This topic is buzzing on the Internet for some time, result of this buzz is a web site which is related only for this topic – how to convert Windows Server 2008 in a client OS. To be honest, I was rather skeptical to this idea. I share the same concerns which Sander has expressed in one of his post on a DirTeam.:
- why spent so much money on a client OS?
- why use server OS as a workstation and turn on all this fancy features which are disabled by default?
- what it will give me?
Personally I see at this moment only one business reason to use Windows Server 2008 at the laptop hardware – it is a Hyper-V. When 64-bit environment in VMs is required (and it can be a requirement for example for Exchange 2007 or ILMv2) and you have to stick to using Windows and Microsoft software this is only existing option at this moment.
However after last post from Brian Puhl I've decided to give it a try. No business reason, just curiosity and see what will be user experience with its installation and usage. I took some time at the late Friday afternoon and I've deployed Windows Server 2008 32-bit Standard Edition on my laptop (and yes, I have this advantage that I didn't have to pay for a licence on my own – this is something good when you work for Microsoft 🙂 ). So .. one hour to install it and add to domain – it worked smoothly. Another 30 minutes to load drivers and some required software – all operation took me about 2-3 hours (with copying data from my network backup hard drive).
First impressions …. my Tecra M5 (if you are looking for a new laptop hardware avoid buying Toshibe .. and I mean it … just get over Toshiba and consider other options) just fly like a bird on the same hardware with 2008 OS loaded on it. Probably it is also an effect of clean new OS, however a memory footprint is somehow smaller for WS2008 when compared to Vista SP1 and fans in my laptop behaves somehow better (I can write with notebook on my laps and I won't get burn … which might be a case earlier). I'm not sure what is causing this change, but I can observer it. I love the choice of options I can turn on\off with Server OS and I would love to have "Features" in Vista OS as well. Giving to much options to regular users is not probably what they will look like, but for more advanced once … they will love it (for now I've just turned on Wi-Fi and BitLocker support). For example I didn't turned on or installed and desktop search as I found it not very useful for me. I found out that I'm using search only for e-mails so I've just installed Xobni which works great for my Outlook. Server OS gave me a choice not to use indexer (of course I can disable it also on Vista but it is there by default).
It's a pity that my hardware doesn't support Hyper-V so I can't replace VPC with it but anyway I think I will work with Windows Server 2008 as my personal main OS and will see how it works. Definitely it can be used as a client OS … however if it is worth it or if you want to risk supportability problems with client software it is totally on You. I know that we won't see Server OS being widely deployed on a clients (and I don't think that it would be good idea) however for some people or developers it might be a vital option to consider – especially if need 64-bit virtualization and you want to get it from Microsoft.