Windows Server 2008 Workstation Converter

If you don’t want to configure all options to convert Windows Server 2008 to a Workstation manually, sawo now made it possible to use a tool for this. He has done a great job by creating this converter to automate all steps of the manual!

Get the Windows Server 2008 Workstation Converter

Support & Suggestions

Known Issue
The UxTheme patch may in cause an unbootable system in a few cases. To fix this, boot up the pc in Safe Mode with Command Prompt, change directory to %windir%System32 and rename the UxTheme.backup file back to UxTheme.dll. Now reboot and everything should work fine again!

Features of the Converter

General

Visual Tweaks

Network

Games

Other

Delay Activation

Possible commandline parameters
-audio Enable windows audio
-cpu Optimize CPU performance for programs
-ie Disable IE Enhanced Security Configuration
-dotnet Install .NET Framework 3.0
-superfetch Enable SuperFetch
-desktop Install desktop experience
-themes Enable themes
-cad Disable CTRL+ALT+DEL at Startup
-events Disable shutdown event tracker
-name Change computer name
-wireless Enable wireless networking
-offline Enable offline files
-search Enable windows search service
-autologin Enable auto logon
-delay Delay activation
-check Check the remaining days left until activation
-uxtheme32 Apply the UxTheme Patch for 32bit systems
-uxtheme64 Apply the UxTheme Patch for 64bit systems
-sidebar32 Install the sidebar for 32bit systems.
-sidebar64 Install the sidebar for 64bit systems.
-joy32 Install the control panel item for game controllers on 32bit systems.
-joy64 Install the control panel item for game controllers on 64bit systems.
-cursors Install the vista aero cursors.

More information can be found in Readme.txt and Changelog.txt.

176 thoughts on “Windows Server 2008 Workstation Converter”

  • The guide was easy, but this just makes it all that much easier. You are a god amongst men. Great work. =)

  • Hey, let me tell you something: a very professional and simple method to do it. I will appreciate it!
    Thanks …

  • I suggest to add the ability to install BDA as describe in the forum:
    ht tp://inglele.blogspot.com/2008/06/solved-sky-star-usb-plus-on-windows.html

  • I keep getting annoying error’s… maybe because its Server08 x64 enterprise… Its those .net errors… when i get a free day ill document them and submit them..

  • Hey this is perfect, no long having to change everything automatically. this will do it in a fraction of the time

  • Enabling superfetch caused programs to randomly crash on my machine, I had to edit the registry to stabilize my machine again. Might I suggest a restore/disable option for these settings.

  • but after doing that you will have Windows Vista SP1 🙂 because they shares the same sourcecode 🙂 seriously even Windows Server 2008 says it is SP1 🙂 and the build no. 6001.. the same thing.
    some of you that may have toght that Windows Server 2008 is performing better than Vista was because those services and stuff being disabled but enabling those things you will have Windows Vista SP1 + server stuff.
    So, what’s the point, really?

  • @Dreyfus:
    HyperV + for ppl like me (IT Admins) it’s handy having a server OS that you can try lots of things on 😀

    Thanks for the tool – just helped me make the decision to convert my laptop to Server2k8

  • Not denying this is a great bundling of cmds but why is anyone using a Server platform as a workstation? By the workstation operating system!! Surely making these changes could cause possible problems with any future Windows updates and Service Pack releases….

  • Make sure to reflect the Aero Cursor registry change from [HKEY_CURRENT_USERControl PanelCursorsSchemes] to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionControl PanelCursorsSchemes] for Aero Cursors, otherwise, only current user will get Aero Cursors.

  • Is the gameux.dll in the converter x86 or x64, since the Missing gameux.dll page has both a x86 and x64 version?

  • Hey, great tools. It simplifies a lot. Thanks!

    Now, I’m just missing the way to hibernate/sleep after Hyper-V ~>:(

  • Thanks for the tool, very handy to have all the options and tweaks available from within a single program!

    However, I did find a minor bug in the Games section, when I try to install gameux.dll.

