A Digital Age Deserves A Digital Leader

Windows Server 2003 Enterprise x64 Edition as a Desktop OS

Windows Server 2003 Enterprise x64 Edition as a Desktop OS

Postby Grav!ty » Thu Sep 20, 2007 3:10 pm

I installed Windows Server 2003 Enterprise x64 Edition SP1 with the objective of running it as a desktop OS.

Installation is very much like that of XP. I made some changes to the way it behaves like on startup (actually I didn't quite get that right because I think I messed with too many policy settings and registry keys attempting to), shutdown, enabling themes and Windows audio and installed DirectX 9c. Oh and I think I installed my chosen Theme too early and should probably only have done that after installing DX9. As a result the only theme that dislplays OK is the Windows XP one, like in the screenshot below. I did enable full hardware acceleration for both graphics and audio.

Then I discovered that SP2 needed installation when I went to Windows update. Instead of downloading and installing it or slipstreaming it into the SP1 install CD, I opted to rather download the version which includes SP2. I did in the early hours of this morning.

I'm about to reformat and install a fresh copy of SP2. I'd only installed NOD32 in the line of programs anyway. It complained a bit about not being intended for a server operating system but it installed fine with all functions and modules fully enabled. 64-Bit Windows XP drivers seem to work good for everything, so I haven't downloaded W2K3 specific drivers...yet.

Image

I'll post more about the changes that are required to be made to make it look and feel like a desktop OS a bit later. My installs must be squeky clean and without blimps of any kind, so it's probably the second of many installs I'm heading into. Each one gets my understanding of it improved slightly.

I must say, the OS behaves very well and is fluid and responsive. I know running it as desktop is a waste of an excellent Server operating system, but what the heck, it's available. Besides, messing with it should keep me out of mischief and occupied for a few days.

HOW TO AVOID USING CTRL+ALT+DEL AT LOGON

Boot into safe mode (not essential...can be done in normal mode if one is logged in as Administrator). Click Start>Control Panel>Administrative Tools>Local Security Policy.

Expand Local Policies and select Security Options .
On the right hand side you have the security policy settings.
Look for the entry named - Interactive Logon: Do not require Ctrl+Alt+Del
Double click on it, select Enabled and press apply.
Reboot in normal mode and this time you will not be required to press ctrl+alt+del

AUTOMATIC LOGON

Boot to safe mode (Essential...I found that I was unable to get these changes to function unless I made them in Safe mode even though I tried in normal mode logged in as Administrator ). Open the registry editor and go to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

On the right pane look for these 3 registry keys:

DefaultUserName
DefaultPassword
AutoAdminLogon

If you do not find any of these create them. I had to create the last two.
Right click on the empty space below the last key, select New>String Value and rename it as the key you want to create as above.

Next enter the values you have setup for DefaultUserName and DefaultPassword (double click on key to edit) If you don't have a password set then don't add any value to that key.
Enter 1 as the value for AutoAdminLogon.
Reboot.

DISABLING THE SHUTDOWN EVENT TRACKER

Go to Start>Run, type MMC and Enter. Now go to File>Add/Remove Snap-in and click on Add and select Group Policy Object Editor from the list and click Add, then click Finish, Close and OK.

Next go to Local Computer Policy>Computer Configuration>Administrative Templates and select the System folder. Double click Display Shutdown Event Tracker and select Disabled.

On shutdown you will no longer be required to select the reason why you are shutting down or restarting.
Last edited by Grav!ty on Mon Sep 24, 2007 1:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
Image

"The great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances, as though they were realities, and are often more influenced by the things that seem than by those that are." - Niccolo Machiavelli
PROfessional Member
User avatar
Posts: 15790
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 5:22 am
Real Name: Graham

Postby Absolute-Zero » Thu Sep 20, 2007 3:34 pm

Best of luck with that, Graham. You shouldn't have many problems with that machine, if any, once 2003 Server is installed as you want it!

I'm currently using your version's younger cousin, Server 2003 Standard on an old Sony VAIO laptop I inherited. When I originally got hold of it, it was limping along badly, trying to run XP SP2. I put 2k3 on it and it's ran like a dream ever since!

Personally, I think W2k3 is the best operating system MS have produced bar none. We use it on a number of servers here at work and it's as solid as a rock. Even a partially installed service pack failed to kill one of the servers it's that reliable.
Image
PROfessional Member
User avatar
Posts: 2495
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2004 2:46 pm
Location: Forever blowing bubbles...
Real Name: Dan

Postby Grav!ty » Thu Sep 20, 2007 10:26 pm

Thanks you Dan...looks like I'm going to need all the luck I can get :lol:

I've kinda hit the wall with SP2. As soon as I add a user, log off, log on and reboot, I'm unable to log on. In fact I lose mouse and keyboard functionality and am unable to even hit Ctrl+Alt+Del to get to the log on screen :eek: Seems like drivers are not yet loaded at that point. I've reformatted and reinstalled for the third time and have this issue again. I'll try renaming the Administrator account instead on next installing and see if that makes a difference.

No problem with either XP Pro x64 or x86, so this is something weird about 2K3 Enterprise or something I've changed thats not allowing logon other than for Administrator. Problem with that thought though is that I'm unable to change the default user to Administrator. Guess I could do that from safe mode if it happens again and see what transpires.

