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I need to upgrade my Dell Win2003 server to Win2012 Essentials. I have under 25 users so I won't need CALs. I don't need Exchange. Half my users are still on Windows XP. What exactly works and doesn't work with XP workstations on a Win2012 server?

I plan to create a new domain from scratch, enter my users and accounts manually since there aren't very many. It's kind of pain to change workstation profiles, but I've done it before.

In researching XP support, I've found only sketchy information. It seems server backup of workstations and certificate handling are not supported with WinXP. I don't need this. All I need is for the xp workstations to see server shares and printers. If they can log in, great, but it's really just the shares I need until I get them upgraded to Win7 over the next year or two.

What kind of problems will I have with XP workstations on Windows 2012 Essentials?

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I've been testing Server 2012 Essentials. In short, you can connect XP clients to the domain and use the shared files/folders and printers. However, XP and Vista are second class citizens on Server 2012.

  • You cannot use the server's Connect Wizard (http://servername/connect) to connect XP or Vista clients. You can use the standard XP Network ID wizard to connect to the domain. I believe this means you won't be able to use the user's current profile. (Several years ago I remember using a registry hack which allowed us to redirect to a different user profile. We had to change file and folder permissions on the old profile first. I do not know if this registry hack still works.)
  • There is no special client software for XP or Vista unless Microsoft releases something separate in the future. I think this software is what performs the backups. What else it does I don't know.
  • XP and Vista clients cannot be backed up using the server based backup solution.
  • Oddly, on the server XP clients do not show up under Dashboard > Devices or under Dashboard > Home > Quick Status > Computers. However, XP computers do show up in Active Directory > Computers.
  • The Implement Group Policy option in the Dashboard > Devices does not affect XP or Vista clients. However, you can administer Group Policy to XP and Vista clients using the standard Server 2012 Group Policy Management Editor.
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Thanks for the info. The Microsoft answer is that XP is not supported. A Dell server support person implied the same thing. But it appears I don't need to upgrade all my XP workstations before I bring in a Windows 2012 server. It's too bad the full support picture is not provided in Windows 2012 support materials. –  Alex Jan 25 '13 at 13:50

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