    When I click Apply, I get an unhandled .NET exception:

    System.IO.IOException: The target file “C:Windowssystem32” is a directory, not a file.
    at System.IO.File.InternalCopy(String sourceFileName, String destFileName, Boolean overwrite)
    at WindowsFormsApplication1.Form1.games()

    This is probably caused by the fact that I don’t have the DLL present in my system32 folder, so it’s trying to copy it there.

    So I figured, I’ll just copy it myself then and run it again. But then I get another error message saying:

    “The module “C:Windowssystem32gameux.dll” failed to load.

    Make sure the binary is stored at the specified path or debug it to check for problems with the binary or dependent .DLL files.

    The specified module could not be found.”

    Hopefully this helps you in solving the problem 🙂

    Cheers,

    Dennis

  • Wow, this one really fucked up my system. It broke UxTheme.dll, so that explorer (or anyprogram that is) can’t start. Thanks!

  • Kane: I used the Patch UxTheme button. It then proceeded in deleting UxTheme, but it did not replace it with the hacked one.

  • Viktor, what version of Server08 are you using? also x32 or x64? I am using Server08 Enterprise x64 and patching of UxTheme worked fine… also worked fine in Enterprise x32 (your problem and even the few i have are being submitted to the thread for this anyway…)

  • Run ADI devices (5.1 Advanced Microdevices sound system, integrated chipset in D865perl intel motherboard) in this Windows Server 2008?, in Windows Vista non-function, only 2 speakers :(, and non-support from Intel), Thanks for yours responses.

  • Same as Viktor – It broke UxTheme.dll. At least I get the chance to see if restore works (I backed up first)

    Procedure – I just clicked on things I wanted. I feel that if the computer needs a reboot before I’m allowed to click on something then it should be unclickable. Please.

    cheers

  • I install everithing on server 2008 with converter but wmp11 is inposible.
    do you have some solution

  • I can’t enable speech recognition. I’ve already moved files Speech and system32/Speech from Vista’s Windows folder to same folders on Server (I didn’t overwrite them), but nothing happens when I try to enable SR. After piece of second shows “Done”, but after restart, and going to Control Panel nothing changes. When I entered to Text to Speech, after tab Speech Recogntion shows subtitle that Windows didn’t find engine. What have I to do? I’ve already tried several times, but score is the same, as before.

  • at first i want to say that this is a great site.
    everthing works fine except getting the game controllers item into the control panel and “sony vegas pro 8.0b” doesn’t work because of stackhash error or something like that! 🙁
    anyone has a idea why this doesnt work?

  • This is amazing–I’ve set up a couple of Dell Precision 4300 laptops using this process and while there were some tweaks I had to play with, this was a great reference!

    Great job guys!

  • how about funktions next to “Apply” to undone made changes?
    well… i was to fast and clicked x86 sidebar and x86 on the other features but i have an x64 system and now i need to search for, how i can make it undone.

  • FYI GoGrid is offering virtual Servers. They have a free $100 trial when you use the promo code ‘GGED’. They are one of the first to offer 2008. EC2 doesn’t even offer windows. http://www.gogrid.com

  • Same problem as Viktor & Ewen. Applying tool to Ent x64 killed explorer with UxTheme.dll error. OS was unrecoverable and required reinstallation.

  • Great tool. Guys like you make a difference on many people’s life. I have a great job now. I feel like you are god and I have spoken to you!!! You are a good guy I can feel it. Keep up the good work!

    Loucohi

  • For everyone who has their UxTheme broken: Boot in safemode with a CMD prompt. From there you can do the necessary revertations. No need to reinstall.

    I think that the problem lies in that it doesn’t have the rights to replace the file. The renaming to UxTheme.backup(?) is working fine, but then it fails when the software tries to add the hacked one.

  • You could always try replacing the uxtheme.dll on your own. I think there are resources you can search for that carry the hacked uxtheme.dll. This may cut the risk of messing up your system. However, if this is anything like Vista, themeui.dll and shsvcs.dll also need to be replaced. Be careful. Don’t forget to replace all three. Here’s one location of the download: http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/OS-Enhancements/UxTheme-Patch-for-Windows-Server-2008.shtml
    Make sure you have an unraring utility. Happy hacking :).

