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Windows Server 2008

Windows Server 2008
A version of the Windows NT operating system
Screenshot of Windows Server 2008
Developer Microsoft
Source model Closed source / Shared source
Released to
February 4, 2008 (February 4, 2008)
February 27, 2008 (February 27, 2008)[1]
Latest release 6.0 (Build 6002: Service Pack 2) / July 22, 2009; 11 years ago (2009-07-22)[2]
Update method Windows Update, Windows Server Update Services, SCCM
Platforms IA-32, x86-64, Itanium
Kernel type Hybrid
License Proprietary commercial software
Preceded by Windows Server 2003 (2003)
Succeeded by Windows Server 2008 R2 (2009)
Official website
Support status
Mainstream support ended on 13 January 2015.[3]
Extended support ends on 14 January 2020.
Articles in the series

Windows Server 2008 (sometimes abbreviated as "Win2K8"[4] or "W2K8") is one of Microsoft Windows' server line of operating systems. Released to manufacturing on February 4, 2008, and officially released on February 27, 2008, it is the successor to Windows Server 2003, released nearly five years earlier. A second release, named Windows Server 2008 R2, was released to manufacturing on July 22, 2009.[5]


Originally known as Windows Server Codename "Longhorn", Microsoft chairman Bill Gates announced its official title (Windows Server 2008) during his keynote address at WinHEC 16 May 2007.[6]

Beta 1 was released on 27 July 2005, Beta 2 was announced and released on 23 May 2006 at WinHEC 2006 and Beta 3 was released publicly on 25 April 2007.[7] Release Candidate 0 was released to the general public on 24 September 2007[8] and Release Candidate 1 was released to the general public on 5 December 2007. Windows Server 2008 was released to manufacturing on 4 February 2008 and officially launched on 27 February 2008.[9]


Windows Server 2008 is built from the same code base as Windows Vista; therefore, it shares much of the same architecture and functionality. Since the code base is common, it automatically comes with most of the technical, security, management and administrative features new to Windows Vista such as the rewritten networking stack (native IPv6, native wireless, speed and security improvements); improved image-based installation, deployment and recovery; improved diagnostics, monitoring, event logging and reporting tools; new security features such as BitLocker and ASLR (address space layout randomization); improved Windows Firewall with secure default configuration; .NET Framework 3.0 technologies, specifically Windows Communication Foundation, Microsoft Message Queuing and Windows Workflow Foundation; and the core kernel, memory and file system improvements. Processors and memory devices are modeled as Plug and Play devices, to allow hot-plugging of these devices. This allows the system resources to be partitioned dynamically using Dynamic Hardware Partitioning; each partition has its own memory, processor and I/O host bridge devices independent of other partitions.[10]

Server Core

File:Windows 2008 Server Core.png
Default user interface for Server Core. Because Windows Explorer is removed from Server Core, programs such as Notepad use the Windows NT 3.x-style file dialog.

Windows Server 2008 includes a variation of installation called Server Core. Server Core is a significantly scaled-back installation where no Windows Explorer shell is installed. All configuration and maintenance is done entirely through command-line interface windows, or by connecting to the machine remotely using Microsoft Management Console. However, Notepad and some control panel applets, such as Regional Settings, are available.

Server Core does not include the .NET Framework, Internet Explorer, Windows PowerShell or many other features not related to core server features. A Server Core machine can be configured for several basic roles: Domain controller/Active Directory Domain Services, ADLDS (ADAM), DNS Server, DHCP server, file server, print server, Windows Media Server, IIS 7 web server and Hyper-V virtual server. Server Core can also be used to create a cluster with high availability using failover clustering or network load balancing.

