What is Microsoft Windows Server?

Servers are extremely powerful machines that are designed to run constantly and provide resources for other computers. Microsoft Windows Server is Microsoft’s server operating system designed primarily for the Windows computing environment.

You may have been using Windows computers for a long time but you will be surprised to know that you are only using the Windows Consumer version there is another version of Windows which is Windows Server Edition, especially for enterprise use.

So Microsoft produces both versions simultaneously, there are both server and desktop versions of Windows available for use. While most of us mainly used the standard Desktop version, Server Editions are used by companies and enterprises for various needs.

A Server Operating System is a type of operating system designed to be installed and used on a server computer. A server operating system is an improved version of a general operating system designed for a client-server architecture or similar computing environment.

Here I discussed the Microsoft Windows Server 2019. Microsoft Windows 10 and Windows Server 19 look very similar but are designed for different purposes. While Windows 10 is designed to run common applications such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Photoshop on the other hand Windows Server 2019 is designed to manage multiple computers, files, and services.

Windows Server is generally capable of providing server-oriented services, such as the ability to host a website, user management, resource management across users and applications, messaging, security and authorization, and many more.

Difference between Standard and Server editions of Windows:

There may be many of you who have never heard of Windows Server before. First of all, what is Windows Server? Generally speaking, Windows Server is an operating system specially designed to manage servers and client computers. 

Although by name Windows Server may look like a normal Windows version there are differences. the server operating system is designed based on the consumer version of Windows but there is more discrepancy between the two versions.

Let’s see what the differences are. Windows Server contains enterprise management software. If the GUI or graphical user interface is enabled after you boot the Windows server, then the Server Manager program launches. This is the first difference between the two operating systems.

Many server-specific features can be added here such as Windows Deployment Services, DHCP Services, and Active Directory Domain Services. All of these features enable the server to control other operating systems remotely from other machines.

Windows Server supports better hardware, Windows Server 19 can support more powerful hardware than Windows 10. While Windows 10 can support a maximum of 2 terabytes of RAM, Windows Server supports up to 24 terabytes.

It also allows you to use up to 64 CPU sockets, which is much greater than the two sockets that Windows 10 Pro supports. Servers can serve hundreds of people in a business, so it often needs to be extremely powerful.

Windows Server does not pre-load any extra applications or utility software, and the server operating system is primarily used to provide a variety of services and to properly control other computers on the network.

Windows Server is designed specifically for enterprise users. It does not include the consumer features of Windows such as Cortana, Microsoft Store, Microsoft Edge Browser, timeline, etc. Many apps are pre-installed in Windows 10 but not on the server OS.

Windows Server is more expensive. If you have Windows 7, 8, and 10 keys then Windows 10 can be installed for free. Also, many websites sell Windows keys at very low prices but it is not easy to buy Windows Server 16 and 19 keys from anywhere at very low prices.

Since Windows Server is primarily designed for business, its license is much more expensive. Windows Server licenses can range from 500 to 6200 dollars depending on how you run your business or how many server computers you have. Windows Server is designed specifically for all types of business and is priced accordingly.

Because Windows Server and Windows share the same code base, you can perform many of the same functions on both. You can download and install programs like browsers and photo editors on Windows Server, and many Windows basics like Notepad are included in Windows Server.

A Brief History of the Microsoft Windows Server:

Back in 1993 when Microsoft first time started to bring the idea of a server operating system along with their usual Windows versions. On July 27, 1993, Microsoft released new technology specially designed for server and high-end multitasking environments. It had 32-bit multiple processor support and was created for higher security and stability.

There are two versions launched Windows NT, and Windows NT Server, designed to act as a server in networks, and  Windows NT Workstation for stand-alone or client workstations.

But due to the lack of hardware support and complexity developers are not interested to migrate their computers to NT, that’s why it creates a small impact on the market at that time.

With the launch of Windows server 2000, the first time Microsoft introduced some key server-specific tools and utilities along with the operating system like Active Directory, DNS Server, DHCP Server, Group Policy, as well as many other popular features.

