay a dime extra to Microsoft. And it is extremely stable and reliable - the only time it ever shuts down is if the power goes out (and about 3 years ago when I moved to my new house, I had to shut it down to move it). It doesn't even have a keyboard or mouse attached. Or monitor.
 The closest replacement today is Server 2016 Essentials. It is NOT CLI only, it has the full GUI. The limits on users are of no matter to someone using it at home. But I prefer to keep a server as a server and a workstation a workstation. I've toyed with the idea of building a beefier server (the hardware, other than some newer drives I've added, is MORE than 5 years old) and runnign some VMs on it, although for what, I'm not sure - I don;t mess with runnign my own server farm at home any more, which is why I like WHS 2011, it is pretty much maintenance free and I don;t have to log in to it other than when the power goes out so I can restart the Plex service to feed my Rokus. And eventually I will run low on disk space again and have to add another drive (13TB in it currently). It also invivibly backs up all the other computers int he house.

Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: slicendice on January 13, 2017, 08:10:14 pm
Yes that is the equivalent of Windows Server 2012 Essentials and now Windows Server 2016 Essentials. You pay for the OS, and after that no extra cost. Good product for home use.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: rrinker on January 14, 2017, 05:55:25 am
 And then spend the $20 and get a copy of StableBits DrivePool. The original version of WHS, based off 2003, had disk pooling and duplication, but they took it out. They couldn't get what is now DriveSpace working well enough to release, so they left the feature out. And DriveSpace is not in Essentials. What this does is avoids any RAID BS. I have a mix of drives from 1TB to 4TB in my server, yet important files are all duplicated across multiple physical drives in the server. There's no RAID. There's no need to replace a dead drive with one of the same size. I can even take a drive out and attach it to any other computer that can read NTFS and read the files from it - I do not need the DrivePool software to do this. Way more versatile than things like Drobo. I moved from my old server by building the new one with one new large drive, copied the first old drive, then reformatted said old drive and added it to the pool. THen went to the next drive - until I had all my old stuff copied over. 

 That's probably my next move, 2016 Essentials and DrivePool, it's the only logical upgrade from what I have now. Hmm, I do have this 32GB of RAM sitting around that I got super cheap. It's a notch slower than what's in my current desktop or I'd swap the 16GB I have for 32GB. And the server I have now, the MB is actually limited to 8GB max. Though I have another MB for the same gen processor which actually has MORE SATA ports, but it maxes out at 16GB.

Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: slicendice on January 14, 2017, 09:05:26 am
In Essentials 2012/2016 there is both DriveSpace and DiskPool + a lot of other drive and user management features. And a lot more features you will never even need. There is actually a lot of stuff in all Windows Servers that don't have a front end GUI but the functionality exists though.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: Howardlong on January 14, 2017, 12:47:09 pm
Yes that is the equivalent of Windows Server 2012 Essentials and now Windows Server 2016 Essentials. You pay for the OS, and after that no extra cost. Good product for home use.

... if you're prepared to put the effort in to learn it, and accept its limitations.

I have had WSE2012 running at my home office/lab for the past few years originally for combined NAS, remote access, and client backup. I found it more trouble than it was worth for doing the client backups, being glacially slow. The remote access was just too clunky and over complicated. The NAS works well enough (you'd hope they could get a file server by now) so that's all it's used for, but again is overcomplicated in a one-man-band operation like mine. I even got rid of using client domain logins. I use StorageWorks ShadowProtect as my client backup solution which is far faster than Microsoft's offerings, and for remote access I use a Draytek Vigor router which offers a reasonable and reliable VPN solution, and it also works with DDNS providers.

The only reason why I use any Windows Server products other than this is for prototyping enterprise solutions on VMWare for customers. Back in the days of Small Business Server, there was a reasonable case for running your own NAS/Email/RAS/Proxy box, but WSE doesn't really do it for me I'm afraid, next time I'll just put in a Windows desktop OS to do my NAS requirements.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: slicendice on January 14, 2017, 01:44:17 pm
Microsft has a Fileserver version too.

This is the problem with Windows users in general, they have no idea how to use Windows and always want to find a 3rd party app to do exactly the same stuff Windows does internally without the extra overhead.

