Windows Server 2008/2012 Workstation Tweeks

Install the following Windows Features

  • (Go to: Server Manager > Features)
  • Desktop Experience
  • Wireless LAN Service
  • Optional:Windows PowerShell Integrated Scripting Environment (config notes)

Enable the following Windows Services

  • Enable the Windows Audio service (for sound)
  • Enable the Themes service (for Aero themes)

Useful Group Policy Settings

Starting the Group Policy Management Editor (not Console)

If your machine is on a Domain.

  1. Click StartRun, then type GPMC.msc. This will start the Group Policy Management Console.
  2. Open your domain (e.g. Wagner.local), then expand “Domain Controllers”, then and right-click “Default Domain Controllers Policy” and select the “Edit…” menu option. This will start the Group Policy Management Editor.

If your machine is not on a Domain.

  1. Click StartRun, then type, then type GPEdit.msc. The right-mouse click on the gpedit.msc file listed and select the Run as Administrator.
  2. This will start the Group Policy Management Editor.

Now that the Group Policy Management Editor is open, continue with:

Disable Strong Password Requirements

  1. Navigate to Computer Configuration > Policies > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Account Policies > Password Policy.
  2. Change the Password must meet complexity requirements and set it to Disabled. Click OK.
    Note: this will be grayed out and you will not be able to edit this value if the machine is on a domain and you did not start the Group Policy Management Editor via GPMC.msc.
  3. Change the Minimum Password Length to zero.
  4. Change the Enforce Password History to zero.
  5. Change the Minimum Password Age to zero.

Allow Shutdown at Login Screen

  1. Navigate to Computer Configuration > Policies > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > Security Options.
  2. locate the “Shutdown: Allow system to be shut down without having to log on” option and Enable it.

Do Not Require CTRL+ALT+DEL

  • Navigate to Computer Configuration > Policies > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > Security Options.
  • locate the “Interactive logon: Do not require CTRL+ALT+DEL” option and Enable it.

Do Not Display Shutdown Event Tracker

  • Navigate to Computer Configuration > PoliciesAdministrative Templates.. > System
  • Select Display Shutdown Event Tracker and disable it.

Important: These group policy changes will not take effect until you reboot or run the gpupdate.exe command.

Optional Registry Updates

The following registry updates may be useful on your development machine. Note, some of these will not work on a machine that is also a domain controller. However, these can be modified via the

Performance for Programs

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\PriorityControl]
“Win32PrioritySeparation”=dword:00000026

Enable SuperFetch Service

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters]
“EnablePrefetcher”=dword:00000003
“EnableSuperfetch”=dword:00000003

Prevent Stuttering Sound

If SystemResponsiveness is set to 100 (default in Server 2008), it means that all processes are given a higher priority than multimedia. In Windows Vista the default value is 20. This is a addition to the article Enable Sound Acceleration.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Multimedia\SystemProfile]
“SystemResponsiveness”=dword:00000014

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