Here Microsoft releases three different versions of Windows server 2000 for specific business needs a server, an Advanced server, and a data center server.

First, a full-fledged package of Windows Server editions was published under the name of Windows Server 2003 by Microsoft in April 2003.

Now the need for a server infrastructure increased so Microsoft started to launch multiple servers operating systems like Windows server 2003 small business, Web, Standard, Advanced, Datacenter, and Storage editions just like their general Windows OS.

The same tradition of launching multiple editions continue with the Windows server 2008 and 2012, until in 2016 Microsoft back to their old launching style and just launched the there versions of Windows Server 2016 essential, standard, and datacenter edition.

And further in 2018, they launched their Windows Server 2019. One thing to remember Microsoft extended 2016, 2019 sever support to 10 years so windows server 2016 will be supported until 2027, and windows server 2019 until 2029.

In August 2021 Microsoft releases Windows Server 2022, It’s the new long-term servicing channel release of Windows Server for on-premises data centers and virtual machines.

Hardware requirements to run Windows Server 2019:

The below-mentioned numbers are the minimum hardware requirements to run Windows Server. If your computer has less than the minimum requirements, you will not be able to install this product correctly. Actual requirements will vary based on your system configuration and the applications and features you install.

1) Processor:

  • 1.4 GHz 64-bit processor Compatible with x64 instruction set
  • Supports NX and DEP, CMPXCHG16b, LAHF/SAHF, and PrefetchW
  • Supports Second Level Address Translation (EPT or NPT)

2) RAM:

  • 512 MB (2 GB for Server with Desktop Experience installation option)
  • ECC (Error Correcting Code) type or similar technology, for physical host deployments

3) Minimum 32 GB of Disk Space

4) Network Adaptors:

  • An ethernet adapter capable of at least 1 gigabit per second throughput
  • Compliant with the PCI Express architecture specification.

5) Other requirements:

  • DVD drive (if you intend to install the operating system from DVD media)
  • UEFI 2.3.1c-based system and firmware that supports secure boot
  • Graphics devise and monitor capable of Super VGA (1024 x 768) or higher-resolution
  • Keyboard and Microsoft mouse (or other compatible pointing devices)
  • Internet access (for system updates and other registration purposes)

Windows Server Editions:

Windows Server comes in three editions:

  • Datacenter, as the name suggests, is ideal for data centers and cloud environments.
  • Standard is designed for small-scale physical or minimally virtualized environments.
  • Essential is perfect for small businesses with up to 25 users and 50 devices.

Unique features of a Windows Server:

Windows server is mainly used for controlling your work infrastructure by enabling/disabling/creating/ users, services, and processes, setting pre-configured rules by group policy objects, securing your home or office network, and performing any activity related to your organization.

The main features are…

Active Directory:

Active Directory is a user management service that allows a server to act as a domain controller. Instead of each user logging into a local computer, the domain controller handles all user account authentication.


Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol is a protocol that lets a server automatically assign IP addresses to all devices on the network.  At home, your router probably handles this. But in a large enterprise, where you have to manage thousands of PCs, DHCP functionality in Windows Server is really useful.

File and Storage:

Having a file server for your company is another common use. This allows you to keep important data in a central location and set permissions to control who can access which files.

Print Services:

If a business has dozens of printers across the building, it’s a waste of time for IT staff to configure them individually for each new workstation. Setting up a print server allows you to easily map printers to computers and reduce redundant work.

Windows Update services:

Often, businesses don’t want all Windows updates to come through right away. By setting up a server as a Windows Update controller, you can route all workstation updates through that server and configure specific rules for how they should work.

Some key features of Windows Server 2019:

Windows Server 2019 is built on the strong foundation of Windows Server 2016 and brings numerous innovations on four key themes: Hybrid Cloud, Security, Application Platform, and Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI). Here we are discuss

Windows Admin Center:

WAC is the future of remote server management, designed to modernize and simplify the IT administration experience.  All New Windows Server 2019 Features are surfaced in the Windows Admin Center. It replaces the previous admin tools like
Server Manager, DHCP Manager, Hyper-V manager, etc and integrate everything in a single panel.

