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Windows Server 2012 Essentials as Desktop O/S

    Question

  • I will have access to Dreamspark shortly and plan to instal a copy of 2012 Essentials on my home network for education and experience purposes. I plan to install it on a new laptop as opposed to an old spare one that has obsolete technology. I am currently using a virtualbox lab at home that has several 2012 Standard servers and a couple Win 8 Enterprise clients. They are all trial versions.

    Server 2012 appears to run desktop programs without issue, although I don't know where the limits are.

    The home network will not stress the server heavily. As I said, it's mostly for educational purposes. Therefore, is there any reason why I wouldn't want to use the Server 2012 Essentials laptop as a desktop pc, loading desktop software on it and treating Essentials 2012 as a high powered desktop OS? Why would this be a bad idea?

    Edit a couple of hours later: What about loading hyper-v on the laptop, and then loading Server 2012 Essentials and Windows 8 pro as guest systems? Can Win 8 access usb and audio in that configuration?  Other than complexity, would this give me anything good? Is 8GB ram enough?


    • Edited by bob9509 Tuesday, April 23, 2013 5:28 PM
    Tuesday, April 23, 2013 11:15 AM

Answers

  • New information.

    I loaded virtualbox with a server 2012 standard trial, configured it as a domain server, and loaded some free server and free desktop software just to see what happens. I also loaded the desktop extensions, .net 3.5, and a few more features.

    The free server software was comodo endpoint security 10 client version - free forever for 1 year at a time.

    The free desktop programs were comodo backup, comodo dragon browser, libre office 4.0, foxit reader.

    Thanks to comodo for making this programming free for light use such as this. I can experiment with full featured programming and recommend it to paying customers after I get familiar if it works as necessary.

    All loaded and appear to work. Given prior responses from others and this experience, I am confident I can get it to behave as a server and light duty desktop machine with little or no incidents.

    • Marked as answer by bob9509 Thursday, May 02, 2013 5:15 PM
    Thursday, May 02, 2013 5:15 PM

All replies

  • I know that in the past many user programs would  require special licenses to run on the server os as opposed to the user os. 

    Microsoft Office was one of those packages, if I recall. 
    Tuesday, April 23, 2013 12:57 PM
  • Thanks. Backup would be an issue, although I think I would try to use server 2012 to do as much as possible and make it automatic. I like to see what is open source whenever possible. 
    Tuesday, April 23, 2013 5:32 PM
  • I don't believe Essentials is part of the Dreamspark package (at least it isn't listed under my wife's DS account), so you'll have to do some work to get it installed.

    I wouldn't run it as a desktop OS, either.  Instead, use Windows 8's client Hyper-V to virtualize your server or throw it on some other older hardware.  I have it running on a few HP Microservers that are very low power, so any dual-core 64-bit capable computer with at least 2GB (I'd recommend 4) of RAM and a 160GB harddrive should work fine. 

    Tuesday, April 23, 2013 7:15 PM
  • I don't believe Essentials is part of the Dreamspark package (at least it isn't listed under my wife's DS account), so you'll have to do some work to get it installed.

    I wouldn't run it as a desktop OS, either.  Instead, use Windows 8's client Hyper-V to virtualize your server or throw it on some other older hardware.  I have it running on a few HP Microservers that are very low power, so any dual-core 64-bit capable computer with at least 2GB (I'd recommend 4) of RAM and a 160GB harddrive should work fine. 

     Thank you. We'll see about DS and Essentials 2012. Looking at DS Premium offerings from schools that list available titles via Google, it looks like it is included. The school I will attend subscribes to DS Premium. If not available, then I will choose between free 2012 Standard and buy a few cals or purchasing 2012 Essentials from Amazon.

    I'm planning on using new tech because I want to have usb 3, a processor good enough to transcode even though I will actually do little of that, gigabit wired ethernet, and maybe tpm so I can play with bitlocker. Roaming profiles look interesting but they would be a risk without laptop encryption such as bitlocker.

    Essentials 2012 supports DLNA and it looks like Standard 2012 does not provide open assess to media files even if DLNA is loaded from a 3rd party. This is odd. A business could load media files on the server and use a DLNA renderer to pipe it through an AV receiver into a office or showroom sound system or run videos (assuming proper licensing). Would DLNA access in Standard 2012 require a device cal if you could get it to work?  Anywhere Access has me a little confused. Can I do the same things via Standard 2012? I would happily buy 5 cals for home use if needed. These two little things make me hesitant to start with Standard 2012.

    I saw a video that loaded Hyper-V as a type I hypervisor and remote access into the Hyper-V machine gave it a visual interface. That looked interesting, but only as an exercise, in retrospect. This will be a job for virtualbox.

    Regarding the desktop o/s: Using google, it doesn't look like many have tried it so good data is scarce. Responses to date appear to be impressions rather than experience based. I value all replies, but would really like to read some actual accounts.