I used to be one of those people, but I took the time to understand Windows and 99% of all stuff ever needed for managing big computer clusters/groups can be done with Windows internal tools only. The other 1% requires 3rd party app but most users never need those features anyway.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: Howardlong on January 14, 2017, 03:30:22 pm
Microsft has a Fileserver version too.

This is the problem with Windows users in general, they have no idea how to use Windows and always want to find a 3rd party app to do exactly the same stuff Windows does internally without the extra overhead.

I used to be one of those people, but I took the time to understand Windows and 99% of all stuff ever needed for managing big computer clusters/groups can be done with Windows internal tools only. The other 1% requires 3rd party app but most users never need those features anyway.

The problem is that because the solutions supplied are often based on those designed for enterprise environments, innevitably there's going to be additional complexity that's of little or no relevance in a home office, and while they try to wrap it up in GUI front ends to numb the pain, there are innevitably compromises. The server backup for example requires an additional external drive. The remote access solution was bizarre to say the least, and I gave up with it as I mentioned. If you've ever tried to use Windows to set up a RAS gateway you'll know what I mean. The client backup requires a client agent and is very picky what versions of Windows client it supports, often not in line with current releases, and required domain authenticated clients. But it was the appalling lack of speed of backups, and then what you couldn't do with those backups afterwards which made me give up with it.

Like I say, you are welcome to do it this way, but I found the learning overhead and compromises of the built in features to be inhibiting in my small office/lab.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: slicendice on January 14, 2017, 04:38:46 pm
I do agree that MS does make some stuff very complicated. The learning curve can be quite steep. For some simple task, one might have to understand the whole system completely before it is possible to set things up. This is most likely why most give up and go for the easy solutions and pay for 3rd party software.

But we are now talking about using a server as a server, which is not the topic of this thread. :-)

YES you can run a server as a workstation, but just be aware of the problems it may or may not cause you depending on what software and services you intend to use.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: Ampera on January 14, 2017, 07:14:25 pm
The only issues I have had are with problems with Windows 10 anyways over 7.

Examples: DSR doesn't work on Windows 10

Touhou 6 doesn't want to work Either  :(
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: slicendice on January 14, 2017, 07:37:01 pm
The only issues I have had are with problems with Windows 10 anyways over 7.

Examples: DSR doesn't work on Windows 10

Touhou 6 doesn't want to work Either  :(

Yes there are a lot of issues with Windows 10, especially when it comes to GPU drivers. For the DSR issue, nVidia fixed that in their drivers for Windows 10. I can't verify this as I don't currently own any nVidia cards.

The latest issue I have had with Windows 10 (latest insider preview) is that some native win32 applications with built in memory protection does not work. Get Memory Acces Violation error. :-D

Anyone still on Windows 7 should stay there if it works great, until Windows 10 matures a bit ( maybe in 1-2 years, or never ;-) )  :-DD
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: Ampera on January 14, 2017, 08:51:25 pm
The only issues I have had are with problems with Windows 10 anyways over 7.

Examples: DSR doesn't work on Windows 10

Touhou 6 doesn't want to work Either  :(

Yes there are a lot of issues with Windows 10, especially when it comes to GPU drivers. For the DSR issue, nVidia fixed that in their drivers for Windows 10. I can't verify this as I don't currently own any nVidia cards.

The latest issue I have had with Windows 10 (latest insider preview) is that some native win32 applications with built in memory protection does not work. Get Memory Acces Violation error. :-D

Anyone still on Windows 7 should stay there if it works great, until Windows 10 matures a bit ( maybe in 1-2 years, or never ;-) )  :-DD

I'd go straight back to Windows 2000 if I could.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: rrinker on January 14, 2017, 09:03:58 pm
 The backup in 2016 Essentials is MUCH improved, although the one in 2012 should be pretty much like the one in WHS, which I find to be totally transparent, I never see it, yet all my machines are backed up. And I sometimes am awake at odd hours so it's not just that I happen to always be away when the machine is backed up. I haven't used Essentials in any version, but for WHS, you can just pick any of the backups and mount it as a drive to copy files off - also doesn't matter that the backups are all differential, it automatically retrieves all the files as of the date of the backup you are trying to restore from. It also does an automatic dedupe, so that 15GB of Windows system files on each of 5 desktops doesn't consume 45GB of backup space.

