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Coming from question:

Should Windows be booted interactively to run as server?

I always thought that server provides network services/servers without anybody interactively havd chosen which Windows to boot or interactively booted under user account.


Update1: This post has context of mentioned above question. Since I could not answer in superuser.com, being banned there, I duplicated the question and provided my answer.

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closed as off topic by Kara Marfia Aug 23 '10 at 14:23

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Reposting questions from SU to circumvent banning is not an appropriate use of this site. –  Kara Marfia Aug 23 '10 at 14:23
    
It was posted originally in SF. Does not SF have "server" in its title? It was just migrated before I was unbanned. –  Gennady Vanin Novosibirsk Aug 23 '10 at 15:59
    
I changed the link of question to SF, if it is so serious matter. AFAIK, I did not even read any questions in SU after my ban there –  Gennady Vanin Novosibirsk Aug 23 '10 at 16:06
    
BTW, was I banned there or it was a technical slip? because I have no clue what's this ban for or after. No notification, no warning –  Gennady Vanin Novosibirsk Aug 23 '10 at 16:15
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4 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

The question linked to is not talking about starting network services once Windows is running - it is asking about the boot menu before Windows has started. The person asking the question either had no default set or had the default set to another OS (either he has switched windows variants and the upgrade that has left the boot.ini with incorrect entries as well as the correct ones, or he has multiple Windows versions installed in a dual-boot arrangement).

True network services (file shares, IIS, SQL Server variants, Cygwin's SSHd, ...) should not need an interactive user logged on in order to operate, though if you have programs offering network services but running as an app controlled by an interactive user and started as the user logs in (instead of being installed as a system service) then you will need that user logged in.

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+1 thanks, but boot menu before Windows "server" has started, did not sound as a finally formulated problem to me, so I added my answer to help –  Gennady Vanin Novosibirsk Aug 25 '10 at 6:33
    
All answers were helpful but this only one I marked as answer because it did not persuade me against using XP as server (which I consider to be off-topic and generally bad advise) –  Gennady Vanin Novosibirsk Aug 25 '10 at 6:38
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Please clarify what you mean by "interactively".

Server Services do indeed provide services whether or not someone is logged in. However Windows does not have a lower runlevel (such as Unix-like OSs) so that it isn't running a GUI to save system resources. The exception to this is Server 2008 which has a "Core" installation type which boots to a very minimal GUI with nothing but a command prompt.

I would recommend against using an XP box as a server. Try to get a Server OS to test on, especially if that is how your app is going to be running in production.

-Waldo

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+1 thanks, I upvoted your answer though I could not understand why would I need GUI on a server apps. Also, if another user launches executable from UNC share on such server and that executable needs GUI, will not server load them thereafter? –  Gennady Vanin Novosibirsk Aug 25 '10 at 6:26
    
Thanks for the upvote. The short answer to why a Server App would require a GUI, the short answer is "because it is poorly written." I've worked with certain DB environments that my former company sells to their clients. The question about where an executable displays when launched by a user from a UNC share is not so easily answered. Typically, if a user launches an executable from a share, it will usually influence the user's system if possible (displaying on the User's machine if a GUI app.) –  gWaldo Aug 25 '10 at 12:00
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Windows XP should not be used as a server in the first place.

You can edit the boot.ini file to choose the appropriate version of Windows to boot into. You don't need to login unless your particular application requires an interactive session.

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Please give me a reference that "Windows XP should not be used as a server" in environment of 1-3 (or a little bit more, I'd better avoid precise digit) developers? And what should be used? Your statement is complete revelation to me –  Gennady Vanin Novosibirsk Aug 25 '10 at 5:43
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Answer to question "How do I get Windows XP Professional upgrade to boot directly without having to choose it at startup?"

Having edited boot.ini (which I find more intuitive to do simply in notepad.exe) for default Windows, as you were advicse in

for dev server you will need to boot automatically without user interaction (in case the power have oscillated).

For automatic booting with chosen username+password without necessity to manually attend this operation, in command prompt type+enter

  • control userpasswords2
  • press ENTER

In opened window GUI choose user from which you want to dev server Windows XP to boot and uncheck checkbox "User must enter a user name and password to use this computer" and answer sanely following messsageboxes (password, OK, etc).

Though, I am perplexed that a server machine needs certain Windowss as well as to bebooted under (pseudointeractive) user account...

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Ok, it sounds like you have a "server application" that doesn't run as a service. (If this is the case, I feel your pain; I used to work for a company who did this.) Some app vendors don't actually know what they're doing and assume that "of course somebody's going to be logged onto the console...". Sadly, if this is the case, you will have to either set the machine up for automatic login (as you have described), or have somebody manually log in after every boot. -Waldo –  gWaldo Aug 23 '10 at 12:56
    
+1 I am not sure where is the pain, I can boot in automatically, having configured it with "control userpasswors2". That's why I added my answer (I cannot answer in SU, where the question was migrated, being banned there) –  Gennady Vanin Novosibirsk Aug 25 '10 at 6:30
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