Author Topic: Windows Server as a desktop OS?  (Read 14575 times)

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Offline slicendice

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #25 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.
 

Offline slicendice

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #26 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.
 

Offline suicidaleggroll

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #27 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.



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

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.
 

Offline slicendice

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #28 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.
 

Offline suicidaleggroll

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #29 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  :-+
 

Offline Howardlong

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #30 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).

 

Offline slicendice

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #31 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

 

Offline Howardlong

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #32 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.
 

Offline Ampera

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #33 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.
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Offline slicendice

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #34 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!
 

Offline Howardlong

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #35 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.
 

Offline orin

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #36 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...
 

Offline slicendice

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #37 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. :-)

 

Offline Ampera

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #38 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.
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Offline slicendice

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #39 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
 

Offline rrinker

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #40 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.

 

Offline slicendice

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #41 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.
 

Offline rrinker

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #42 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.

 

Offline slicendice

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #43 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.
 

Offline Howardlong

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #44 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.
 

Offline slicendice

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #45 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.
 

Offline Howardlong

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #46 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.
 

Offline slicendice

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #47 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.
 

Offline Ampera

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #48 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  :(
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Offline slicendice

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #49 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
 


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