Can I Operate a "Headless" System?

raotor

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Nov 3, 2007
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Hello,

I have an old PC that I might migrate the motherboard, CPU etc into from my current machine as I decide upon components for my next build.

What I was thinking about was how viable a "headless" system might be and whether Windows 7 would even allow a PC without attached monitor and keyboard etc to boot.

Ideally I am looking to have my old PC running in some corner without monitor etc and have my current system have full access via a remote desktop of some sort such that I can use the old machine as if I were accessing it the usual way.

I am not familiar with Windows 7 so there may already be a suitable solution but any guidance as to if and how to achieve what I'm looking to do would be much appreciated.
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator


Sure you can. That is mostly what my house server/HTPC is.
There is a monitor and TV connected, but usually not 'on'. I manage it from my main PC with TeamViewer.

With regular Windows 7, it only allows one user to be logged on. RDC would be two users. There is a workaround, but that is unsupported by MS.
TeamViewer does just as well.

Obviously you need a monitor for the initial installation. But after that, disconnect it.
 

raotor

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Nov 3, 2007
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Is TeamViewer specific to Windows 7? i. e a pre-installed utility or a generic utility downloadable from MS. Would you know if I can remotely access an XP system with it?

In addition, does TeamViewer allow shut down of the headless machine. I'm wondering what limitations to what you can do on the remote system there might be.

You mention you have a monitor and TV attached but not always on. However, I'm concerned that Windows will not boot correctly if no monitor is detected during boot.


 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator


It will boot with no monitor.
TeamViewer is not specific to Win 7, it is a standalone product. http://www.teamviewer.com/en/index.aspx
It opens the other PC in a window, and you can interact with it just like sitting at the PC. Shutdown, reboot, move files around....just like sitting there.

The blue window here is my 'other PC'. Windows 7, being used/managed from a Win 8.1 main PC


This NOT good for games, as there is a bit of lag associated with the actual connection. But for a box used for backups, central file storage, etc? It works great. And free for home use.
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
This is what happens with no monitor or TV connected.
(I just shutdown, disconnected all displays, and rebooted)

TeamViewer on the main PC shows this, once the other PC finishes booting


Select a user, and log in as normal.