Andrew Mason, a program manager on the Windows Server team, noted that a primary motivation for producing a Server Core variant of Windows Server 2008 was to reduce the attack surface of the operating system, and that about 70% of the security vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows from the prior five years would not have affected Server Core.[11]

Active Directory roles

Active Directory roles are expanded with identity, certificate, and rights management services. Active Directory, until Windows Server 2003, allowed network administrators to centrally manage connected computers, to set policies for groups of users, and to centrally deploy new applications to multiple computers. This role of Active Directory is being renamed as Active Directory Domain Services (ADDS).[12] A number of other additional services are being introduced, including Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS), Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS), (formerly Active Directory Application Mode, or ADAM), Active Directory Certificate Services (ADCS), and Active Directory Rights Management Services (ADRMS). Identity and certificate services allow administrators to manage user accounts and the digital certificates that allow them to access certain services and systems. Federation management services enable enterprises to share credentials with trusted partners and customers, allowing a consultant to use his company user name and password to log in on a client's network. Identity Integration Feature Pack is included as Active Directory Metadirectory Services. Each of these services represents a server role.

Failover Clustering

Main article: Failover Clustering

Windows Server 2008 offers high-availability to services and applications through Failover Clustering. Most server features and roles can be kept running with little to no downtime.

In Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2, the way clusters are qualified changed significantly with the introduction of the cluster validation wizard.[13] The cluster validation wizard is a feature that is integrated into failover clustering in Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2. With the cluster validation wizard, an administrator can run a set of focused tests on a collection of servers that are intended to use as nodes in a cluster. This cluster validation process tests the underlying hardware and software directly, and individually, to obtain an accurate assessment of how well failover clustering can be supported on a given configuration.

Note: This feature is only available in Enterprise and Datacenter editions of Windows Server.

Self-healing NTFS

In Windows versions prior to Windows Vista, if the operating system detected corruption in the file system of an NTFS volume, it marked the volume "dirty"; to correct errors on the volume, it had to be taken offline. With self-healing NTFS, an NTFS worker thread is spawned in the background which performs a localized fix-up of damaged data structures, with only the corrupted files/folders remaining unavailable without locking out the entire volume and needing the server to be taken down. The operating system now features S.M.A.R.T. detection techniques to help determine when a hard disk may fail.[14]


File:Viridian Architecture.svg
Hyper-V architecture
Main article: Hyper-V

Hyper-V is hypervisor-based virtualization software, forming a core part of Microsoft's virtualization strategy. It virtualizes servers on an operating system's kernel layer. It can be thought of as partitioning a single physical server into multiple small computational partitions. Hyper-V includes the ability to act as a Xen virtualization hypervisor host allowing Xen-enabled guest operating systems to run virtualized.[15] A beta version of Hyper-V shipped with certain x86-64 editions of Windows Server 2008, prior to Microsoft's release of the final version of Hyper-V on 26 June 2008 as a free download. Also, a standalone version of Hyper-V exists; this version supports only x86-64 architecture.[16] While the IA-32 editions of Windows Server 2008 cannot run or install Hyper-V, they can run the MMC snap-in for managing Hyper-V.

Windows System Resource Manager

Windows System Resource Manager (WSRM) is integrated into Windows Server 2008. It provides resource management and can be used to control the amount of resources a process or a user can use based on business priorities. Process Matching Criteria, which is defined by the name, type or owner of the process, enforces restrictions on the resource usage by a process that matches the criteria. CPU time, bandwidth that it can use, number of processors it can be run on, and allocated to a process can be restricted. Restrictions can be set to be imposed only on certain dates as well.

Server Manager

Server Manager is a new roles-based management tool for Windows Server 2008.[17] It is a combination of Manage Your Server and Security Configuration Wizard SCW from Windows Server 2003. Server Manager is an improvement of the Configure my server dialog that launches by default on Windows Server 2003 machines. However, rather than serve only as a starting point to configuring new roles, Server Manager gathers together all of the operations users would want to conduct on the server, such as, getting a remote deployment method set up, adding more server roles etc., and provides a consolidated, portal-like view about the status of each role.[18]

Other features

Other new or enhanced features include:

Core OS improvements

  • Fully multi-componentized operating system.
  • Improved hot patching, a feature that allows non-kernel patches to occur without the need for a reboot.
  • Support for being booted from Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI)-compliant firmware on x86-64 systems.
  • Dynamic Hardware Partitioning
    • Support for the hot-addition or replacement of processors and memory, on capable hardware.