  • By the way, for the newbies and the people that need a memory refresh, remember that the patched files go into “%systemroot%System32” (x86/32-bit) or “%systemroot%SysWOW64” (only for x64 users). Make sure you have full control of the old files and rename them to -the filename-.dll.old (i.e. uxtheme.dll.old) and then copy the new ones in. Good luck and have fun.

  • using a vista crack on 2008 server will also cause those uxtheme errors. of course using a vista crack on 2008 server breaks alot of stuff. dont use it.

  • I have a problem to burn dvd’s with my normal user account. With the Administrator account there is no problem. I think this is a right problem…

  • How about tv tuner? Is it possible to use same “vista media center” in Windows Server 2008?

    Arris: You can find more information about tv tuners in Server 2008 in this topic at the forum. Vista Media Center is listed in the Wish List.

  • Hi!
    Great tool, no issue to date.
    Just a question about video camera. I plugged my Sony Video Camera yesterday and the Video Capture Wizzard we have in Vista doen’t start automatically in Windows 2008… Is it present? If yes is there’s a way to enable it, if no is there’s a way to install it 😉
    Thanks!

    Arris: I don’t know what Video Capture Wizard you mean. Maybe it’s the one from Windows Movie Maker? See this topic to add Windows Movie Maker in Server 2008.

  • Are there any newer tweaks that I’ll have to do manually after this, or is this the whole shebang?

  • I used the converter 1.0 program to rearm windows 2008 workstation 32 bit enterprise edition. This is the first rearm – I now have a “not genuine” message in the lower left of my screen after I did the rearm. All other aspects of the software appear to be working fine. Is there a way to get rid of the “not genuine” message, or is there until I do a reformat and reinstall at the end of the 240 days. Thanks

    Arris: To be sure the rearm went good, execute the slmgr.vbs -dli command to make sure it was rearmed successfully. If not, maybe there is a bug in the converter so the rearm fails. Then just use the manual way to rearm your system.

  • Can we install the drivers for audio / video / NIC once we install 2008 server as a workstation

    Arris: Sure, just go to your Device Manager (Start -> Run -> devmgmt.msc).

  • hi i’m from italy i’ve follow the guide and i’ve used the server converter and the result is awesome,maybe the server 2008 result the best operating system from microsof,thanks for the guide and the help…i have a problem with messenger,msn loose the connection every 5 minutes and it’s a bit annoying,somebody can halp me?

  • sawo,

    What a wonderful idea. Great work. Is it possible to run this on a laptop? I just bought a 64 bit HP-dv7 laptop and installed 2008 server in place of Vista originally there. I’ve since been told it will never work on a laptop because of hard wired driver requirements etc. I’m not an IT guy (just a programmer) and so am a dummy when it comes to this. I am having trouble getting it to even recognize the built-in card. Do I have to give up and restore Vista or will your application do the job?

    I appreciate any help. Thanks.

    Frank Fox
    Hendersonville, Tennessee

  • I have driverpacks succesfully integrated into install using vistatool.
    Alot of things like Desktop Experience can be enabled in the Answer file .

  • Great piece of software, but others are right, you need to change the buttons so that they check for status. If the tweaks are already applied, change the button to say “disable”, if the changes are not applied, label the button as “enable”.

  • I play with this stuff all the time and report on it for my blog, but HEY THIS IS COOL! I used to run Windows Server 2003 with a bunch of mods as my primary desktop, but I REALLY want to go server 2008 and this gets me closer. I will install a version on a computer around here in the next couple days and I will write a full story and credit your blog with links and everything. Thanks again for a great post!

  • Be aware that some apps (e.g. free AV, Windows Live) will refuse to install on a Server OS.
    The rearm feature is borderline illegal, it’s not intended that you “obtain” the install media and get a free OS, and doubtful that anyone would be “evaluating” Windows Server for 3/4 of a year…

  • I’m in the middle of the process of converting one of my workstations to a Windows Server 2008-based machine, and this tool will probably save me some time – although there’s some things missing which I’d like to see in an upcoming version, I’ve dropped you an email.

    Cheers

  • 好东西,十分感谢,拿走了~
    Thank you very much~

  • Yeah, but what about sp2 beta? If I do a fresh install, does sp2 come before modifying server 08 or is it better after?

