Windows Server

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Windows Server
Windows Server.png
Source model
Initial releaseApril 24, 2003; 18 years ago (2003-04-24)
Latest releaseWindows Server, version 20H2 (10.0.19042) / 20 October 2020; 9 months ago (2020-10-20)[1]
Latest previewWindows Server Preview (10.0.20344) / 28 April 2021; 3 months ago (2021-04-28)[2]
Update methodWindows Update, Windows Server Update Services, SCCM
Default user interface
LicenseTrialware, SaaS or volume licensing

Windows Server is a brand name for a group of server operating systems released by Microsoft since 2003. The first Windows server edition to be released under that brand was Windows Server 2003. However, the first server edition of Windows was Windows NT 3.1 Advanced Server, followed by Windows NT 3.5 Server, Windows NT 3.51 Server, Windows NT 4.0 Server, and Windows 2000 Server. Windows 2000 Server was the first server edition to include Active Directory, DNS Server, DHCP Server, Group Policy, as well as many other popular features used today.


Long Term Servicing Channel (LTSC)[edit]

Windows Server operating system releases under the Long Term Servicing Channel are supported by Microsoft for 10 years, with five years of mainstream support and an additional five years of extended support. These releases also offer a complete GUI desktop experience, along with GUI-less setups such as Server Core and Nano Server for releases that support them.[3][4]

This channel includes the following operating systems:[5]

Semi-Annual Channel (SAC)[edit]

Windows Server operating system releases under the Semi-Annual Channel are supported by Microsoft for 18 months. Microsoft targets two releases of Windows Server per year under this channel. These releases do not offer any GUI desktop environments, and include Server Core and Nano Server.[4][14]

Operating systems from this channel are available as part of subscription services, including Software Assurance, Azure Marketplace, Visual Studio subscriptions, and others.[14]

This channel includes the following operating systems:

  • Windows Server, version 1709 (September 2017)
  • Windows Server, version 1803
  • Windows Server, version 1809
  • Windows Server, version 1903
  • Windows Server, version 1909
  • Windows Server, version 2004
  • Windows Server, version 20H2

Certain editions of Windows Server have a customized name. For example, all editions of Windows Server to this date had a Windows Storage Server edition. Starting with Windows Server 2012,[citation needed] Windows Storage Server was discontinued, as Microsoft consolidated the editions to Standard and Datacenter. Other examples include Windows Home Server and Windows HPC Server.

Microsoft has also produced Windows Server Essentials (formerly Windows Small Business Server) and the discontinued Windows Essential Business Server, software bundles which include a somewhat restricted Windows Server operating system and some other Microsoft Server products.[16][17][18]


Users of Windows Server may choose to deploy either on-site or using a cloud computing service. Each provides different advantages.

By delegating the managing and upkeep of the server to a cloud computing service such as Microsoft Azure[19] or Amazon Web Services,[20] users get the benefit of paying monthly based on usage rather than a large fixed cost. Furthermore, infrastructure tends to be more reliable and it is easier to scale up as necessary. However, buying and running a server in-house may be a better choice in certain cases when it is more cost effective. Other use cases such as using a Windows server to manage client computers in a facility are also appropriate for running a physical server.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Windows Server release information". Microsoft Docs. 2020-10-20. Retrieved 2021-03-25.
  2. ^ "Announcing Windows Server Preview Build 20344". TECHCOMMUNITY.MICROSOFT.COM. 2021-04-28. Retrieved 2021-05-05.
  3. ^ "What is Microsoft Windows Server LTSC (Long-Term Servicing Channel)? - Definition from". SearchWindowsServer. Retrieved 2018-03-22.
  4. ^ a b "Windows Server - Semi-Annual Channel (SAC) vs Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) - Thomas Maurer". Thomas Maurer. 2017-11-19. Retrieved 2018-03-22.
  5. ^ "Previous versions of server and cloud products". Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved 2016-08-31.
  6. ^ "Windows server 2003 Lifecycle Policy". Microsoft. March 8, 2008.
  7. ^ a b "Windows Server 2003 end of support". Microsoft. Archived from the original on August 2, 2014. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  8. ^ "Windows Server 2003 Lifecycle Policy". Microsoft. March 8, 2008.
  9. ^ a b Microsoft. "Windows Server 2008 Lifecycle Policy". Microsoft. Retrieved 2012-09-25.
  10. ^ "Microsoft Product Lifecycle". Microsoft Support. Microsoft. January 2012. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
  11. ^ "Search product lifecycle – Windows Server 2012 R2". Retrieved December 27, 2018.
  12. ^ "Microsoft Product Lifecycle". Microsoft Support. Microsoft. Retrieved December 7, 2016.
  13. ^ "Microsoft Product Lifecycle". Microsoft Support. Microsoft.
  14. ^ a b jaimeo. "Windows Server Semi-Annual Channel overview". Retrieved 2018-03-22.
  15. ^ "Introducing Windows Server, version 1709". Microsoft Docs. Microsoft. Windows Server.
  16. ^ "Windows Essential Business Server". Microsoft TechNet. Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
  17. ^ "Windows Small Business Server 2008 Technical FAQ". Microsoft TechNet. Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
  18. ^ Thurrott, Paul (3 September 2011). "Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials". Supersite for Windows. Penton Media, Inc. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
  19. ^ "Windows Virtual Machines documentation". Microsoft. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  20. ^ "Windows Server on AWS". Amazon Web Services. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  21. ^ "What is windows server?". BlogTech. 27 June 2016. Retrieved 7 August 2016.

External links[edit]