Active Directory improvements

  • Read-only domain controllers (RODCs) in Active Directory, intended for use in branch office or other scenarios where a domain controller may reside in a low physical security environment. The RODC holds a non-writeable copy of Active Directory, and redirects all write attempts to a Full Domain Controller. It replicates all accounts except sensitive ones.[citation needed][clarification needed] In RODC mode, credentials are not cached by default. Moreover, only the replication partner of the RODC needs to run Windows Server 2008.[clarification needed] Also, local administrators can log on to the machine to perform maintenance tasks without requiring administrative rights on the domain.[citation needed]
  • Restartable Active Directory allows ADDS to be stopped and restarted from the Management Console or the command-line without rebooting the domain controller. This reduces downtime for offline operations and reduces overall DC servicing requirements with Server Core. ADDS is implemented as a Domain Controller Service in Windows Server 2008.

Policy related improvements

  • All of the Group Policy improvements from Windows Vista are included. Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) is built-in. The Group Policy objects are indexed for search and can be commented on.[19]
  • Policy-based networking with Network Access Protection, improved branch management and enhanced end user collaboration. Policies can be created to ensure greater Quality of Service for certain applications or services that require prioritization of network bandwidth between client and server.
  • Granular password settings within a single domain - ability to implement different password policies for administrative accounts on a "group" and "user" basis, instead of a single set of password settings to the whole domain.

Disk management and file storage improvements

  • The ability to resize hard disk partitions without stopping the server, even the system partition. This applies only to simple and spanned volumes, not to striped volumes.
  • Shadow Copy based block-level backup which supports optical media, network shares and Windows Recovery Environment.
  • DFS enhancements - SYSVOL on DFS-R, Read-only Folder Replication Member. There is also support for domain-based DFS namespaces that exceed the previous size recommendation of 5,000 folders with targets in a namespace.[20]
  • Several improvements to Failover Clustering (High-availability clusters).[21]
  • Internet Storage Naming Server (iSNS) enables central registration, deregistration and queries for iSCSI hard drives.

Protocol and cryptography improvements

Miscellaneous improvements

Removed features


Compared to its predecessor, most editions of Windows Server 2008 are available in x86-64 and IA-32 versions. These editions come in two DVDs: One for installing the IA-32 variant and the other for x64. Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems supports IA-64 processors. Microsoft has optimized the IA-64 version for high-workload scenarios like database servers and Line of Business (LOB) applications. As such, it is not optimized for use as a file server or media server. Microsoft has announced that Windows Server 2008 is the last 32-bit Windows server operating system.[28] Editions of Windows Server 2008 include:[29]

Microsoft DreamSpark program provides verified students with the 32-bit variant of Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition.

The Server Core feature is available in the Web, Standard, Enterprise and Datacenter editions.

Service Pack

Microsoft occasionally releases service packs for its Windows operating systems to fix bugs and also add new features.

Because Windows Server 2008 is based on the Windows NT 6.0 Service Pack 1 kernel, the RTM release is considered to be Service Pack 1; accordingly, the first service pack is called Service Pack 2. Announced on October 24, 2008,[33] this service pack contains the same changes and improvements as the Windows Vista Service Pack 2, as well as the final release of Hyper-V 1.0, and an approximate 10% reduction in power usage.

The first SP2 beta build was sent out in October 2008, a public beta arrived in December 2008, and an RC-escrow build was given to testers in January 2009. Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 share a single service pack binary, reflecting the fact that their code bases were joined with the release of Server 2008. On May 26, 2009, Service Pack 2 was ready for release. It is now available in Windows Update.

Windows Server 2008 R2

A second release, Windows Server 2008 R2, was released on October 22, 2009.[34] Retail availability began September 14, 2009.[35] Windows Server 2008 R2 reached the RTM milestone on July 22, 2009.[36] Like Windows 7, it is built on Windows NT 6.1. New features include new virtualization features, new Active Directory features, IIS 7.5, and support for 256 logical processors. Support for 32-bit-only processors (IA-32) has been removed. On July 22, 2009, Microsoft officially announced that they had released both Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 to manufacturing. Windows Server 2008 R2 was generally available for download from MSDN and Technet on August 19 and for retail purchase from October 22, 2009.

