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Looking for Laptop to run Windows Server 2012

Posted on 2016-09-14
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Last Modified: 2016-11-22
I'm looking for a laptop that can run Windows 2012 Server.  The limitation is that it has to be made by a US corporation.  I do know that Lenovo laptops have done so and I have seen the older question about it.  I have an older Lenovo Thinkpad where I've succeeded in installing Server 2012.  Unfortunately, I can not use Lenovo because it is a Chinese company. Yes, they're all made in China, but the distinction is the parent corporate entity is in China not the US.  It's not my limitation, but the customer's requirement.  He can't be persuaded otherwise.  I'm just trying to satisfy the customer.  Please don't tell me what I already know.

Here's the old question, but that doesn't solve my issues:  https://www.experts-exchange.com/questions/28197326/Laptop-that-is-compatible-with-Windows-Server-2012-and-Windows-Server-2008-R2.html

I'm specifically looking for anyone with experience running Windows 2012 Server on a current model laptop, preferably one that supports at 32 GB.  I know such companies don't officially support Windows Server on laptops, such as Dell, but some people have had luck with certain models by using Windows 8 or Windows 7 drivers.  Please let me know which models you've succeeded in doing so and which you definitely haven't or if there were specific driver issues that may not have worked.

I did find one company (Eurocom) based in Canada and the US, that officially sells a Windows Server 2012 laptop with a Xeon processor and 32 GB RAM and includes RAID, but I'm looking for others.  I've seen some old questions on other sites about older model Dells, but I need experience with newer, current models.
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Question by:serialband
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18 Comments
 
LVL 58

Expert Comment

by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 41798951
I have run it successfully on an HP. Any of the elite line should work. Surface Book works well as well. hP and Microsoft are both U.S. multinational corporations.
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Author Comment

by:serialband
ID: 41798955
I have run it successfully on an HP.

A current HP?  Which model?  Did you have driver issues?  Did all drivers work?
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Assisted Solution

by:Cliff Galiher
Cliff Galiher earned 500 total points
ID: 41798962
Technically it wasn't current which is why is didn't provide a model number. But it was an EliteBook 8640p. Which was replaced by a Surface Pro 3, then a Surface Pro 4, then a Surface Book, as my travel demo machine for conferences, etc. But I am *very* confident current elitebooks would work well as I still have a great relationship with HP. I just happen to bot carry their laptop for demos these days, so that didn't fit your specific request of personal experience and current model.
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Expert Comment

by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
ID: 41799100
Any laptop that can run Windows 8.1 can run windows server 2012R2. They will not be Server certified The only problem I've found is intel consumer NIC's that you have to modify the .inf files that won't run on a Server 0S.  Once the .inf file is modified they work like a charm.
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Accepted Solution

by:
serialband earned 0 total points
ID: 41799139
I really do want actual experience with a current model and the exact changes needed.  I need something that I can say, "buy this model because someone has attempted it recently and it works, but only this one (inconsequential) driver wasn't working correctly".  I wouldn't need Wifi, for example, if I was going to run it as a server.  I wouldn't need graphics working perfectly, as I would spend 99% of the time going through RDP.  I need something concrete, not just that you're confident that it will work because the older model worked.

I do understand that Server 2012 R12 should run on anything that can run Windows 8.1, but not all drivers are supported in all models.  That's why I hope to hear from someone that has done it.  I can't justify a purchase of a $2000-$3000 system on a possibility.

If there isn't one, I'm sticking with the Eurocom P5 Pro Laptop that I found.  They do officially support Server 2012, but I was hoping there was another one or something definitive that I can price out and support.  Unfortunately, I've had more experience with Thinkpads (IBM and Lenovo) than Dells or HPs, when installing Windows Server, so I do know that not all drivers work on all models.  Some needed some simple tweaks to fix, but I still wouldn't justify a purchase without knowing for certain, even if I was allowed to order Lenovo.
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Expert Comment

by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 41799196
I also mentioned Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book. Not sure why you ignored those.
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Author Comment

by:serialband
ID: 41799731
Have you actually run Server 2012 on Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book?  It wasn't clear in your previous post.
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Expert Comment

by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 41800245
Yes, absolutely. I rotate out my "demo" machine every 6 months or so that I travel and present with at conferences, and that list includes all the ones I have used over the last two years. And yes, I run Server 2012 R2 to educate and demo things like storage spaces, Hyper-V, RDS, and more. With Surface devices rumored to be out to 2017, there may be a new HP in my October/November future.
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Author Comment

by:serialband
ID: 41800314
Ok, were there any driver issues on them.
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Expert Comment

by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 41800328
Nope.
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Author Comment

by:serialband
ID: 41800336
What about Ethernet?  Did you test a dongle?
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Expert Comment

by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 41800343
I currently use the Microsoft gigabit adapter.
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LVL 29

Author Comment

by:serialband
ID: 41803465
I was hoping to get more input, but it looks like nobody answering this, so far, has tried this yet on a more recent Dell or HP models.  While the Surface is a possible alternative, it's only 16 GB.  I generally give some of my servers more RAM so that they will never have to SWAP and I can then turn off swap completely, and never have the system slow down.  I'll have to see if I can manage with just 16 GB before I consider closing the question.  I will also wait a few more days to see if anyone else might answer.  Thanks for your patience.
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Expert Comment

by:olko best
ID: 41821142
You can try run on refurbished notebook - it's have older hardware and finding drivers may be some easier. But I'm recommend  try this laptop - http://netbookreview.net/shop/laptops/apple-laptop/dell-precision-m7510-i7-6820hq-3-6ghz-quadro-m1000m-2gb-16gb-2133mhz-fhd-1080p-512gb-ssd-nt0011/
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Author Comment

by:serialband
ID: 41825601
It's running a server, I don't want a refurb for production.  Have you tried installing Windows server 2012 on that newer Dell?
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Author Closing Comment

by:serialband
ID: 41841645
Nobody provided the full solution I was looking for.  I found only one solution that fit my exact needs.
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