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Windows 8 Thread, Testing windows 8.1 in our existing server 2008R2 / windows 7 64bit environment in Technical; Iím looking for a bit of guidance here. Iíve installed windows 8.1 64bit on a test PC. Itís joined the ...
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    kennysarmy's Avatar
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    Testing windows 8.1 in our existing server 2008R2 / windows 7 64bit environment

    Iím looking for a bit of guidance here.

    Iíve installed windows 8.1 64bit on a test PC.

    Itís joined the domain and Iíve placed it in itís own OU though in the same branch as my other computer OUís.
    I can log in as a domain admin successfully and Iíve turned the firewall off for now.

    When I run Group Policy Results Wizard from my Windows 7 PC itís not showing the domain account I logged in with as an option when I want to choose a specific user.

    Iím also reading conflicting information about whether I can test fully without first upgrading my DCís to Server 2012 or having another window 8.1 PC with the RSAT tools.

    I was thinking of installing a windows 8 virtual PC on my desktop, would that be a good way to work?

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    robjduk's Avatar
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    I believe you have to have 2012 DC's to allow for the latest group policies however someone on EG told me I could have got away with just upgrading my domain schematic to 2012 level but having a virtual instance on your desktop should be just fine. VMWare here for testing and going well.

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    kennysarmy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robjduk View Post
    I believe you have to have 2012 DC's to allow for the latest group policies however someone on EG told me I could have got away with just upgrading my domain schematic to 2012 level but having a virtual instance on your desktop should be just fine. VMWare here for testing and going well.
    so 2012 for the latest policies but I could at least start some testing if I am on 2008 R2?

    I've now got an 8.1 virtual PC on the domain, patched and installed the RSAT tools....

    Wondering what the next step is...

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    robjduk's Avatar
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    I seem to remember you can put upto Windows 8 ADMX files into 2008R2 however 8.1 just spat them out so I suggest 2012R2 DC's (lots of other benefits too. Happy with our new DC's). May be worth doing that with an older and plain non 8.1 version of 8 but from memory I don't think there is too much to get excited about in there unless you are aiming for "under the bonnet" improvements.

    In my opinion the main trick to Windows 8.1 is customising the start screen which is best done via GPO which you cant do because the DC's are holding you back. I have never really played with a DC enough to confidently tell you the best way but I would suggest replacing them with 2012R2 before you get more serious into 8 / 8.1 however if you are confident either upgrading them yourself or upgrading the sites schematics then go for it as customising the start screen via XML is the main group policy you will be gaining access too and although there are other ways, they aint pretty in my experience.

    As for the here and now, I would expect any Windows 7 policies you have aiming at your test machine will work however with regard to your original point of the domain account not showing... maybe check to see if there is an WMI filter on any group policy (doubtful but caught me out a while back. WMI filters on GPO's will be your best friend when testing 8 on a 7 network).

    Not sure if any of that makes sense as I am very full of coffee at the moment but hope so.

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    kennysarmy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robjduk View Post
    I seem to remember you can put upto Windows 8 ADMX files into 2008R2 however 8.1 just spat them out so I suggest 2012R2 DC's (lots of other benefits too. Happy with our new DC's). May be worth doing that with an older and plain non 8.1 version of 8 but from memory I don't think there is too much to get excited about in there unless you are aiming for "under the bonnet" improvements.

    In my opinion the main trick to Windows 8.1 is customising the start screen which is best done via GPO which you cant do because the DC's are holding you back. I have never really played with a DC enough to confidently tell you the best way but I would suggest replacing them with 2012R2 before you get more serious into 8 / 8.1 however if you are confident either upgrading them yourself or upgrading the sites schematics then go for it as customising the start screen via XML is the main group policy you will be gaining access too and although there are other ways, they aint pretty in my experience.

    As for the here and now, I would expect any Windows 7 policies you have aiming at your test machine will work however with regard to your original point of the domain account not showing... maybe check to see if there is an WMI filter on any group policy (doubtful but caught me out a while back. WMI filters on GPO's will be your best friend when testing 8 on a 7 network).

    Not sure if any of that makes sense as I am very full of coffee at the moment but hope so.
    A really useful reply - many thanks.

    2012 servers scheduled for install in the summer, so guess I may have to wait until then.

    I think the non showing domain account was me not running the Group Policy Management Tool as Administrator !

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    Quote Originally Posted by robjduk View Post
    In my opinion the main trick to Windows 8.1 is customising the start screen which is best done via GPO which you cant do because the DC's are holding you back. I have never really played with a DC enough to confidently tell you the best way but I would suggest replacing them with 2012R2 before you get more serious into 8 / 8.1 however if you are confident either upgrading them yourself or upgrading the sites schematics then go for it as customising the start screen via XML is the main group policy you will be gaining access too and although there are other ways, they aint pretty in my experience.
    We've just been through this ourselves. Moving to Server 2012 R2 domain controllers was easy - we simply set up a couple of new Server 2012 R2 machines, joined them to the domain, promoted them to domain controllers and retired the old ones. Our DCs also do DNS and DHCP, but nothing else - it was a couple of hours work, no problem. The tricky part seemed to come in getting Windows 8.1 to actually take any notice of the custom Start Screen. It turns out you need Windows 8.1 Enterprise, not merely Pro, to enable the custom network Start Screen feature.

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