The server Admin Tools are not for the feint hearted or the uninitiated like me, so I guess this is a "user induced" error :yesnod:
Image

"The great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances, as though they were realities, and are often more influenced by the things that seem than by those that are." - Niccolo Machiavelli
PROfessional Member
User avatar
Posts: 15790
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 5:22 am
Real Name: Graham

Postby ginogsm » Fri Sep 21, 2007 6:41 am

Graham this is a weird issue you are reporting. I have never faced that before. Although there's not a real need to create another user ( other than the administrator ) , as many times as I have done , there was no issue. Hopefully you don't mess up too much with the system policies.

Anyway please post here for any problem you may face but if you play with the system policies please write down what you do so that we can see how to reverse it.
Image
<a href="http://www.vistamania.org/" target="_blank"><img src="http://parcom.pro-networks.org/images/vistamania35zu.gif" border="0"></a>
Image
PROfessional Member
User avatar
Posts: 4832
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2004 7:41 am
Location: Frankfurt , Germany
Real Name: George

Postby Grav!ty » Fri Sep 21, 2007 10:09 am

With my 3rd installation, I monitored every change I made. Changed the name of Administrator (keeps all permissions those of Administrator), installed chipset drivers and rebooted. Got the same issue and am satisfied it's the USB drivers. Although the drivers (from Intel) are supposed to be "All OS" they clearly are not intended for Server 2003 x64. In safe mode the same thing happened and I couldn't get Alt+Ctrl+Del to give me the logon because both the mouse and keyboard were non-functional.

Strange that I didn't have this problem with SP1 though.

Anyway, I've got the ones from ASUS that are supposed to work on Server 2003 and will try them later...on my 4th install :yesnod:
Image

"The great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances, as though they were realities, and are often more influenced by the things that seem than by those that are." - Niccolo Machiavelli
PROfessional Member
User avatar
Posts: 15790
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 5:22 am
Real Name: Graham

Postby ginogsm » Fri Sep 21, 2007 11:10 am

LOL Graham , this is an installation that has to succeed I assume or else.... LOL
Image
<a href="http://www.vistamania.org/" target="_blank"><img src="http://parcom.pro-networks.org/images/vistamania35zu.gif" border="0"></a>
Image
PROfessional Member
User avatar
Posts: 4832
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2004 7:41 am
Location: Frankfurt , Germany
Real Name: George

Postby Grav!ty » Fri Sep 21, 2007 11:17 pm

I got the SM Bus and ACPI drivers installed manually by extracting them and pointing driver updates to the folder. Audio and Video installed fine after installing DirectX 9c.

There's something about the Intel USB drivers for my system that Server 03 x64 does not like (not signed? :-? ) and as long as I retain the "in the box" ones all seems good for now.

I'll take my time and get the changes I need to make to get this looking and acting more like a desktop done. Check the top of the thread for additions to what I've done :)
Image

"The great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances, as though they were realities, and are often more influenced by the things that seem than by those that are." - Niccolo Machiavelli
PROfessional Member
User avatar
Posts: 15790
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 5:22 am
Real Name: Graham

Postby JabbaPapa » Sat Sep 22, 2007 5:27 am

I like your project, Graham --- that's more or less exactly how I used the OS when Beta testing it --- it's fiddly to get it just right as a Desktop OS, but when you manage it, it's quite sweet :yesnod:

Grav!ty wrote:There's something about the Intel USB drivers for my system that Server 03 x64 does not like (not signed? :-? )


:lol: NOT a requirement in Windows 2003 ... :P

... but yep, this is a weird one :question

Problems I've seen with USB drivers not being loaded in the correct order have either caused black screen or manifest themselves during shut down. It may be a quirk due to the fact that this Windows is designed for Server purposes, and therefore need not manage USB devices and wireless stuff in the same way as the Client versions... so it may load the drivers in a different order ... hmmm

It may be loading the USB Mouse drivers prior to loading the USB control drivers themselves.

Possible workaround --- plug a normal mouse alongside the USB, and boot with both mice plugged in. Hopefully, after you've rebooted once or twice with this config, Windows will know how to talk to the USB and you can either unplug the normal mouse, or just leave it coiled up somewhere discrete...
Image
PRO VETERAN
User avatar
Posts: 9538
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2004 5:17 pm
Location: Monte-Carlo
Real Name: Julian Lord

Postby Grav!ty » Mon Sep 24, 2007 1:22 am

Thanks Julian :) I got quite a few changes made, the most important being to get rid of the logon dialogue box at startup and the shutdown event tracker when shutting down.

The shutdown one is easy enough but the logon dialogue box needed a little extra work on the registry...and the registry changes will only work when made from safe mode :eek:
Image

"The great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances, as though they were realities, and are often more influenced by the things that seem than by those that are." - Niccolo Machiavelli
PROfessional Member
User avatar
Posts: 15790
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 5:22 am
Real Name: Graham

Postby HachemK » Mon Oct 01, 2007 8:21 pm

Great Job Graham! Im currently testing Windows Server 2008 as a Virtual Machine. so far so good love the new features in it such as "Read Only DC" and other Active Directory changes!!

Good Luck! ^*^ :()
Regards,
Karim
Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer
PRO Level 5
Posts: 179
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2007 8:53 pm
Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Next

Return to Guides

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests