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.
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:
On the right pane look for these 3 registry keys:
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.