Windows 2008 R2 as a workstation


I’ve always been a server kind of girl, and after I ran into some problems recently on my laptop and was forced to reinstall, I thought I would give Windows 2008 R2 a bash.

My current work laptop is a little old, and is only running 2GB of memory – which has been a problem for me on Windows 7, mostly because I work my machine to death, as I typically run at least one Virtual PC vm, multiple remote desktop connections, at least Outlook, Word and Excel, as well as the OpsMgr Authoring console at the same time, not to mention a wide variety of browser tabs in both IE and Chrome, as well as MusicBee. My machine works hard. And often, while running Windows 7, I would need to shut down my VM if I am not actively using it, to ensure the rest of the applications run all right-ish.

With Windows 2008, I installed Hyper-V rather than Virtual PC, and simply configured my standard VM as a hyper-V client in a couple of clicks. *phew* And it just ran. Without completely killing my machine.

The only thing I missed was Aero, or at least some of the Aero features, but, lo and behold, it is possible to enable this and run Win2k8 R2 very successfully as a desktop.

To enable Aero:

  1. Be sure to install your graphics driver (you will need to get it from your vendor more than likely, as it will probably not come down via Windows Updates)
  2. Enable the Themes service (Server Manager > Configuration > Services > Themes, right click, properties, change from disabled to Automatic, apply, start service)
  3. Right click on Computer > Properties > Advanced System Settings. Click on Settings in the Performance section, and select Adjust for best performance.

You can now go to personalise your desktop and the Aero theme will be available.

I have noticed that, obviously, it has impacted performance slightly, so you may want to keep that in mind if you have an older machine (like mine) with minimal memory. I will probably have to switch to a basic theme while I run my VM, but at least I can have the pretty when i want it.

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