In my last blog  entry I headed down the path of building a Windows Workstation 2008 by starting with Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition and configuring it for desktop use. Last week I added the Aero interface. This week I’ll continue configuring the Windows Workstation by tuning the system and adding audio. Along the way I’ll show you the steps I followed and share some of my experiences.

The first issue I ran into was that the system would not activate. I didn’t notice this until after the Aero interface was installed. Activation is always a hassle but this time it inexplicably was calling out a DNS error. I knew full well everything with the DNS was fine. Reentering the product key fixed the problem but why that worked was as mysterious as the problem itself.

Next, by default Windows Server 2008 is tuned to favor services over applications. To make sure the system is set to favor applications you need to open up Control Panel and then click on System. Go to the Advanced tab (have you ever noticed how everything you want is always on the Advanced tab…) and click the Settings button in the Performance section. Next click (you guessed it) the Advanced tab again and make sure the Adjust for best performance is set to Programs as you can see in the following screen.

By default the Audio Service is disabled in Windows Server. Fortunately turning on the Audio Service is easy. Open the Control Panel then click on Sound. You’ll see the Audio Service Not Running dialog shown below.

Clicking Yes starts the Audio Service. And you’ll see the Sound dialog shown below.

At this point Windows Workstation is a useable workstation platform. The aero interface is enabled, the system has been activated, and sound has been setup.  Next time I'll share some fine tuning tips to further enhance the system’s performance and usability.