It has now been a quite a pleasant week with my new and Upgraded 2012 Microsoft Windows Server.
As previously commented I was lazy and chose the upgrade from Microsoft Windows 2008 R2, not clean install.
Before proceeding further, let us talk money. Choosing the Server 2012 OS has meant expenditure of
- The Base OS, MS 2012 Server, Standard Edition is about 500 GBP
- AVG Anti virus, is not free because you use a server OS is about 30 GBP
- SyncBack SE, file sync, is not free because you use a server OS is about 20 GBP
- The Micron M500 (or equivalent) SSD to host the OS is about 80 GBP
What I'm saying therefore is that the cost of this little exercise was about 600 GBP (920 USD).
So what did I get for my money?
The upgrade was moderately painful. I documented the work arounds here
Start Menu - Au Revoir (--)
Yes ,to compound to idiocy of Windows 8, they removed the Start Menu from Windows 2012
WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?
This really is unacceptable and judging by the re-appearance of the Start Menu for Windows 8.1 I can assume it will also be back for Windows 2012.
I can get by because this Server is installed with ONLY the absolute minimum applications needed to do its job as file, virtualisation, communications and Media centre.
The Metro Interface therefore is therefore workable.
However Metro concept, i.e. one interface from phone, tablet and desktop PC: well it is just not so convenient.
A WORD to Microsoft: If this is the standard of your corporate decision making, please call me immediately. I'm sure I can work for you and not screw things up this badly.
Flat User Interface (--)
To me, another stupid move. Maybe this no frills, early 2000 interface devoid of eye candy, special effects will please some people (pensioners?) I am not sure however this was really the target audience.
With some degree of cynisism to me it as if User Interface designers have gone for the easy life and headed back to an interface that ignores the advances of the last decade.
What I do know is that Microsoft and now Apple are both on the GUI simplification bandwagon. Do they all drink at the same bar, one has to ask?
So if I said I had to Google how to shutdown my computer for the first time. Well, what can I say about the user interface! Basically hover the cursor to the bottom right corner of a screen to enable a sliding Popout menu from which clicking on the cog gives the above choices.
NB: Of course ALT+F4 on the desktop still works of course, but I want to do things the /new way/
When I copy or moves files, and believe me I do a lot of that, I get a wonderful fancy new graphical interface showing speed and copies. Fantastic
After 5 years of remembering the ALT key sequence to create a folder now there is a button to do it. Small but wonderful.
You can still populate it with your favourite extra columns
Resource Manager can still display more detail about your running system such as network traffic or TCP ports, packet loss and latency.
The New base CPU Performance screen has clearer presentation
Network Seems Faster (+)
I'm using an Intel i340, 4 port Gigabit card, and 2x1 Gigiabit backup links talk to the outside world. You need to reinstall the Intel PROset drivers but now I can say
- I do > 90MB/sec sustained network transfer speed to satellite NAS storage
- My Crashplan backup (uplink to WAN) seems to have increased from 4M Bit/sec to over 7M Bits/sec sustained. [This might not have anything to do with the MS 2012 WAN drivers though!]
So pretty happy here.
The Intel PROset drivers support Link Aggregation, Hot Standby, Load Balancing, VLAN all directly for Windows 2012. There are no native Linux drivers.
Things still work (+)
Nothing really stopped working. And by that I can confirm:
- Remote desktop still works to remote MS computers
- VNC still works to remote desktop to remote OSX computers
- The core applications I use all the time, namely Chrome Browser, VMWare, VLC media Payer, SyncBack file replication, irfan view screen copy, total commander, Skype, AVS converters - all work great.
- Multiple screen support still works fine
- Full MS keyboard and mouse support e.g. visuals when you change volume, CAPS works fine
The Windows 2012 server is usable and my applications still work. When the Start Menu comes back, things will be just tickety boo