Using Windows Server 2008 R2 as a Workstation

My role at Microsoft requires me to demonstrate Office 2010, SharePoint 2010, Exchange and Lync to customers all across the North Central region of the United States.   To demonstrate a variety of products I  run Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V on my Laptop and utilize numerous virtual machine environments.     I also use the same laptop for my normal day to day work including using Outlook, Word, Excel, browsing the web, and watching streaming media.   Since I am doing more than just running a server I want the desktop experience to be very similar to Windows 7.    The good news is that Windows Server 2008 R2 is built on the same code base as Windows 7, so with a bit of tweaking you can get the full desktop experience.

The web site covers the main steps in configuring Windows Server 2008 R2 to look and feel very similar to Windows 7.

One key tweak that you will not want to miss is modifying the SystemResponsiveness value in the registry.   This key determines the percentage of CPU resources that should be guaranteed to low-priority tasks.  By default on Windows Server 2008 R2 this is set to 100%.   Leaving the value at 100% can cause audio and video playback to stutter if you try to do anything else at the same time.   On Windows 7 the default value is set to 20%.

To modify this setting you will need to open up a registry editor using the “run as administrator” option.   Go to the key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionMultimediaSystemProfile

and modify the value of SystemResponsiveness to be either hex 14 or decimal 20.  This configures windows to guarantee 20% of resources to low-priority tasks; freeing up resources for higher-priority tasks such as audio and video.

After making the change you will need to reboot your computer.   Note:  Modifying the registry incorrectly can cause major damage to your Windows installation.   Do not make this modification unless you are very comfortable working with the Windows registry.

0 thoughts on “Using Windows Server 2008 R2 as a Workstation”

  1. Hi Mike,

    Came onto your blog after googling to find a laptop that will run server 2008 r2.

    Please, what laptop specs should I have to run server 2008 r2.

    Thanks and kind regards,

Leave a Reply