 And remote access is slow? Over what sort of like? RDP is pretty darn fast with almost no lag over the connection speed most people can get these days. Locally, as in over a LAN connection, it's utterly seamless. I probably do 80% or more of my job via RDP so I'm not constantly driving around to client locations (or flying, since I support clients as far away as Las Vegas, and I live near Philadelphia).

 Granted I've been working with this since before Windows 3.1, but the WHS (and I can't imagine Essentials is any worse - it was designed for use by non-IT people) is absolutely hands off. Once in a while I may peek in on it to see how it is running, but the client will notify me if anything goes wrong, so there really is no reason for me to log in to it unless I want to add another drive.

Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: slicendice on January 15, 2017, 01:10:10 am
The backup in 2016 Essentials is MUCH improved, although the one in 2012 should be pretty much like the one in WHS, which I find to be totally transparent, I never see it, yet all my machines are backed up. And I sometimes am awake at odd hours so it's not just that I happen to always be away when the machine is backed up. I haven't used Essentials in any version, but for WHS, you can just pick any of the backups and mount it as a drive to copy files off - also doesn't matter that the backups are all differential, it automatically retrieves all the files as of the date of the backup you are trying to restore from. It also does an automatic dedupe, so that 15GB of Windows system files on each of 5 desktops doesn't consume 45GB of backup space.

 And remote access is slow? Over what sort of like? RDP is pretty darn fast with almost no lag over the connection speed most people can get these days. Locally, as in over a LAN connection, it's utterly seamless. I probably do 80% or more of my job via RDP so I'm not constantly driving around to client locations (or flying, since I support clients as far away as Las Vegas, and I live near Philadelphia).

 Granted I've been working with this since before Windows 3.1, but the WHS (and I can't imagine Essentials is any worse - it was designed for use by non-IT people) is absolutely hands off. Once in a while I may peek in on it to see how it is running, but the client will notify me if anything goes wrong, so there really is no reason for me to log in to it unless I want to add another drive.

 :-+

RDP is fast enough, there are however some screen transfer protocols that require much less bandwidth due to much better compression. I use RDP daily over LAN, WLAN and LTE, and in some rare cases over some slow HSDPA, no issues at all. Sometimes I use VNC and Teamviewer too, all 3 perform essentially the same.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: orin on January 15, 2017, 06:56:49 am
The backup in 2016 Essentials is MUCH improved, although the one in 2012 should be pretty much like the one in WHS, which I find to be totally transparent, I never see it, yet all my machines are backed up. And I sometimes am awake at odd hours so it's not just that I happen to always be away when the machine is backed up. I haven't used Essentials in any version, but for WHS, you can just pick any of the backups and mount it as a drive to copy files off - also doesn't matter that the backups are all differential, it automatically retrieves all the files as of the date of the backup you are trying to restore from. It also does an automatic dedupe, so that 15GB of Windows system files on each of 5 desktops doesn't consume 45GB of backup space.

 And remote access is slow? Over what sort of like? RDP is pretty darn fast with almost no lag over the connection speed most people can get these days. Locally, as in over a LAN connection, it's utterly seamless. I probably do 80% or more of my job via RDP so I'm not constantly driving around to client locations (or flying, since I support clients as far away as Las Vegas, and I live near Philadelphia).

 Granted I've been working with this since before Windows 3.1, but the WHS (and I can't imagine Essentials is any worse - it was designed for use by non-IT people) is absolutely hands off. Once in a while I may peek in on it to see how it is running, but the client will notify me if anything goes wrong, so there really is no reason for me to log in to it unless I want to add another drive.

 :-+

RDP is fast enough, there are however some screen transfer protocols that require much less bandwidth due to much better compression. I use RDP daily over LAN, WLAN and LTE, and in some rare cases over some slow HSDPA, no issues at all. Sometimes I use VNC and Teamviewer too, all 3 perform essentially the same.


I've written an RDP client and server.  Unfortunately, I've not had the opportunity to implement the latest version... as shipped with Windows 10, it's an order of magnitude better than the version I wrote!  I know the compression was improved* and they've done something with fonts as they are much clearer when connecting to a Windows 10 machine compared to connected to a Windows 7 machine.

Certainly, I can now work at home over RDP and barely notice the difference.  At work, I have a test virtual machine (running on a different computer) and occasionally get confused as to which machine I'm on - my real PC or the virtual machine over RDP.


