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What is a Windows Server

What is a Windows server? Windows Server refers to a line of operating systems created by Microsoft to be used explicitly on servers.

12 May, 22 by Susith Nonis 7 min Read

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Windows Server refers to a line of operating systems created by Microsoft to be used explicitly on servers. A server is a very powerful machine designed to work constantly and provide the necessary resources to other computers. What is a Windows server? These servers can generally provide server-focused services, including website hosting, user management, messaging, security, authorization, and resource management. For this reason, Windows Server is almost exclusively for businesses. 

Microsoft has been publishing Windows Server under its company since April 2003 when they launched Windows Server 2003. It is worth noting that even before this, server versions of Windows already existed. An example is Windows NT 4.0, which performs server and general use purposes. 

For the most part, as an everyday user, you needn't worry about Windows Server as you are unlikely to accidentally download it when trying to get the standard Windows version. You won't find it on your tech store's shelves either because what's available are the consumer-facing Windows editions. It is still essential to learn about them and be aware of their existence.

Microsoft publishes an entire line of Windows Server for its OS. Some of them are:

  • Windows Server 2022 (soon to be released)
  • Windows Server 2019
  • Windows Server 2016
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2008
  • Windows Server 2008 R2

Some people may mistakenly interchange the regular Windows operating system with Windows Server. Although these two are different, they share some similarities. Below are some common similarities and differences between these two.

Windows Server and Windows correspond during releases. Due to this, they share some similarities, mainly because both operating systems have an identical codebase. These similarities are:

  • Both OSs appear the same when being used on a desktop.
  • Whether using Windows or Windows Server, you'll have the same icons, start button, and taskbar.
  • You can perform several similar functions on both OSs because they allow users to install most of the same programs and software.

Initially, The Windows Server and Windows operating systems appear almost identical. However, they are significantly different than they are similar. The following is an in-depth look into some of the differences between Windows Server and Windows.

1.   GUI requirement

To run Windows 10, you must have GUI, a graphical user interface, as it allows you to navigate the OS. With Windows Server, the case is different. It is not compulsory to use GUI with the latter, but you can if you want to. There are two ways to install a graphical user interface on Windows Server. You can either have it in the form of Desktop Experience or Server Core.

Unlike its counterpart, Windows Server lets you install only the server roles you need to utilize. This flexibility allows users to manage their operations how they deem most suitable, reducing their footprint. In case you choose to operate your Windows Server in the absence of a GUI, you can manage your OS remotely using Windows PowerShell from the command line. You could also utilize tools like Windows Admit Center.

2.   Cost

Because Windows Server is primarily used for business reasons, its operating system is glaringly more expensive than the standard Windows 10. The price ranges depending on which edition you want.

3.   Windows Server has server-specific tools

Because Windows Server's OS is made for servers, it features software and tools that you won't find on Windows 10. Software such as Windows Command Prompt and Windows PowerShell comes pre-installed into this OS. They allow you to run your operations remotely. Furthermore, Windows Server supports various business-friendly software exclusively designed for servers, for example, DHCP.

Although some of the mentioned tools can also be used on the regular Windows, third-party software may be necessary. In contrast, the Windows Server does not have some exciting features found in Windows 10. The main reason behind this is that this software is primarily for organizational use. Therefore, you shouldn't expect to come across tools such as Microsoft Store, Cortana, or Edge.

4.   Power

Windows Server is an organization-level product, so it possesses more powerful hardware to support a broader network. While Windows 10 Pro offers 2TB of RAM, which most regular users wouldn't even use up on personal machines, Windows Server provides a maximum RAM of 24TB.

Compared to Windows 10's10's two sockets, Windows Server has 64 CPU sockets meaning that its hardware can support more processors and cores.

5.   Connection limit

Windows 10's connection limit is 20 devices which is not an issue if you use it for your small business or commercially at home. However, this can prove problematic for users that intend to use Windows on a larger scale. On the other hand, Windows Server virtually has unlimited connections, which is ideal for any organization regardless of size.

1. What is the purpose of a Windows Server?

Windows Server OSs are intended to share server-related services with multiple users and avail extensive administrative control of corporate networks, data storage, and applications.

2. How can I locate my Windows Server?

To find your server, first, select "PC and devices." Next, click on "PC info." Right under Windows, check your PC's Windows version and edition. Under PC, look for "System type," where you'll be able to determine whether your desktop is running on the Windows 64-bit or 32-bit version.

3. Is a server the same as a computer?

No, a server is different from a computer because it is a different kind of computer. By definition, a server is a machine that processes requests from other computers that are all plugged into one system. This is the primary difference between a standard computer and a server machine.

4. What is the latest Windows Server OS version?

That is the Windows Server 2019 by Microsoft. 

5. Can users install Windows Server on their desktops?

While you can install this server on your desktop, it is not wise. Typically, servers run 24/7, while in contrast, your desktop/laptop shouldn't. Therefore, it would be better to custom fit your PC with a quality Server HDD.

Some people are not very enthusiastic about getting the latest software versions, especially since newly-released applications tend to be unstable. Because Windows Server provides 10-year support with every software purchase, it wouldn't be sustainable nor necessary to purchase the latest version every time it is released. Microsoft Windows Server is a good server, and your current version should be able to meet your business needs. 

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Susith Nonis

I'm fascinated by the IT world and how the 1's and 0's work. While I veture into the world of Technology I try to share what I know in the simplest way possible. Not a fan of coffee, a sweet addict and a self accredited 'master chef'.