This is the second of a three part article on building a laptop with Windows Server 2008 R2 and configuring Hyper-V to provision an SCCM lab.

Now you are comfortable with the idea of having a virtual lab on a laptop, there’s the list of omissions to address as I described in part one of this article. To recap, the list is below:

FeatureFix
Windows Easy TransferFixable with sigverify tool
XPS viewerDisabled by default
Windows Media CenterUse alternative Media Center
Codecs to play MP4 videosUse VLC or similar
Windows Performance ratingHack available
Windows SidebarFixable by copying files from Windows 7
No hibernation (if you use Hyper-V)Not available
No BluetoothNot available

Windows Easy Transfer (WET) ^

If you want to transfer data easily from your laptop and then import it once rebuilt, you need to use Easy Transfer. The solution is that you can persuade WET to run by using Microsoft’s Application Verifier tool. This can create a shim to run WET as if it’s on Windows 7. The steps are:

  1. Copy the %windir%\system32\migwiz directory from your old/another Windows 7 machine
  2. Using Application Verifier tick “HighVersionLie” and right-click properties to be:
    Major: 6
    Minor: 1
    Build: 7600
    ProdType: 1
  3. Save the result and you’re ready to run Easy Transfer

XPS viewer ^

Running XPS viewer is very easy as it’s just not installed by default. To enable it you simply tick the feature in Server Manager.

Windows Server 2008 R2 laptop - Enabling XPS viewer in Server Manager, Features

Enable XPS Viewer in Server Manager, Features

Windows Media Center ^

Enabling the Streaming Media Service role, after installing a patch Given my goal was not to sit watching on my laptop I ignored this and the lack of codecs. Windows 2008 R2 does still include Windows Media Player 12, but it will play native videos – WMV, ASF and audio WMA or MP3. If I want to watch videos I will use the feature- rich VLC portable instead. It comes with the codecs for most media formats.

Ironically, you can add the Media Streaming Service to 2008R2 but you have to download a patch first. This will encode videos and broadcast them as a stream to other machines on your network. The catch is unless the video is in WMV format already, you will have to convert it.

Windows Server 2008 R2 laptop - Enabling the Streaming Media Service role, after installing a patch

Enabling the Streaming Media Service role, after installing a patch

Windows Performance Rating ^

The numeric rating system introduced since Vista is really a tool called WinSAT – Windows System Assessment Tool. Windows then uses this to generate an aggregate score, the Windows Experience Index (WEI). It’s of no interest to server people so Microsoft left it out, but it works fine. You simply copy the %windir%\System32\WinSAT directory to your machine. It’s command line only though. If you want the pretty GUI version, there’s a hack you can download.

Windows Sidebar ^

Finally, Windows Sidebar is nice but unfortunately, security researchers found it’s not secure since it involves running XML and JavaScript on your local machine. Microsoft has quietly removed the gadgets gallery from their site. They want to push Windows 8 apps anyway now.

If you insist on having it, just copy the Sidebar folder, register the sidebar executable and reboot.

Personally, I’d just avoid it. Microsoft has issued an advisory if you want more detail why not.

In my next post I will how to setup the host machine and lab.

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