*my implementation of the original RDP bitmap compression actually did better than Microsoft's for one of the fist bitmaps that was usually sent.  Unfortunately, the Microsoft client didn't like it and I had to detune my code if I knew I was talking to a Microsoft client!
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: Howardlong on January 15, 2017, 09:33:33 am
And remote access is slow? Over what sort of like? RDP is pretty darn fast with almost no lag over the connection speed most people can get these days. Locally, as in over a LAN connection, it's utterly seamless. I probably do 80% or more of my job via RDP so I'm not constantly driving around to client locations (or flying, since I support clients as far away as Las Vegas, and I live near Philadelphia).

 Granted I've been working with this since before Windows 3.1, but the WHS (and I can't imagine Essentials is any worse - it was designed for use by non-IT people) is absolutely hands off. Once in a while I may peek in on it to see how it is running, but the client will notify me if anything goes wrong, so there really is no reason for me to log in to it unless I want to add another drive.

I'm not sure anyone said RDP was slow, but I may have missed it. It can be in edge cases, with graphical monitorig tools for example which continually update lots of chrome (I am thinking Spotlight for SQL Server as one that immediately comes to mind which can almost kill a 10Mbps RDP connection over a WAN).

My history of RDP goes back to Citrix over VPNs in 1997. That really was bleeding edge, running VPN global links over the internet with unbonded ISDN as backup. I didn't even know RDP existed prior to Citrix. What I didn't like about the remote access solution is that despite the wizards it's fiddly to set up and over-complicated for a home remote access solution. In fact I can't remember ever getting its gateway solution to work properly, perhaps it was the old GRE protocol routing problem that's pervaded PPTP since the year dot.

What is slow is the Windows client backup on WSE, I don't know if it's improved since 2012 though. The product I use uses VSS and can do an incremental backup of a drive in a couple of seconds if nothing's changed. It doesn't scan the whole disk, it uses VSS to identify changes. Even running a full backup it's three or four times faster than WSE client backup. You can either restore a full volume, or mount the backup at any point (I take half hourly incrementals, weekly full).

I wanted it to work, I much prefer to use products in the way they're designed and leverage their native features, but I'm afraid I found that WSE fell very short of what can be achieved with other means. I does make a fast file server though, but then I could use a headless Windows desktop OS for that in my home office.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: rrinker on January 16, 2017, 12:57:22 am
 Someone said slow remote access.

 RDP didn't exist before Citrix - my history with this goes back to the days of having a rack mount chassis with multiple single board systems in the backplain each running DOS and Windows 3.1 connected to a similar rack chassis full of modem cards, using stuff like PC Anywhere. And then the very first Citrix product, WinView - which was OS/2 based. Stuck with Citrix through the years, I even was at their Florida HQ for training when Winframe (that one used NT Server) was beta. At the time, it would sell itself - we build a demo box good for 5-10 users and would loan it out as a trial to prospective clients. I built a new one probably a dozen times as once most clients had it that just wanted to buy it and not give it back. We also did joint presentations with Citrix people where we had a WAN simulator with selectable speed from 9600 all the way up to full T1 to like the two routers, and compared Citrix client to a normal fat client.
 The came Microsoft with their own version of the Citrix ICA protocol - RDP. It was a bit of an unsure period until Microsoft and Citrix joined in cross licensing agreements and the end result was you had RDP included for free (but had to pay for licenses) if you wanted just the basic functionality, but if you really wanted the better protocol plus better management of multiple users  - you added Citrix (and still had to pay Microsoft for the remote user client CALs...). That's pretty much the way it still is, native RDP and the Remote Desktop role on the servers is usualy equivalent of a version or 2 back on Citrix, Citrix meanwhile has greatly expanded into other areas like virtual desktops and content delivery.

Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: orin on January 16, 2017, 05:11:01 am
Someone said slow remote access.

