Friday, April 11, 2008

Windows Server 2008, Boot Camp and a Macbook

Well, it works. Here's some notes for anyone wanting to do it:

1) The 64 bit versions of Windows Server 2008 will only work properly on a Macbook Pro or Mac Pro and not on a MacBook. It all goes OK until you try to install the drivers from the Leopard disc: the KeyAgent and MacHAL drivers simply refuse to load, so none of the hardware really works (OK, if you can do without any kind of right click and put with deranged mouse movement then maybe you'll be able to get away with it but I wouldn't bother. There are several forum posts from people with the same problem but no answers.)

2) The Windows Server 2008 ISOs you get from MSDN will not boot into Boot Camp without a good bit of tweaking. Fortunately, the required software is free and the instructions are good. (The reason is, sigh, failing to follow the standards)

Incidentally, if you try with a DVD burnt straight from a MSDN ISO you get this cryptic menu:

1.
2.
Select CD-ROM Boot Type:

(Pressing the 1 or 2 key does nothing)

3) Windows Server 2008 is designed for a minimalist install, to reduce the "attack surface" as the jargon goes. So the wireless network capability is not installed by default: it needs to be added in the "Add Features" part of 'Server Manager' (which starts up by default anyway). That's also where you can turn on the Desktop Experience, which gets you the Aero desktop and Media Player etc, though you still have to start the Themes service to get Aero. There are lots of other options available. Incidentally, the Windows Audio service isn't set to start automatically either. Did I say minimalist? After only an hour or so I am really starting to like this OS. Funny how Vista went in the opposite direction - more on that later maybe.

This still is not enough to connect to your wireless network though - even after rebooting it won't find it by default, I think because the Wireless service doesn't start by default (I chose that option from 'Diagnose and Repair' from the network icon and it worked, but as I didn't start it myself I can't be sure)

4) One more thing to do: go into System Properties (sorry, 'Advanced System Settings') then the Advanced tab (presumably super-advanced!) and choose Settings\Advanced (TRIPLE Advanced!) and change 'Adjust for best performance of' from 'Background Services' to 'Programs'.

Why install Windows Server 2008 instead of Vista? See point 3: minimalist = good, fast and less likely to go wrong, and on a MacBook I have no hardware compatibility problems to worry about. Also no UAC bothering me as it doesn't mind you logging on as the Administrator account (if you're administering a server then you're presumed to know what you're doing. I think I do, so I like that.)

Problems? I have three unknown devices in Device Manager. Looking at the Hardware IDs in the Details tab, they all look like Bluetooth, which I don't use anyway.

If you do this and you haven't used Windows Server 2003, watch out for Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration: it will block any site not in it's whitelist (i.e basically all of them), which can make downloading Firefox a bit troublesome: you need to add mozilla.org to see the site and then the download location to get the installer file. It works better than the previous version, though, and it's easy enough to get FF. Or Opera, or Safari, whichever. Or if you must you can turn off Enhanced Security Configuration, it used to be in what is now called "Windows Features" but I'm not even going to look: now Windows Update is in Control Panel there's no need for me to use IE at all. (Edit: it's now in Server Manager and it's easy to turn off: just as well as Visual Studio help goes berserk when it's on..)

Other than that, It's just like Vista in Boot Camp: two finger scrolling works, but tap-to-click doesn't, you can get a context menu by pressing two fingers on the trackpad and clicking.

Here's a list of some more links I found useful but haven't mentioned yet:

Windows 2008 Server on my Macbook Pro

Turning a Mac Mini into a virtual windows hpc server 2008 compute cluster

Installing Windows Server on a Macbook Pro

For server geeks: The 'Book Of Longhorn' - Changes in Functionality from Windows Server 2003 with SP1 to Windows Server 200

How to make Windows Server 2008 just like Vista

20 comments:

Tom Gilbert said...

I have just managed to install Windows Server 2008 x64 on my MacBook, which I believe is classified as 'Early 2008, White, 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo' (so the last model before aluminium MacBooks released)

The process wasn't 100% smooth, as the BootCamp that came with my MacBook tried to stop the driver install ('x64 not supported on this model'), but the earlier version available via BitTorrent didn't have this check, and then the 2.1 update for Vista64 installs over the top of that.
I'm left with the same 3 devices unrecognised under Bluetooth in device mgr (when viewing devices by connection), but since my iPhone doesn't allow 3G access via Bluetooth, I don't care! Disabling Bluetooth is then what I want anyway, and driver prompts go away after that.