System requirements

System requirements for Windows Server 2008 are as follows:

Criteria 2008 2008 R2
Minimum[37] Recommended[37] Minimum[38] Recommended[38]
  • 1 GHz (IA-32)
  • 1.4 GHz (x86-64 or Itanium)
2 GHz 1.4 GHz (x86-64 or Itanium) 2 GHz
RAM 512 MB 2 GB 512 MB ?
  • Other editions, 32-bit: 20 GB
  • Other editions, 64-bit: 32 GB
  • Foundation: 10 GB[39]
40 GB
  • Foundation: 10 GB
  • Other editions: 32 GB
  • Foundation: 10 GB
  • Other editions: 32 GB
Devices DVD drive, 800 × 600 display, keyboard and mouse


Windows Server 2008 supports the following maximum hardware specifications:[40][41][42]

Specification Windows Server 2008 SP2 Windows Server 2008 R2
Physical processors
  • Standard: 4
  • Enterprise: 8
  • Datacenter: 32
  • Standard: 4
  • Enterprise: 8
  • Datacenter: 64
Logical processors
when Hyper-V is disabled[41]
Logical processors
when Hyper-V is enabled[41]
on IA-32[42]
  • Standard, Web: 4 GB
  • Enterprise, Datacenter: 64 GB
on x64[42]
  • Standard, Web: 32 GB
  • HPC: 128 GB
  • Enterprise, Datacenter: 1 TB
  • Foundation: 8 GB
  • Standard, Web: 32 GB
  • HPC: 128 GB
  • Enterprise, Datacenter: 2 TB
on Itanium[42]
2 TB 2 TB

