How I get the server 2008 I want: #3: Vista look and feel

Server-glass I'll be the first to admit that Servers don't need to have the nice look and feel that we get with Desktop Operating Systems. But since the core of the OS is common to both it is possible. In Windows Server 2003 we had the XP Themes Service and if you switched it on you got something similar to the XP look.

In Server 2008 we have a couple of things more things to do.

1. Wireless. If you are using Server 2008 on a laptop for Demo or Development purposes you probably have wireless, but it doesn't work... Until you add the Wireless feature, and turn on the Wireless service

2. Sound. The sound services are set to start manually. I set the Windows Audio service to Automatic start , and when it starts, it also starts the Windows audio endpoint builder.

3. Vista Applications (media player, mail calendar etc) , Glass, Explorer styles and so on come in the Desktop Experience Feature. This seems to need a reboot to be fully functional but when it is you can go to services and turn on the Themes service , then from personalization select the Vista Theme.

I've found that Server 2008 matches vista for performance but it lacks a few features- so I'm not going to be switching to it full time. A quick run down of what I'd lose (whether these matter to you is another matter).

  • BlueTooth support (I'm told the Microsoft Presenter mouse works with its Bluetooth Dongle, but I can't connect my phone or GPS puck)
  • No Sidebar. Whether you like side bar seems to depend on whether you've found gadgets you like. I have a couple but I could live without it.
  • Readyboost. Server does have superfetch but won't use memory sticks to enhance performance
  • Sleep and Hibernate - actually server has these but they go away when Hyper-V is running.
Comments (3)

  1. James ONeill says:

    Hey Don, there’s another way which isn’t based on beta code … see  but what the licensing and support issues are I dread to think.

    I also think we’ve been lazy with the sleep and hibernate. We could put the VMs into a saved state on Hibernate, and only block sleep if there are VMs running.

    Hubka, I’m not sure why the server doesn’t want to download some drivers… it might be driver signing or knowing that it has no  Bluetooth stack.

  2. Don says:

    Sidebar is running under Windows Server 2008:

    Sleep and hibernate is not an OS issue it is a Hyper-V issue. MS sees it as a very complex and non-worthwhile issue to allow a host to sleep or hibernate while guests are running. Even though VMWare supports this.  As you note Hyper-V turned off allows sleep and hibernate to work.

  3. says:

    server 2008 ist very best how worksstation .. but 🙂 its bad how vista when searching drivers… server cant find drivers from WU, BT cant function on my HP DV6899ec … but Win2008 workstation is the best 🙂

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