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Is there a guide somewhere on how to minimize the Windows Server 2008 R2 installation folder? I am talking specifically about all the features and roles that come with the Windows Server 2008 R2 during "Expanding Files..." in Installation Process.

Even a few extra gigabytes of space would really help me out on an already small SSD drive.

Long story short, after installing all the features and roles, how can I delete the "installation files directory" in Windows Server 2008 R2? (Good analogy here is the hidden folder MSOCache that holds installation files for Microsoft Office 2010 so every time you add/remove new Office feature it doesn't prompt you to insert a CD).

Seems there's a confusion about the role of the server. I need it for SharePoint Server 2010 + Visual Studio 2010 development. Am I better off with Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2?

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Is there a reason you can't use a core install? – GregD Aug 10 '10 at 21:31
@GregD Sorry Greg but could you clarify what it is? I've seen it during the installation process but have no idea what's the difference between "Core" and "Normal" Windows Server 2008 R2. – Sahat Yalkabov Aug 10 '10 at 21:33
Core is Windows Server 2008 without all the GUI components. It's the smallest footprint of the Windows Server 2008 installs available. It also has, supposedly, the lowest attack vector of them all. – GregD Aug 10 '10 at 21:34
up vote 10 down vote accepted

These days Microsoft is recommending that C:\ be no smaller than 32GB for R2 installs (the official word). Microsoft has gone to some lengths make installing new features Just Work without having to dig out install media. What's more, it keeps complete 'undo' history for system files, and Microsoft seems unimpressed by those of us who want to keep C:\Windows to be under 20GB in size. This is a far, far cry from when you could install Server 2003 on a 10GB drive. They really don't want us going back to that.

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thought the magic number was 40GB, due to the sxs dir. – tony roth Aug 10 '10 at 22:21
Oops, it's officially 32gb these days: – sysadmin1138 Aug 10 '10 at 22:24
here's an interesting post… – tony roth Aug 11 '10 at 3:53
@tony That's the support person view, which has its own special weight when considering how to size things. That 20GB VPS looks even sillier now. – sysadmin1138 Aug 11 '10 at 5:19
+1 don't go and delete files from the installation if you want a supported system ^^ – Oskar Duveborn Aug 11 '10 at 6:45

I recommend, if you can, installing Server Core to give you the smallest possible install of Windows Server 2008.

There are other things you can do with your core install to further reduce it's footprint.

This guide will help you also understand what server core is.

Edited after you've updated your original question:

You didn't tell us how big your SSD drive is. I'm going to assume it's not sufficient for your needs. You also didn't tell us what the machine was going to be used for. You asked about SERVER software so I think we assumed you were installing a server.

Hard drive space is relatively inexpensive these days. Ditch the SSD drive and go with a ginormous conventional drive, install Windows 7 with VS2010 for development and then install Sharepoint in a VM on the same machine. If you can, I would also bump up the ram in this machine.

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A "server" machine, on a SSD drive? weird decision, imho. What will be the main role of this server?

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The HDD in any computer is generally the worst bottleneck, so if you need to squeeze every bit of performance out of an IO intensive server, an SSD makes a lot of sense. Also, doesn't answer the op's question. – Mark Henderson Aug 10 '10 at 22:54
yeah, but hardly as boot disc. I am all about heavy IO systems mysself (database), but normally the OS is not really IO dependent ;) – TomTom Aug 10 '10 at 23:00
Main role of the server is to act like a Windows 7 OS with Sharepoint Server 2010 on it. – Sahat Yalkabov Aug 11 '10 at 6:22
Oh, so the server will have a database on it. So, it will have more than 1 disk, right? The OS in the SSD, and some programs and data in other (classic HD's), right? So, in that case, where are the performance gains? A faster boot? we're talking about a server here. How many boots per month/year? 1-2 or 10 ? zero gains. the process of accessing the data will have the speed that the "data HD" permits. or, you plan to put a database on the SSD? good luck with that continouus Read/Writing, and buy yourself 1-2 spares to be ready for the coming failures. – random Aug 12 '10 at 21:12

Maybe you'd be better off with Windows 7 but it's not like it would really make the footprint smaller as you still need the x64 version (which has a bigger footprint) - and Visual Studio is a beast, you'll want at least 80 GB of space for that system and it will start to be annoying after a few months of updates... 160 GB would be my suggestion.

See this document on the options for Sharepoint development. A separate server (physical or virtual) is also an option.

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