Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Windows Server 2008 on a laptop

Last week I got a new laptop for work. It's a nice fast Dell Precision M6300. On my old workstation I had Windows Server 2003 R2 running. I'm a developer, so I want to develop on the platform my software will run on. So on my new laptop I wanted to run Windows Server 2008 the Vista Server version of Windows.

Using this very nice blog entry from Vijayshinva Karnure I was able to make Windows Server 2008 look and work almost like Vista. Almost, because I'm missing two things that I have noticed so far. First off is the Windows Sidebar and secondly is Bluetooth support.

Now if you google for these problems, you'll find solutions to both of them. To enable Bluetooth support you'll need to install your drivers as usual and then perform some INF magic to persuade Windows to use them. To enable the sidebar you'll need to copy some files from a Vista installation and copy some registry settings. From what I read this will then work just fine, but I'm not comfortable with it.

You see, these things aren't part of the supported Windows platform, so if there are any security issues, you are on your own. Microsoft won't provide sidebar patches for Windows Server 2008, because they never released a Windows Server 2008 with Windows Sidebar. So you'll have to keep an eye on all security updates and patch the files by hand, or (more likely) let the software run with all its security issues. And that's not something I'm willing to do.

I also discovered, that if you install the Hyper-V because you might want to run some virtual machines for testing, sleep and hibernate will be disabled. Sleep and hibernate are incompatible with Hyper-V so you won't be able to use them. That sucks, so I uninstalled the Hyper-V, but at least I have the option of installing it if I do need it some time in the future. I will just need to learn to live without hibernate then.

And then I just ran into another issue. For remote workers my organization uses Check Point VPN-1 software, but as it turns out they don't have 64-bit versions of their client software. Even though 64-bit versions of Windows have been available for (rough estimate) 3 years now, they never saw fit to make their software work. According to their forums they will release a 64-bit version of some new software in Q4 2008 and this will fall under the existing licenses for the time being. In other words, you'll have to pay extra for 64-bit versions of their client software eventually.

Other then that, I'm pretty happy with my flashy new laptop :-)

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