 RDP didn't exist before Citrix - my history with this goes back to the days of having a rack mount chassis with multiple single board systems in the backplain each running DOS and Windows 3.1 connected to a similar rack chassis full of modem cards, using stuff like PC Anywhere. And then the very first Citrix product, WinView - which was OS/2 based. Stuck with Citrix through the years, I even was at their Florida HQ for training when Winframe (that one used NT Server) was beta. At the time, it would sell itself - we build a demo box good for 5-10 users and would loan it out as a trial to prospective clients. I built a new one probably a dozen times as once most clients had it that just wanted to buy it and not give it back. We also did joint presentations with Citrix people where we had a WAN simulator with selectable speed from 9600 all the way up to full T1 to like the two routers, and compared Citrix client to a normal fat client.
 The came Microsoft with their own version of the Citrix ICA protocol - RDP. It was a bit of an unsure period until Microsoft and Citrix joined in cross licensing agreements and the end result was you had RDP included for free (but had to pay for licenses) if you wanted just the basic functionality, but if you really wanted the better protocol plus better management of multiple users  - you added Citrix (and still had to pay Microsoft for the remote user client CALs...). That's pretty much the way it still is, native RDP and the Remote Desktop role on the servers is usualy equivalent of a version or 2 back on Citrix, Citrix meanwhile has greatly expanded into other areas like virtual desktops and content delivery.


When I came in, it had been standardized as ITU-T T.128 - which dates back to 02/98.  It's the document I used to implement a client when the Microsoft documentation was insufficient.  And in fact, was the document I used to implement the bitmap compression (Section 8.17.2 in the version you can currently down load for free).  Eventually Microsoft produced better documentation.  There's an awful lot of lower level setup going on to get a T.128 connection up and running and a lot of it was hard-coded in Microsoft RDP, a fact admitted to in later documentation.  The worst thing they did was embed an RSA key in the RDP application.  Of course, the bad guys could find it and implement a man in the middle attack.  My client still runs, though for Windows 8 onwards, I had to disable 32bpp - they came up with a new compression scheme for 32bpp bitmaps and as far as I was concerned, didn't do it in a backward compatible manner.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: Nomsot on January 16, 2017, 09:16:12 am
It is interesting. I also want to do so.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: slicendice on January 16, 2017, 09:29:49 am
It is interesting. I also want to do so.

Then first download a trial of Windows Server 2016 Essentials (180day trial free of charge)

Install it, configure it for your needs, and install all apps you need and verify that all works as expected.

If all is good, purchase it ( ~$500 for dual core licence and ~$800 for unlimited core license, not sure what the price is if you have 2 CPUs, I guess it's 2 x $800 then, Essentials won't run on a Quad CPU system).

Make sure that the computer you are going to install the Server OS on will not be replaced anytime soon. You have to purchase a new licence if you build a new computer, the purchased licence can not be transferred to a new computer.

Alternatively you could test out the Standard edition of Windows Server, but be aware that the price goes up and you also have to pay CAL licences once you purchase it.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: Howardlong on January 16, 2017, 10:42:59 am
We also did joint presentations with Citrix people where we had a WAN simulator with selectable speed from 9600 all the way up to full T1 to like the two routers, and compared Citrix client to a normal fat client.

Citrix WinFrame was pretty groundbreaking, although nowadays things have moved on to VDI. Having said that there seems to be increasing noise from container style sandboxed virtualisation.

The biggest problem we found back then with Citrix were:

o Lack of sandboxing
o Amount of regression testing and tweaking to get your application to work reliably
o Memory restrictions in the x86 32 bit regime

However it was the difference between being able to provide the service, or not.

I fondly remember having to jet around the world in November and December 1999 to Y2K patch all those systems. Jacksonville FL, Frankfurt, Milan, Singapore and Tokyo in three weeks.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: rrinker on January 16, 2017, 03:33:21 pm
 The biggest problem with Citrix back in the day were applications that INSISTED on writing to the Windows\System folder instead of the user's profile folder. Even single user applications (which most things were) that did that were already violating Microsoft's design guidelines. Even worse were all the HP printer drivers that did the same. The only other issue I had was an early deployment where the business used a custom dBase IV application (DOS) to run everything - most DOS programs use a simple loop when waiting for keyboard input and on a multitasking system like Windows this makes a mess of things - it worked great for the first pilot site, but as soon as the second site went live, it stopped working.  An old utility called TAME fixed it and we were able to get the expected number of users on each CItrix server.

 As to licensing - the new licensing is all core-based, which is how Microsoft decided t make up the revenue as processors gained more and more cores, liek some of those 18 core server CPUs. Most of the per core licenses are for 2 cores - if you have a server with a quad core processor, you technically need 2 of the core licenses, or one processor license. If you have a 12 core CPU - that's 6 core licenses or 1 processor license. 2 CPUs, each with 4 cores, is 4x core licenses or 2x processor licenses. On some products, like SQL Server, you can adjust how many of the cpu cores it actually uses, and thus license appropriately.

