How I configure my Windows 2008 R2 demo setup

Given that I often demonstrate Adobe’s server products (LiveCycle ES and others) I typically have a server centric environment on a VMWare image stored locally on my laptop. I have (finally) upgraded my demonstration environment from Windows 2003 to Windows 2008 R2. Since I often get asked how and why I set up my demo environment the way I do, I’ve captured some notes and share them

I won’t cover the actual OS installation, so i’ll assuming the OS & drivers are installed and you’ve run Windows update. First, in order to make the OS look slightly more familiar, I install the Desktop Experience feature using Server Manager, or with the following command line:

  • ServerManagerCmd -i Desktop-Experience
This will install the Windows Aero and other desktop themes, along with a lot of other programs that go into Vista by default (Windows Media Player, Windows Photo Gallery, etc.). Next, you need to set the Themes service to Automatic and start it. For Windows Server 2008 R2:
  • Click Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization
  • Click Personalization and select the Aero Theme

Stop the annoying Windows server shutdown event tracker. Each time you reboot you have to log a reason why… useful in production, but ANNOYING in development & demo.

  • To open Group Policy, click Start, click Run, type gpedit.msc, and then click OK.
  • Local Computer Policy-> Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates-> System-> Display Shutdown Event Tracker
  • On the Setting tab, click Disabled.
  • Click Apply, and then click OK.

Relax the password security on this demo install. This way you can have any type of password you like.. just don’t do this on a production machine with any sensitive data!

  • Group Policy Object [computer name] Policy
  • Computer Configuration-> Windows Settings-> Security Settings-> Account Policies-> Password Policy
  • Disable the setting “Password must meet complexity”
  • Run “gpupdate” command to refresh the group policy

If you want to automatically log into an account;

  • In the Start menu click Run and enter control userpasswords2.
  • After clicking OK the User Accounts window will show up.
  • Click the account you want to login automatically and uncheck Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer checkbox.
  • Click Apply, it will ask for the password of the user you selected.
  • Enter the password of the selected user twice and click OK.
  • From now on every time you start Windows it will automatically login!

To apply Enhanced Security Configuration to specific users by using a computer running Windows Server 2008

  • Log on to the computer with a user account that is a member of the local Administrators group.
  • Click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Server Manager.
  • If the User Account Control dialog box appears, confirm that the action it displays is what you want, and then click Continue.
  • Under Security Summary, click Configure IE ESC.
  • Under Administrators, click On (Recommended) or Off, depending on your desired configuration.
  • Under Users, click On (Recommended) or Off, depending on your desired configuration.
  • Click OK.
  • Restart Internet Explorer to apply Enhanced Security Configuration.

Other post installation tasks include

  • Enable Windows Audio (optional – disabled by default)
  • Install Winzip
  • Install Firefox
  • Install Flash
  • show file extensions
  • turn UAC off

Sources

http://www.expta.com/2009/02/how-to-enable-aero-glass-on-windows.html <- Aero on Win2008
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd883248%28WS.10%29.aspx <- Enhanced Security
+ others I cannot remember

Have your own tip? Please share!