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I would like to know what people think about installing the Desktop Experience feature for a production server? I have an application which requires the web client component for one of its features to work.

Can I install this and still use rdp and have a high level of security etc Thanks

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

If you have valid reasons for it, there is nothing wrong with it running on a server. It's disabled by default to prevent unnecessary ram/cpu from being used just for admin tasks, but if you need it, I've not seen a noticeable adverse affect from enabling it. Can't imagine a security risk of enabling it other then the general "less code running = lower attack surface". It doesn't open any new ports that I know of.

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Windows Media Player would be the security risk that I'll point out (with its overly helpful UPnP sharing, there's probably some additional network attack surface), but just the same; if you need it, you need it (audio codecs are another common need, which is why it's needed for Exchange's Unified Messaging server role). – Shane Madden May 17 '11 at 21:40
Agreed. From a security perspective, the point is, don't run anything you don't have to. Or put another way, make intentional decisions about everything you run. There is nothing inherently insecure about it, so if you need it, run it. BTW, if search is enabled by loading this, you may want to consider whether you need that (performance) – uSlackr May 17 '11 at 21:43
Good point on WMP Shane. Probably worth someone doing a services and port diff after enabling Desktop Experience just so we're all sure. – Bret Fisher May 22 '11 at 21:47

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