 
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: slicendice on January 16, 2017, 03:49:17 pm
Core licenses are sold in packs of 4 so no matter if you have 1 or 4 cores you still need to buy a 4 core license. But that is only for Datacenter and Standard Servers, for the other server versions it's still CPU based. And the cheaper servers meant for small businesses and home use only support 2 physical CPUs, where Datacenter supports almost unlimited CPUs (not completely true, but you get the picture).
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: rrinker on January 16, 2017, 03:57:48 pm
 No, Core licenses for 2016 and SQL and most of the other servers are 2 packs. Per current Microsoft licensing documentation.
 Essentials is different, it's a special server licensing model.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: slicendice on January 16, 2017, 05:48:34 pm
Aah, sorry my mistake, 2-packs, but the point stays the same. And yes the other servers are special servers. You don't need a CAL or even pay anything at all for SQL and you have the right to use it for your business. Only some advanced features regarding fail over and such are missing (others too, that a normal SQL mortal don't really need). :-)

EDIT: I talk about the free SQL server, there's no need to buy the most expensive one if a small business.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: slicendice on January 16, 2017, 06:23:10 pm
We were both a bit off, here's (http://download.microsoft.com/download/7/2/9/7290EA05-DC56-4BED-9400-138C5701F174/WS2016LicensingDatasheet.pdf) the latest Server 2016 terms in PDF.

A minimum of 8-cores has to be purchased PER CPU, so this means at least 4 x 2-packs has to be purchased for single CPU computers and a minimum of 2 x 4 x 2-packs for a dual CPU system. So for a Dual CPU system you need a total of 16-core licence and 8-core for a single CPU. This was the part that confused me the first time. :-)

EDIT: I still got it wrong, a minimum of 16-core licences is required for each Server.
Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: rrinker on January 17, 2017, 01:59:42 am
 It changes daily, too. Or it seems like it. I don't know that we have anyone properly licensed for 2016 at this point, because it's rather unfair to have to buy 8 cores worth of licenses for a CPU that only has 4 cores. Not every client needs the latest 18 core monstrosity. But then again, even many smaller clients are going virtual. I'm pretty sure you don't need 4x 2 packs for a Server 2016 VM that gets assigned 2 cores from the hypervisor host pool.
 There used to be some crazy loopholes in SQL licensing that they closed, but still not nearly as onerous as Oracle. Back in the day there were plenty of applications that had a middleware server that made ONE connection to the free version of SQL (which has a 5 connection limit and also a limited DB size) and then allowed hundreds of clients to access the system. That is now definitely against the license terms. But for many people - SQL Express is actually plenty. Especially now that (for the past few versions) there is a management studio for it - there didn't used to be, and to install the full management studio required a regular SQL license.
 One of the real reasons they gave up on a lot of the per user licensing (the 'official' line is more like everything is cloud based now and why manage users you can't even count, just license the server!) is that they apparently never got it to work right. For RDP with or without Citrix, if you set the licensing to per user, it never checked. You could have 100 licenses but 200 users connect. There was a per workstation option with terminal services - the idea being that a company with 100 workstations running 3 shifts could use 100 licenses, not 300 because only 1/3 of the users could connect at a time. That setting DID work, you try to connect the 101st workstation and it would fail.  Even regular server CALs worked this way, set a server in per user mode and you could just type in any number you wanted, there was absolutely no validation. The terminal services licenses DID verify the number you had, it's just that the access to the system was not limited to the number of installed licenses. Ah those were the days.

Title: Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
Post by: slicendice on January 17, 2017, 06:22:35 am
That's the thing... if you buy Standard Server, you get the rights for running 2 Servers, 3 if you run it as a host, but the host may only be used as Hyper-V if running 2 VMs, nothing else. So you need to buy the 16-cores minimum, no matter where you stick the OS. For Datacenter you get the right to run unlimited VMs and there is no other difference in Standard and Datacenter capabilities. It's a licensing thing only. Because of the capabilities of the 2 versions, it makes really no sense to install neither just as one single instance on a 2-core VM. You need at least 2 VMs to do anything useful with the servers, 4-20 servers if you actually have something that contains AD, SQL, IIS, and greater systems. For small server systems the specialty servers are more than enough. The new MS licensing since the updated terms, actually makes sense, and is not that expensive.