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Server Core 2008R2Sp1 to WorkStation+How to

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#1 tacromx

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 11:20 AM


WHY?... because i needed a X64 only(server core has the option to remove 32bit support making it a 64bit only OS) Microsoft os that was small,fast,stable, and would run only my Digital Audio Workstation Software.

BUT.... Getting the Audio Drivers to load properly has so far been a real problem and i'm really stuggling with this issue, maybe someone far cleverer than me can sort it out...However i have managed to get the relevent audio services working, so no problem there.

SO.. here's how...


i use the following tools etc....

(download) Microsoft Server 2008 R2 Sp1..

(download and install) Microsoft WAIK....

(download) Gimagex(free, wim file manipulation with gui)..

(download) o&o Regeditor(free,has good copy and paste feature, does things regedt32.exe cant)

(download) NotePad++ (free, and i preffer it to Notepad)..

(download) VirtualBox, for testing..

Finally, any Iso manipulation tool, i use ultraIso


create folders in the root of your drive -

c:\SOURCES (this is where i put the *.wim files for mounting)
c:\COREPLUS (this is where i mount 'CORE.wim' for manipulation etc)
c:\STANDARD (this is where i mount 'STD2008.wim' for file and registry copying)


Extract 'install.wim' from the iso file of 'Server 2008 R2 SP1' to C:\SOURCES\install.wim

Run GimageX and export image 1 to C:\SOURCES\STD2008.wim then export image 2 to c:\SOURCES\CORE.wim


Mount 'STD2008.wim' to C:\STANDARD then Mount 'CORE.wim' to C:\CORE

(Remember to mount both wim's in read\write mode)


Copy all the files from the root of C:\STANDARD\windows\system32 to C:\CORE\windows\system32 (overwrite all files)

Copy C:\STANDARD\windows\en-US\explorer.exe.mui to C:\CORE\windows\en-US\explorer.exe.mui

Copy C:\STANDARD\windows\Resources\*.* to C:\core\windows\Resources\*.*

Copy C:\STANDARD\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\DeviceMetadataStore\*.* to C:\CORE\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\DeviceMetadataStore\*.*

Copy C:\STANDARD\ProgramData\Microsoft\User Account Pictures to C:\core\ProgramData\Microsoft\User Account Pictures

Copy C:\STANDARD\Program Files\Internet Explorer\*.* to C:\CORE\Program Files\Internet Explorer\*.*


Now for the registry stuff, this might or might not be a bit tricky, depends on you user rights and ownership etc....

run regedt32, click on HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, file,load hive .

then load C:\CORE\Windows\system32\config\SOFTWARE . use key name 'CORESOFT'

then load C:\CORE\Windows\system32\config\SYSTEM . use key name 'CORESYS'

then load C:\STANDARD\Windows\system32\config\SOFTWARE . use key name 'STDSOFT'

then load C:\STANDARD\Windows\system32\config\SYSTEM . use key name 'STDSYS'

Now close regedt32 and open O&Oregedit

highlight 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\CORESOFT\Classes' right click on 'Classes'>permissions>advanced>owner , (make sure you are the owner and click on 'replace owner on subcontainers and objects)>apply>ok>ok . right click again and select 'clear'>'yes'

'Classes' should now be deleted(takes a few seconds)

Highlight 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\STDSOFT\Classes' right click on 'Classes' and select copy, navigate back to 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\CORESOFT' and right click, select paste

Do the same again but for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\CORESOFT\Microsoft\Internet Explorer

And for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\CORESOFT\Microsoft\Explorer

And for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\CORESOFT\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\MMDevices

And for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\CORESOFT\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\SideBySide

And for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\CORESOFT\Microsoft\WindowsNt\CurrentVersion\Multimedia

And for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\CORESOFT\Microsoft\WindowsNt\CurrentVersion\Svchost


And for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\CORESYS\ControlSet001\Control\Class

And for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\CORESYS\ControlSet001\Control\CoDeviceInsatallers

And for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\CORESYS\ControlSet001\Control\GroupOrderList

And for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\CORESYS\ControlSet001\Control\MediaInterfaces

And for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\CORESYS\ControlSet001\Control\MediaProperties

And for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\CORESYS\ControlSet001\Control\ServiceGroupOrder

And for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\CORESYS\ControlSet001\Services\AudioEndPointBuilder

And for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\CORESYS\ControlSet001\Services\AudioSrv

And for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\CORESYS\ControlSet001\Services\HDAudBus

And for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\CORESYS\ControlSet001\Services\ksthunk


Also change HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\CORESOFT\Microsoft\WindowsNt\CurrentVersion\WinLogon to "Shell = Explorer.exe"


Close O&Oregeditor

Open regedt32.exe


close regedt32.exe


Open GimageX, Capture C:\CORE , maximum compression, SKU FLAG - STANDARDSERVER Destination = anywhere you want (i named mine coreplus.wim and put it in C:\SOURCE

This may take a bit of time here, put kettle on, have a cuppa T / Coffe


Inject your edited wim file in to a bootable iso and install to VirtualBox or Hd

#2 sambul61


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Posted 23 September 2011 - 11:45 AM

I didn't try to work with Server Core, but wonder if you can use Server Manager or gpedit.msc to add Win Explorer feature or an appropriate Role or Feature that would include that feature. It looks like you assume, adding Win Explorer would automatically allow to use Video and Audio acceleration with native Mobo chipset drivers - why is that? It might be, you'd need to enable Desktop Experience feature instead of fiddling with Registry. Another good place to ask such questions would be here:

Convert your Windows Server 2008 R2 to a Workstation

Also, for testing purposes you can use Native Boot VHDs:

create a Base VHD from your clean Server install to a HD, and then add a Differencing VHD, with which you can play around by adding features and installing drivers & specific apps. It will boot natively on your PC, no need to use VMs or reinstall to HD all the time. Just delete the Diff VHD and create a new one, if you have a problem.

#3 tacromx

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 12:13 PM

Thanks for your reply, your comments are noted, however it's not possible to have explorer gui without registry edits and adding files to the image, explorer gui is not available as a role or feature. I added the explorer gui just to make getting about the os a bit easier. The tricky part was getting the audio services to run.

Thanks again for your reply


#4 sambul61


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Posted 23 September 2011 - 12:41 PM

It might be the Explorer GUI and other things you're looking for are included into Server Core with Desktop Experience feature. Another approach to accomplish your task may be to install Standard Server and then remove some Roles & Features you don't need. :)

#5 tacromx

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 01:10 PM

Believe me, if i could of done it that way, i would, would of saved me weeks of trial and error

Thanks again :good:

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