  • I just used the program try the the theme button…rebooted now I get Uxtheme.dll was not found. I’m going to reinstall Server 2008 and give it another shot.

  • Got the broken UXtheme.dll problem as well, has to reinstall to get working again, thank goodness I hadn’t activated yet! What exactly does the UXtheme part of this program do? Does anyone know why that part of the desktop conversion program is not working for some of us? I’m running Server 2008 Enterprise x86

    Arris: By default Uxtheme only allows signed msstyles themes. This patch will also allow 3th party msstyles. If the Converter patch didn’t work, it is possible to restore the backup of the Uxtheme.dll in Safe Mode with Command Prompt. Also added this info in the article.

  • I am Mainly a gamer,playing Call Of duty 4 and 5. Play with Photoshop some, convert the occasional video and surf the web.

    What issues will I run into if I install the 64 bit version?. Will video card drivers work ok? Games install?

    Any other gamers out there with some input?

    Arris: In 99% of the cases all Vista (x64) drivers will run fine and as you can see at the Games Compatibility List 99.9% of the games run (even better than in Vista). PhotoShop also doesn’t have any problems in Windows Server 2008 (x64). You can first try it in dual boot if you are still not convinced! 😉

  • Thanks for the tool, it’s a miracle. One thing, has anyone noticed their System Event Log not update since running the converter? I haven’t found a solution yet.

  • Hmmn, doesn’t work at all.

    Have a brand new install of server 2008, got this converter and ran it, but everything I click on gives me the error:
    “Application attempted to perform an operation not allowed by the security policy. To grant this application the required permission, contact your system administrator (I hate shit like that from MS, I’m the damn admin!)

    If you click Continue the application will ignore this error and attempt to continue”

    So I hit continue and nothing happens.

    So ofcourse as per the Readme I ran “ServerManagerCmd -install NET-Framework-Core”

    And still the same

  • Do not delay the activation, otherwise you’ll end up with “an unauthorized change has been made to windows” and the shit that comes with it.

  • Thank you, first and foremost for the good work! I tried the 1.1v on the Windows 2008R2 with partial success. Do you have a converter and time bomb stopper for the Server 2008R2?

    Thank you again!

  • Windows 2008 is a great OS and eventually its going to replace Windows 2000 and windows 2003 as Windows 2000 and Windows 2003 replaced Windows NT. Better learn it and be prepared to support it. Now the next questions is where to start it? So go ahead and click on the link http://learnwindows2008.blogspot.com. Its perfect link to complement all the reading you do.

    Happy learning.

  • If you have an NVidia Quadro NVS type video card and are getting BSOD (blue screens of death) when you boot. Try downloading a new version of the driver, but instead of running the setup, expand it with 7zip or IZArc. Then, open the Device Manager, browse to the video driver and choose the “update driver” option and point to the folder where you extracted the drivers. This worked much better than the executable at correctly installing the driver on Server 2008.

  • Please update your application for Windows Server 2008 SP2 RTM (“available” as of today)… it gave me a BSOD.

  • Great Job! Can I know how to translate it into other languages? I assume it is using language files because there are two txt files: en and fr. But don’t know how to load them.

    Thanks again!

  • Thanks for the tool, it’s a miracle. One thing, has anyone noticed their System Event Log not update since running the converter? I haven’t found a solution yet.

  • Hi, is it possible to slipstream these updates to a custom installation ISO? Like in vlite or something? Thanks

  • I cannot figure out “change directory to %windir%System32 and rename the UxTheme.backup file back to UxTheme.dll” with the command prompt. What is the exact command I have to enter? The OS is on my c drive. Thanks!

    Arris: Here are the commands you need:
    cd %windir%System32
    rename uxtheme.dll uxtheme.patched
    rename uxtheme.backup uxtheme.dll

    Good luck! 😉

  • I have a feature request for the 2008 workstation converter, I would like it have the option to set the local computer password policy to not require complex passwords and have no password expiration

    When setting up the systems I sometimes keep forgetting to run
    gpedit.msc

    Local Computer Policy | Computer Configuration | Windows Settings |Security Settings | Account Policies | Password Policy

    Maximum password age 0 days
    Password must meet complexity requirements Disabled

  • Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

  • Thank you so much for a really neat utility that did EXACTLY what I was spending many hours trying to achieve. Your tool did almost everything perfectly. The only thing that did not work was the Sidebar did not load automatically. CONGRATULATIONS!

