Windows Server 2016 as a home PC operating system with no server functionality - is it possible?


Oct 16, 2014
I'm typing this on a 6th gen i7 6870HQ laptop, 16 GB ram, 4GB GTX 950M, 1TB HDD, and 250GB SSD.
It's running Windows 10 (home, not Pro).
The minimum system requirements for Windows Server 2016 is exceeded by this computer, but I have a couple of questions:-

1> Where will I get the drivers from? If I go to the support page for my laptop (, the only drivers available are for Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, not even Windows 7 is "officially supported", leave alone Server editions. Will Windows 10 drivers work with Windows Server 2016?

2> This is of course not a real server - it's a pure home computer. Is it possible to disable/ turn off all the server features and use it like a normal client edition of Windows?

3> Application compatibility: are normal applications like Photoshop, After Effects, Illustrator, etc, compatible with Windows Server 2016?

Thank you.

PS: please don't ask why I want to do this or where will I get a working copy of Windows Server 2016 from- these are beyond the scope of my question. Please answer the questions I asked if you can. Thanks again.


WinServer 2016 can indeed be used as a regular desktop OS.
You have to enable and disable certain things, but sure.

I used to use Server 2003 and 2008 as a regular desktop.

Server 2016 is, right now, in the process of becoming the OS for my HTPC. Right now, as in already installed, awaiting drive transfer from the old system and application installs.

It will run anything Win 10 can, drivers included.


Mar 26, 2002
Meh... you could do it but server os's make crappy User OS's. Server roles are optional to install and unless the application specifically looks to see if you're running on a server os they will likely run. However... you will probably run into a lot of apps that WILL check and will refuse to run. Also, there are a number of features that are of no value for non-server use, and a number of non-server features that will be missing and possibly missed. You'll have to jump through hoops to do some things that are easy to do on user OS's. So if the idea is to try something different then go for it... but you likely will waste a lot of time and not be happy with the result.
Leaving the question "Why" aside, as asked: Once upon a time, someone said that WinServer 2008 is "superior" for gaming than Windows 7, and there were many guides how to "desktopify" the Server, with primary goal "How to enable DirectX".

Having such a beefy laptop - make it dual-boot with the Server (cut off a partition, get 180-day evaluation copy from Microsoft, perform custom installation), and see how it works.


Jul 19, 2017

Hi, I have identical issue like author of this thread, can You tell me which things i must disable and enable and how to do it ? Preferably in "... for dummies" way, because im not so experienced in advanced using of computer ;)



I actually abandoned that Server2016 path for my HTPC/house server.
I got a small NAS box that does all that and more.


Nov 6, 2017
Yes, it is possible to install & use WS2016 on a laptop and use like a normal server OS.I have not used any Windows Client on my laptop since Windows Vista.Ws2008, 2008R2, 2012, 2012R2 & now WS2016.

I am writing this from my laptop with WS2016, Core i3 6th Gen 6006U, 4 GB 2400 Mhz Ram, 1 TB HDD, Intel HD 520 + AMD Radeon R5 m430 2GB Graphics card. I also have WavesMaxx Audio working on server without issues.

I got all the drivers for WIn 10 x64 and all of them worked without any issues or prompts on WS2016.

You will need to install Server Desktop version, so that u can hav a GUI.
You will need to go to Server Manager and enable Wireless LAN (feature) & .NET 2.0 & 3.0
This will give you the basic minimum functionality for daily use.

I have played old games like Call of Duty 2003, Call of Duty 2 2005, Call of Duty 4 2007, Unreal Tournament 2004, Need for Speed Most Wanted (2005), Brother In Arms (2005), Farcry 3, Crysis 2, Crysis 3, Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition 2011, battlefield 3 etc.etc. and the all work without issues on WS2016.

Advantages of using any Windows Server - you need to add roles and features so having or not having a feature is purely your choice. Win 10 has Cortana and loads of other stuff, which probably many of us might not be using in daily lives. Server is as speedy as Win 10 but without its bells and whistles, which is the best part for me. My RAM usage after bootup is about 1.1 -1.2 Gb which is the same amount used by Android on my 2GB RAM phone.

I want a simple, rock soild OS with just a basic UI , features and good speed, which WIn Server 2016 provides.

There can be some program compatibility issues, but till now I have faced none. You cud install WS2016 in VM and then try installing the Adobe Software u have listed, if it works, gud for you.

Have fun having a WS2016 OS.

Please go to this website: for more details
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