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Windows Vista vs Windows Server 2008 (Workstation)

July 24, 2008

Last week, I decided that the time has come to replace my current desktop PC. I've been skimming through a couple of articles and reviews in order to put together a new home developer rig. Now I've come to the point that I know what I want, except for the operating system that I want to install.

I've recently upgraded my current desktop from Windows XP to Windows Vista and I must say that I'm not particularly happy about it. Its slow, slow, slow and did I already mention that it is slow? Sure you say, an older desktop that is up for replacement is always slow. Not really actually. I've never had any performance problems when running XP, even while running a VM.

With Vista, its a whole different ball-game. I was completely baffled by looking at the amount of processes/services that were running after I performed a clean install. I tried some tweaking, but nothing really helped. Besides being slow, the whole operating system hangs sometimes with for no apparent reason (no processor or disk activity whatsoever).

There are also a couple of applications I couldn't get to work correctly:

  • Windows Live Messenger (not that I'm using this much, but I figured this should at least work).
  • RapidSvn (can't even get it to start).
  • AVG anti-virus (doesn't want to automatically download virus updates).
  • A Haupauge Win-TV card I bought not that long ago.
  • ...

Well, if you don't like it, go back to XP then. Vista has its improvements as well. As you may or may not know, I'm a big fan of LUA (Least User Access). This was a real PITA in XP, but Vista SP1 comes with a lot of improvements on this. Besides, I wanted to play around with IIS 7, so an upgrade to Vista looked like the right thing to do.

Last week, I found this link on Twitter accompanied by this article that really got me interested in using Windows Server 2008 as a workstation. I downloaded a trial version last weekend and I must say that I'm very impressed by its performance (although I was running it as a VM on Vista :-)). According to some other articles and benchmarks I've read, Windows Server 2008 outperforms Vista with 11% to 17%. This article mentions that Visual Studio 2008 really flies and that VM's also run better. Windows 2008 also ships with IIS 7.0 and MSMQ 4.0, some technologies I want to learn in the near future. Hyper-V, also a feature of Windows Server 2008, got me interested as well.

There is one major downside to Windows Server 2008: the price tag of the standard edition is well beyond my range. Unfortunately, there is no "workstation edition". I would love to use 2008 on my new desktop PC, but its price really puts me off. I don't mind paying for software, but there are limits to my budget as well.

If you, my dear reader, want to share your advice then I would be happy to hear from you. If you know how to get a cheap Windows Server 2008 license, then please contact me as well ;-).

Maybe I should just get over it ...

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Jan Van Ryswyck

Thank you for visiting my blog. I’m a professional software developer since Y2K. A blogger since Y2K+5. Curator of the Awesome Talks list. Past organizer of the European Virtual ALT.NET meetings. Thinking and learning about all kinds of technologies since forever.

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Thank you for visiting my website. I’m a professional software developer since Y2K. A blogger since Y2K+5. Curator of the Awesome Talks list. Past organizer of the European Virtual ALT.NET meetings. Thinking and learning about all kinds of technologies since forever.

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