I had to install the display drivers for the integrated Intel solution separately.

Tom Gilbert said...

The Bluetooth drivers are available at the following link - looks like everything is now working 100%!

http://www.harbar.net/archive/2008/06/13/Enabling-Bluetooth-on-MacBook-Pro-and-Windows-Server-2008-x64.aspx

geeky devjoe said...

I am going to buy a macbook pro real soon and was going to put windows server 2008 on the bootcamp partition. So, how is it running for you? Still good and fast?

Stuart Dunkeld said...

geeky devjoe - yes, it runs lovely. I don't boot into it very often but it's nice to know it's there! (I occasionally run it in OSX via VMWare but mostly I just use an XP VM)

Stuart Dunkeld said...

Tom, thanks for that link. I haven't any Bluetooth hardware but if I ever do it will come in handy.

I just installed WS2008 on a new iMac but it went the other way round - I used my original Leopard 10.5.0 disc to install onto boot camp, but when I put in the disc (10.5.4?) that came with the iMac to look for driver updates it told me it was incompatible.

I didn't manage to install the 2.1 update at all, if it worked for you I'll have another go though.

Anonymous said...

Would anyone have a clue if it is possible to install Widows server 2008 x32 on MacBook (not pro)?

Stuart Dunkeld said...

Anonymous,

Yes you can (in Boot Camp), that's what I did, see above..

web design India said...

thanks u r information

it very useful

Anonymous said...

Hello!

Is it possible to install a windows server 2008 with bootcamp on a imac27, with using of Hyper v?

I want to use the hyper v with 2008 to virtualize a exchange 2007/10 Organisation on the imac27. The processors are about 64 bits or?

Thanks

Stuart Dunkeld said...

Anonymous, I found an article which has instructions for running Hyper-V under Boot Camp at http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/30653

That's on a Mac Pro so you will need to make sure that the specific processor in your iMac has hyper-v support. CPU-Z - http://www.cpuid.com/cpuz.php - should be able to tell you when you've booted into Windows, or look up the model online.

Anonymous said...

Hi!

Thanks for the information. At the imac 27, the one processor is intel core 2 duo, and the secound a quad core. For my, the core duo will be interessed. I think, all intel core 2 duo have the intel hyper threading technologie ?

Thanks

Anonymous said...

Hello!

Thanks for your Post/information. For my, the imac 27 with the intel core 2 duo is interessting only, not the quad core.

I think, the intel core 2 duo is always with hyper threading technologie or?

Thanks

Anonymous said...

Hello!

Thanks for your Post/information. For my, the imac 27 with the intel core 2 duo is interessting only, not the quad core.

I think, the intel core 2 duo is always with hyper threading technologie or?

Thanks

Stuart Dunkeld said...

http://www.intel.com/support/processors/pentium4/sb/CS-021789.htm

Anonymous said...

@Stuart

Thanks for the information....

bye

Moorthy said...

HI,

Tom Gilbert said that he had to install the display drivers for the integrated Intel solution separately.

Could anyone help me where I can find that Display Driver for 'Early 2008, White, 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo' (so the last model before aluminum MacBooks released)

Because I have done with the successful installation of Win 2008 server on my macbook but the display max resolution is only 1024×768
I did tried http://www.expta.com/2007/09/how-to-change-screen-resolution-on.html registry entry solution. but still it does not work and I believe that this could be something to do with Display driver.

Please could someone guide me. Thanks!

Moorthy said...

HI,

Tom Gilbert said that he had to install the display drivers for the integrated Intel solution separately.

Could anyone help me where I can find that Display Driver for 'Early 2008, White, 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo' (so the last model before aluminum MacBooks released)

Because I have done with the successful installation of Win 2008 server on my macbook but the display max resolution is only 1024×768
I did tried http://www.expta.com/2007/09/how-to-change-screen-resolution-on.html registry entry solution. but still it does not work and I believe that this could be something to do with Display driver.

Please could someone guide me. Thanks!

Anuj Sharma said...

thanks for such nice post
regards
Anuj
http://www.winservers.co.in

Jay said...

where can i find display driver for macbook pro, windows server 2008 r2?

Macintosh said...

nice post