See also


  1. ^ Computers with more than 16 GB of RAM require more disk space for paging, hibernation, and dump files[38]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Microsoft. "Windows Server 2008 Lifecycle Policy". Microsoft. Retrieved 2012-09-25. 
  4. ^ Crowley, Matthew (2010). Pro Internet Explorer 8 & 9 Development: Developing Powerful Applications for the Next Generation of IE. Apress. p. 28. ISBN 978-1-4302-2853-0. On XP SP3, Vista SP1+, Win2K8, Windows 7, and Win2K8R2, IE opts onto DEP/NX by default 
  5. ^ Rist, Oliver (22 July 2009). "Windows Server 2008 R2 Reaches the RTM Milestone!". Windows Server Blog. Microsoft. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  6. ^ Miller, Michael J. (2007-05-15). "Gates at WinHec 2007: Windows Server 2008, Rally, Home Server and More". Forward Thinking. Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  7. ^ Lowe, David (2007-04-25). "Beta 3 is Go!". Windows Server Division WebLog. Microsoft. Retrieved 2007-04-25. 
  8. ^ Ralston, Ward (2007-09-24). "Windows Server 2008 Rc0 Released!". Windows Server Division WebLog. Microsoft. Retrieved 2007-09-24. 
  9. ^ Nate Mook. "New Windows Server, Visual Studio, SQL Server to Launch in February". BetaNews. Retrieved 2007-07-11.  It is also commonly referred to as Vista Server
  10. ^ "Dynamic Hardware Partitioning Architecture". MSDN. Retrieved 2007-07-23. 
  11. ^ "Iain McDonald and Andrew Mason show off the new Windows Server OS". Channel 9. Microsoft. May 24, 2006. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 18:55 
  12. ^ Hynes, Byron (November 2006). "The Future of Windows: Directory Services in Windows Server 2008". TechNet Magazine. Retrieved 2007-05-02. 
  13. ^ "Failover Cluster Validation Error 80070005 on Windows Server 2008 R2 x64". Capitalhead. 2009-11-04. Retrieved 2013-10-28. 
  14. ^ Loveall, John (2006). "Storage improvements in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008" (POWERPOINT). Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  15. ^ "Benchmarking Hyper-V on Windows Server 2008 R2 x64". Benchmarking Hyper-V on Windows Server 2008 R2 x64. 2010-01-20. Retrieved 2010-01-28. 
  16. ^ "Microsoft Extends Virtualization Strategy, Outlines Product Road Map". Microsoft. 2006-05-22. Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  17. ^ "Server Manager". Windows Server 2008 Technical Library. Microsoft TechNet. 2007-06-25. Retrieved 2007-05-02. 
  18. ^ "Unexpected error refreshing Server Manager-0x800706BE and 1601 on Window Server 2008 R2". Unexpected error refreshing Server Manager-0x800706BE and 1601 on Window Server 2008 R2. Retrieved 2010-11-05. 
  19. ^ Ward, Keith (2007-10-08). "Top 10 Overlooked Windows Server 2008 Features, Part 2". Redmond Developer News. Archived from the original on 2014-10-10. Retrieved 2014-10-10. 
  20. ^ Zoeller, Jill (26 July 2007). "New in Windows Server 2008: Breaking the 5K Folder “Barrier” in Domain-Based Namespaces". The Storage Team at Microsoft - File Cabinet Blog. Microsoft. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  21. ^ "Failover Clustering with Windows Server 2008 including". Microsoft. 2007-01-17. Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  22. ^ "Multicasting OS deployments with Windows Server 2008". Kevinsul's Management Blog. Microsoft. 29 August 2007. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  23. ^ a b "Removed technologies in Routing and Remote Access in Windows Server 2008". TechNet. Microsoft. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  24. ^ "Windows Server Backup Step-by-Step Guide for Windows Server 2008". TechNet. Microsoft. 17 January 2013. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  25. ^ "Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 2 available in Q3 2009". The Exchange Team Blog. 11 May 2009. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  26. ^ Bilic, Nino (18 June 2008). "To Backup or Not to Backup? Yes! To backup!!". The Exchange Team Blog. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  27. ^ "IIS 7.0 Protocols". TechNet. Microsoft. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  28. ^ Heaton, Alex (2007-05-18). "On 64-bit and Windows Client". Windows Vista Team Blog. Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  29. ^ "Windows Server 2008 Product Editions". Microsoft. 2007-04-25. Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  30. ^ Ligman, Eric (7 November 2007). "Announcing Windows Essential Business Server". Microsoft Small Business Blog. Microsoft. Retrieved 2013-08-16. 
  31. ^ "Windows Essential Business Server 2008". 2010-12-31. Retrieved 2013-01-09. 
  32. ^ "Windows Server 2008 Foundation: An Entry-Level Server Platform". Petri IT Knowledgebase. 2009-04-17. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  33. ^ Justin Graham (October 24, 2008). "Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 beta". Microsoft. Retrieved 2008-10-29. 
  34. ^ "Windows Server 2008 R2: Getting Started". Microsoft. Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  35. ^ "When to expect Windows Server 2008 R2 RTM - Windows Server Blog - Site Home - TechNet Blogs". 2009-07-22. Retrieved 2013-01-09. 
  36. ^ "Windows Server 2008 R2 Reaches the RTM Milestone! - Windows Server Blog - Site Home - TechNet Blogs". 2009-07-22. Retrieved 2013-01-09. 
  37. ^ a b "Windows Server 2008 System Requirements". 31 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-31. 
  38. ^ a b c "Microsoft Windows Server 2008 System Requirements". Retrieved 2013-01-09. 
  39. ^ "Microsoft Windows Server 2008 System Requirements". Microsoft. Retrieved 2013-01-09. 
  40. ^ Savill, John (October 28, 2011). "Q: What are Windows Server 8's Scalability Numbers?". Windows IT Pro. Penton Media. Retrieved November 5, 2011. 
  41. ^ a b c d Seldam, Matthijs ten (October 13, 2012). "Windows Server - Sockets, Logical Processors, Symmetric Multi Threading". Matthijs's blog. Microsoft. Retrieved October 14, 2012. 
  42. ^ a b c d "Memory Limits for Windows and Windows Server Releases". MSDN. Microsoft. Retrieved 13 April 2014. 

Further reading


External links

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