Tips for setting up a computer as a server without a monitor

In order to set up a computer as a server, some trivial tips should be considered so that you are not at hand, especially if the server is away from you at the time you need it most.

Home computers can be used as a server, but they are usually configured to be practical for the user who is always present with a monitor, keyboard and mouse, but when we decide to remove the monitor and keyboard, and leave only the power and the network cable, some trivial things stop working, just because it was prepared for home users.

A common computer, which is not a real server, was made to stay connected only as long as there is a user using it, already a server, it was made to be operational automatically, without any user operating it, serving some resource, service, monitoring, among other functions.

An ordinary computer goes into standby, does not turn on alone in the absence of electricity, turns off after an idle time, and if it disconnects incorrectly, enters the Windows recovery screen and does not come out of it at all.

In some cases there are also computers that in the absence of a keyboard, it is necessary to press F1 to continue, but at least on newer computers, it only issues the warning, without having to type anything - which is obvious for a machine without a keyboard.

Here are some tips for setting up a common computer as a server and avoiding future problems:

Electrical Faults - BIOS

By default, desktop computers for residential use are configured to remain powered off in the event of a power outage. It is possible to change the BIOS configuration so that it returns to the last state it was in, or always turns on.

There is usually a pattern: "Restore on AC power loss", with options: "Always" - always turn on when the power returns; "Power Off" - always turn off and "Last State" - if the computer was on at the time of the fall, turn it on again, otherwise, keep it off.

See some images of various BIOS versions:

Electrical Failures - Automatic Windows Boot Recovery Screen

After BIOS settings, Windows also initiates boot recovery, which keeps trying to boot, but hangs on the screen with no option to return to the system, and if you don't have an easy monitor and keyboard in hand, your computer will never boot alone.

You can disable the automated windows startup recovery feature using the following commands:

Disable startup recovery:
bcdedit / set {default} bootstatuspolicy ignoreallfailures

Reactivate boot recovery:
bcdedit / set {default} bootstatuspolicy displayallfailures

Windows Power Settings

By default in Windows versions for users, power control is always optimized for energy savings, making the computer turn off the monitor, hard drives, and other features according to idle time, as well as reducing the processing frequency of the computer. CPU.

Remote Access - RDP

To access a machine remotely, you need to have an administrator user with a password, and enable it in the advanced settings. By default, administrators already have access to remote desktop when enabled.

Windows Firewall

As much as you have enabled the necessary features, and created passwords, if there are any changes to the network, such as changing the router, IP address, or IP range delivered by DHCP, Windows Firewall will always mark the new network as a network " Public ", and configured services and remote access will be blocked.

Create a rule for all types of networks with the necessary items. Here are some ports:
3389 - Remote access via RDP (The explained above)
80 - Web Interface (IIS - Web Server)
3128 - Proxy (Squid - Internet filter)
1433 - SQL Server (Database)
5432 - PostgreSQL (Database)
3306 - MySQL (Database)

Final considerations

It is important to remember that this tutorial is to configure a machine to work as a server, even if it is not a real server. A computer that has server hardware, has more robust hardware that guarantees functionality 24 hours, 365 days a year, working non-stop. For this reason servers have a much higher cost than ordinary computers. Consider using cutting-edge hardware for critical and important processes.

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