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Replace desktop: run Win7 (eventually 8) & WHS2011


G. WadeTech
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I am looking to replace my current desktop over time as I have a nice and small family budget to adhere too. My thought is that it would be nice to have both my Windows 7 desktop (multi-user) and WHS 2011 on the same machine using virtualization. I am interested in getting help thinking through this more with the community.

 

A couple of things to note:

- I want the Windows 7 desktop to run on a dual monitor setup & possibly 3 monitors if I go with eyefinity

- I want my wife to be able to sign in on her account on the Windows 7 desktop and for her to not know what is going on in the background (it just works like a normal desktop running Windows 7 w/ multiple monitors)

- I plan to use separate physical hard drives for the Windows 7 desktop and WHS2011

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Guest no-control

My thought is that it would be nice to have both my Windows 7 desktop (multi-user) and WHS 2011 on the same machine using virtualization.

 

- I want my wife to be able to sign in on her account on the Windows 7 desktop and for her to not know what is going on in the background (it just works like a normal desktop running Windows 7 w/ multiple monitors)

 

These two are not compatible.

 

She will know and may even need to interact (depending on how complicated you want to make it) with the Type II VM software.

 

My suggestion is

  1. Run a separate box for WHS, its doesn't need to be extravagant. An old or donated machine will do fine.
  2. Might be possible to run WS08R2 as the host and then run the rest as VMs that all auto start on boot. Then your wife could just connect to her VM. This would allow multi monitor as well. But depending on what you want to do with the machine you may need to sacrifice certain capabilities (like gaming). Even then she would need a bit of education on how to nav the server interface should she need to close it either on purpose or accidentially.
  3. Might be possible to run a thin client to a server, but that comes with its own set up issues.

Without knowing what the requirements for the Windows 7 installs are its hard to make suggestions. If both are for General computing only (web, office, etc..) then #2 will definitely work. If there is any gaming involved (non web browser) then you pretty much need separate machines.

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I currently am running Windows 7 and WHS2011 as separate machines. But wanted to think about and discuss in the forums the thought of running both on the same machine.

 

The other option I was thinking about was have different user accounts on the new machine. Gordon, Megan(wife) and WHS2011. The WHS2011 account in Windows 7 would run VM software and WHS2011 and be left logged in and running as my wife and I would be logging into our accounts on the same machine.

 

Thoughts?

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Not very... the idea is that it would run in the WHS2011 user account and she would just log into her account as normal.

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Guest no-control

This will require heavy management by you. Updates to both OS's would require manual updates and restarts as needed. Just to avoid what the wife will have to "deal" with if she need to use it before you've had a chance to administrate it. I guess at this point since you're not willing to concede that this is a bad idea yet. ;) We should go down the rabbit hole an explore it a bit more.

 

WHile I wholly understand the point of W7 for both you and your wife. The big question for me is... What is the point the of the WHS2011 installation? What are you looking to gain by using it? I'll address the basic functions of a server (specifically WHS2011) and why I think it doesn't suit your application.

 

Backup clients - This doesn't really help you as this machine acts as the clients and server. Back it up to an external hdd and its done.

 

Central storage - Well since its all going to be on 1 box anyway why do you need the additional layer? Just use homegroups. OIr even shares and permissions if you want granularity.

 

Accessibility - Well if this PC malfunctions. You wouldn't have access anyway and from what you've told us there is no budget for a redundant system to maintain access.

 

Web Access - While not as peachy easy as WHS2011 makes it. Every copy of Windows Pro and up comes with IIS. So it isn't out of the realm of possibility to have a web interface to a share.

 

Unfortunately, you're use case just doesn't work out on paper. I think if you built this box you would be unsatisfied with it.

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I agree with you no-control... the only possible solution to run Windows 7 and WHS2011 on the same box is through a VM hosting solution like ESXI, Hyper-V, .... Thanks for entertaining my idea and talking about the idea and issues that would come of it.

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I agree with you no-control... the only possible solution to run Windows 7 and WHS2011 on the same box is through a VM hosting solution like ESXI, Hyper-V, .... Thanks for entertaining my idea and talking about the idea and issues that would come of it.

 

I have thought about a situation very similar to this. I have read that Win8 will contain Hyper-V, so couldn't we avoid having to run ESXI or Server2008R2? The reason I liked the idea of having WHS2011 as a client VM would be to back up laptops (no-control is right, the Win8 box would not have the WHS connector and would have to get backed up to external HDD). But it seems it would be nice to just have one box that is on 24/7, backing up laptops, acting as a Media Center 'server', providing remote access, etc. If RAID 1 mirroring is used for the OS drives and external backups are taken off-site, it seems pretty safe and secure. A question though, is when Win8 needs to reboot, will it gracefully shutdown the WHS VM, or can you prevent auto-rebooting?

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