Windows Admin Center is browser-based and runs on the latest versions of Microsoft Edge (Windows 10, version 1709 or later) and Google Chrome browsers. Therefore it’s super lightweight and has a single pane of glass that consolidates all aspects of local and remote server management.

Storage Migration Service:

It makes it easier to migrate servers to a newer version of Windows Server. It provides a graphical tool that inventories data on servers, and transfers the data and configuration to another server without apps or users having to change anything.

Storage Migration service enables.

  • Inventory multiple servers and their data
  • Rapidly transfer files, file shares, and security configuration from the source servers
  • Optionally take over the identity of the source servers (also known as cutting over) so that users and apps don’t have to change anything to access existing data
  • Manage one or multiple migrations from the Windows Admin Center user interface


Hyper-Converged Infrastructure and Windows server Software-defined Datacenter consolidate software-defined compute, storage, and networking into one cluster to provide high-performance, cost-effective, and easily scalable virtualization.

It was first introduced in Windows Server 2016 with Storage Spaces Direct and Hyper-V. To know more about HCI and WSSD read the blog by Pierre Roman.

System Insights:

It’s a new predictive analytics feature in Windows Server 2019 which uses a machine-learning model – to locally analyze Windows Server system data, like the performance counters and events of your servers.

It will provide insight into the functioning of your servers and help you address issues in your environment proactively.

System Insight can forecast future resource needs for computing, networking, and storage based on your previous usage patterns. It’s extensible 3rd parties, partners can add new predictive capabilities without updating the operating system.

Linux on Windows Server 2019:

The Windows Subsystem for Linux allows you to run a GNU/Linux environment — including most command-line tools, utilities, and applications directly on Windows server 2019, unmodified, without the overhead of a virtual machine.

If you want to know more about this, an in-depth installation guide is available, go there and check this out.

Pricing of Windows Server 2019:

Many large, small, and medium businesses used Windows servers and generally, these are much more expensive than a consumer version of Windows and come in various flavors depending on your needs.

Here Microsoft gives you several options to try Windows Server for free, they give you three options like Azure, ISO, and VHD to try the server. So before buying you can always try it and if you plan to buy Windows Server for your organization then you can buy from Microsoft Certified retailers.

A final thought on Microsoft Windows Server:

Servers are extremely powerful machines designed to run constantly and provide resources for other computers. So to handle this powerful hardware you need an adequate operating system as well.

Microsoft created Windows Server OS mainly for business purposes and can handle all the computers running Windows OS.

It’s an operating system just like any other ‘Windows’, but comes with

  • Added security features.
  • Extra roles such as an IIS (Web server – A place where you can host your web application/backend).
  • FTP server – It functions as a file server.
  • Product development platform.
  • Server manager – It helps to manage all the roles and features of the Operating system.

So in a nutshell, it’s just another O.S. with few extra functionalities, higher reliability snd better support. Additionally, you won’t find any entertainment software here, and the security is top class. It still uses Internet Explorer as the default browser, but the security settings are much more restrictive than usual.

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Preetam, I must admit your website is one of the most educational websites I have seen when it comes to servers and technical stuff. Your grasp of the technical terms and everything about phones, computers and tablets just amazes me. I have bookmarked your website so that I can be coming here to understand technical terms well. Microsoft has been a huge focus for me of late and I think your website will go a long way for me in terms of learning.

    1. Thanks, Dave for your kind words and I’m glad the information helps you to increase your knowledge. Stay connected for more exciting stuff.

  2. You mention that this doesn’t have programs included like Cortana, Microsoft Store, Microsoft Edge Browser or timeline.  Are these programs purchased separately and installed or is the server simply a tool to remotely control the programs in Windows 10 on other computers?  I hope that doesn’t sound like a stupid question but I don’t have much knowledge in this area.  I’m trying to learn!

    1. By default, any desktop applications like Cortana, Store, and Edge browser are not installed on the server operating system and these don’t make sense because the primary objective of a server is to configure and control another PC’s on the network. But you can install these applications by using PowerShell or package manager API and all these are free.

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