    • Edited by bob9509 Wednesday, April 24, 2013 12:45 PM
    Wednesday, April 24, 2013 12:22 PM
  • Essentials 2012 supports DLNA and it looks like Standard 2012 does not provide open assess to media files even if DLNA is loaded from a 3rd party. This is odd. A business could load media files on the server and use a DLNA renderer to pipe it through an AV receiver into a office or showroom sound system or run videos (assuming proper licensing). Would DLNA access in Standard 2012 require a device cal if you could get it to work?  Anywhere Access has me a little confused. Can I do the same things via Standard 2012? I would happily buy 5 cals for home use if needed. These two little things make me hesitant to start with Standard 2012.

    While SBS2012 Essentials does support DLNA, it isn't as useful as I'd hope. It doesn't support MKV containers. Browsing the DLNA store from my Samsung Blue Ray Player has been very inconsistent. If I want to use the samsung to play media files it's much easier to copy specific files to a USB drive and sneakernet it.

    I recommend SBS2012 Essentials as a server, just not as a desktop. It is how I got comfortable enough with the new UI to migrate my laptop from Win7 to Win8, and the synchronization of Win8 and SBS2012 has some other advantages. I've got it running on an HP Microserver with nearly 10TB of spinning drives.

    Wednesday, April 24, 2013 3:31 PM
  • While SBS2012 Essentials does support DLNA, it isn't as useful as I'd hope. It doesn't support MKV containers. Browsing the DLNA store from my Samsung Blue Ray Player has been very inconsistent. If I want to use the samsung to play media files it's much easier to copy specific files to a USB drive and sneakernet it.

    DLNA support, to me, allows a DLNA renderer to access media files without special access or security restrictions. Various 3rd party programs (serviio, plex, others) provide transcoding and access capabilities. The insecure media file access is the key. DLNA is read only and file type specific. Server 2012 is incompatible with insecure access without DLNA in front. Can 2012 Standard support DLNA under any circumstances? For example, if I loaded serviio on a 2012 Standard server, would my DVD player see it and could it play an mp3? At this time, I plan to use Server 2012 as both dns and dhcp servers, as I have been told that minimizes a lot of problems.

    I would agree that ABC,Inc using Essentials as a desktop is a bad idea. But a small household putting light demands on the server / desktop with little server access otherwise is a different situation.



    • Edited by bob9509 Wednesday, April 24, 2013 6:39 PM
    Wednesday, April 24, 2013 6:26 PM
  • i have upgraded from Server 2012 Essentials to Standard & Installed Plex & i am able to stream media to Roku (Roku has a Plex app) & PS3 (using DLNA) with no issues.
    Friday, April 26, 2013 5:21 PM
  • i have upgraded from Server 2012 Essentials to Standard & Installed Plex & i am able to stream media to Roku (Roku has a Plex app) & PS3 (using DLNA) with no issues.

    Thanks. Did you have any configuration issues or was it just load and go on the server? I plan to play mp3 music files using any dlna available, transcode occasional video using serviio (which requires java runtime for desktop support ... no browser support needed), and probably stream netflix or something similar later. All dlna currently streams over the 5GHz band to a 2nd router that feeds the dlna signal into a dvd media player / av system / tv.

    Also, off topic a little, if I let server 2012 handle dhcp instead of my router, will clients not using the server, such as a phone looking for a wifi connection, have any trouble getting an ip address and a connection to the internet? If I direct router port 443 to the server for vpn and remote access, will that impact other, routine ssl connections?

    Also, are you using the server to support any routine desktop programs?


    • Edited by bob9509 Tuesday, April 30, 2013 3:25 PM
    Tuesday, April 30, 2013 3:19 PM
  • New information.

    I loaded virtualbox with a server 2012 standard trial, configured it as a domain server, and loaded some free server and free desktop software just to see what happens. I also loaded the desktop extensions, .net 3.5, and a few more features.

    The free server software was comodo endpoint security 10 client version - free forever for 1 year at a time.

    The free desktop programs were comodo backup, comodo dragon browser, libre office 4.0, foxit reader.

    Thanks to comodo for making this programming free for light use such as this. I can experiment with full featured programming and recommend it to paying customers after I get familiar if it works as necessary.

    All loaded and appear to work. Given prior responses from others and this experience, I am confident I can get it to behave as a server and light duty desktop machine with little or no incidents.

    • Marked as answer by bob9509 Thursday, May 02, 2013 5:15 PM
    Thursday, May 02, 2013 5:15 PM
  • i did not have any issues configuring Plex, i don't think i installed Java, may be Plex doesn't require it. I didn't understand "stream Netflix", are you planing on using Plex client to watch netflix ? about dhcp i am not an expert, i have Apple Airport Extreme so i configured router to assign a static IP to server & opened port 443. i did try Xbox Music for a while, i was hoping that i could stream songs to my WP8 but i realized that i need a subscription to Xbox music in order to stream music so i removed XBox music. I have installed Picture viewer & it works fine. i think it is pretty much like a desktop, but if you are using this as server i wouldn't recommend using this as desktop for 2 reasons.

    1) it is slow to start & shutdown.

    2) if we UN-install any programes server web access might stop working.

    this happened to me once on WHS 2011, i installed SharePoint i didn't like then i was UN-installing SharePoint , by mistake i removed .net, i couldnt make the web access to work.

    Tuesday, May 07, 2013 8:07 PM