  • For anyone looking into making Speech Recognition work with Windows 2008 server, this topic explains it all (be sure to thank Jason) => http://groups.google.com/group/microsoft.public.speech_tech.sdk/browse_thread/thread/615fce70bd01a21d/5d341d6dcc891ddf?lnk=raot

    The guy behind Windows 2008 Workstation Converter automated good part of that. What you need:

    1. Speech Recognition DLLs from Vista machine (Windows/Speech & Windows/System32/Speech folders)
    2. Windows 2008 Workstation Converter, download it from this site
    3. Additional registry entries; I made this one after failing to activate Speech Recognition with just steps #1 & #2 => http://www.mediafire.com/?zn5jzzfvyzz

    After you have all that:
    1. Copy Vista DLLs to Speech and System32/Speech folder (WITHOUT overwriting existing dlls).
    2. Then start Windows 2008 Workstation Converter, on Other tab click on Enable Speech recognition.
    3. Finally, by double clicking import all .reg entries.
    4. Control Panel -> Text To Speech -> Speech Recognition -> check ‘Run Speech Recognition at Startup’
    5. Restart machine

    And Speech recognition should work… I’m using it from C#.NET on my server now.

    One final notice – this only works on 32bit version of Windows 2008!!!

    Arris: Looks good, thanks for your comment! 🙂

  • Hey Mile,

    Is possible to publish your registry entries again. The link you post directing to mediafire isnt valid.

    Thanks!

  • Hey Mile,

    Is it possible to publish your registry entries again? The link you post directing to mediafire isnt valid.

    Thanks

  • same thing for me – could you please post again the reg info for the speech reco? The link points to nothing to download. Thanks a bunch!

  • Will it work on the Server 2008 “R2” version? That O’S is very attractive-NOT and costly. But I prefer Debian now. Its free and power efficient.

  • Broke my computer due to the uxtheme.dll. You should probably remove that function until you find out a way to implement it without destroying windows.

  • Same problem as Jetboy above,not able to use because of the following error:

    “Application attempted to perform an operation not allowed by the security policy. To grant this application the required permission, contact your system administrator

    Tried downloading SDK for Dot Net 2.0 and could not configure .net permissions. Help.

  • I need Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard converter to run like a workstation.
    Please Help. Can I run single boot windows “server 2008 r2” where windows7 and XP Mode both will be run as Virtual machine? One thing I have to know, does Server support XP mode. I have to update windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 Standard independently because of duel boot and different partition though there is a lot of update is same. Is there any way to run both the machine in same drive where windows 7 will be worked as a virtual machine under server? I have enough hardware support and licensed copy of both of them. At present I have a duel boot system w7 in C and Server in D drive. Both are 64 Bit. Is there any way to create IP in Server and Windows 7 will run under that Domain as a virtual machine. I know it is possible to install w7 as a virtual machine in Server but problem is “It will not run under a domain configuration because I do not know how I can run the virtual machine under a domain”. Does windows Media center and all the updated features of windows 7 will work fine in a virtual machine?
    One more question, what should the Bios SLIP key in Virtual machine? In a virtual machine if the OEM keys detect as major HW change then Activation will work for w7 or I have to phone call for activation.
    I have an OEM 64 Bit windows7 Professional. I do not activate my Server 2008 R2 Standard with my key (It is working with 180days activation trial) because of facing the Activation issues later. So I am waiting for a permanent settlement of OS environment. Please help, though I am a home user but I want to create a server environment in my Desktop.

  • download is broken, I realy would need it
    Thanks !!

    Arris: Thanks for notifying, added a mirror.

    • Download site is still broken, and the mirror site looks to be a malware download site (it never presents a download for the converter, just it’s own utilities).

  • Great article, Vista is my favorite os but Microsoft ends in 2017. So I’ll most likely switch to Windows Server 2008 and use this to convert it to Vista. Just what I was looking for 😀

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