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Windows Server 2008 R2

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Windows Server 2008 R2
Version of the Windows NT operating system
Screenshot of Windows Server 2008 R2 showing the Server Manager application which is automatically opened when an administrator logs on.
OS familyWindows Server
Source model
Released to
July 22, 2009; 14 years ago (2009-07-22)
October 22, 2009; 14 years ago (2009-10-22)[1]
Latest releaseService Pack 1 with security update rollup (6.1.7601.24499) / March 19, 2019; 5 years ago (2019-03-19)[2]
Marketing targetBusiness
Update methodWindows Update, Windows Server Update Services, SCCM
Platformsx86-64, Itanium
Kernel typeHybrid (Windows NT kernel)
user interface
Windows shell (Graphical)
LicenseCommercial software (Retail, volume licensing, Microsoft Software Assurance)
Preceded byWindows Server 2008 (2008)
Succeeded byWindows Server 2012 (2012)
Official websitedocs.microsoft.com/en-us/previous-versions/windows/it-pro/windows-server-2008-R2-and-2008/dd349801(v=ws.10)
Support status
Mainstream support ended on January 13, 2015.[3]
Extended support ended January 14, 2020.[3]

Paid updates; only for Standard, Enterprise, and Datacenter volume licensed editions:[4][5]

ESU (Extended Security Updates) support ended on January 10, 2023, for non-Azure &
January 9, 2024, for Azure.[6][3]

Grandfathered[7] Premium Assurance security update support until January 13, 2026.[8][9]

See § Paid extended updates for details.

Windows Server 2008 R2, codenamed "Windows Server 7", is the eighth version of the Windows Server operating system produced by Microsoft and released as part of the Windows NT family of operating systems. It was released to manufacturing on July 22, 2009,[10] and became generally available on October 22, 2009, the same respective release dates of Windows 7.[11] It is the successor to Windows Server 2008, which is derived from the Windows Vista codebase, released the previous year, and was succeeded by the Windows 8-based Windows Server 2012.

Enhancements in Windows Server 2008 R2 include new functionality for Active Directory, new virtualization and management features, version 7.5 of the Internet Information Services web server and support for up to 256[12] logical processors. It is built on the same kernel used with the client-oriented Windows 7, and is the first server operating system released by Microsoft which dropped support for 32-bit processors, an addition which carried over to the consumer-oriented Windows 11 in 2021.

Windows Server 2008 R2 is the final version of Windows Server that includes Enterprise and Web Server editions, the final that got a service pack from Microsoft and the final version that supports IA-64 and processors without PAE, SSE2 and NX (although a 2018 update dropped support for non-SSE2 processors). Its successor, Windows Server 2012, requires a processor with PAE, SSE2 and NX, in any supported architecture.

Seven editions of Windows Server 2008 R2 were released: Foundation, Standard, Enterprise, Datacenter, Web, HPC Server and Itanium, as well as Windows Storage Server 2008 R2. A home server variant called Windows Home Server 2011 was also released.


Microsoft introduced Windows Server 2008 R2 at the 2008 Professional Developers Conference as the server variant of Windows 7, based on the Windows NT kernel.

On January 7, 2009, a beta release of Windows Server 2008 R2 was made available to subscribers of Microsoft's TechNet and MSDN programs, as well as those participating in the Microsoft Connect program for Windows 7. Two days later, the beta was released to the public via the Microsoft Download Center.[13]

On April 30, 2009, the release candidate was made available to subscribers of TechNet and MSDN.[14] On May 5, 2009, the release candidate was made available to the public via the Microsoft download center.[15]

According to Windows Server Blog,[16] the following are the dates of the year 2009 when Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 has been made available to various distribution channels:

  • OEMs received Windows Server 2008 R2 in English and all language packs on July 29. The remaining languages were available around August 11.
  • Independent software vendor (ISV) and independent hardware vendor (IHV) partners have been able to download Windows Server 2008 R2 from MSDN starting on August 14.
  • IT professionals with TechNet subscriptions were able to download Windows Server 2008 R2 and obtain product keys for English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish variants beginning August 14 and all remaining languages beginning August 21.
  • Developers with MSDN subscriptions have been able to download and obtain product keys for Windows Server 2008 R2 in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish starting August 14 and all remaining languages starting August 21.
  • Microsoft Partner Program (MPP) gold/certified members were able to download Windows Server 2008 R2 through the MPP portal on August 19.
  • Volume licensing customers with an existing Software Assurance (SA) contracts were able to download Windows Server 2008 R2 on August 19 via the Volume License Service Center.
  • Volume licensing customers without an SA were able to purchase Windows Server 2008 R2 through volume licensing by September 1.

Additionally, qualifying students have been able to download Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard edition in 15 languages from the Microsoft Imagine program (known as DreamSpark at the time).[17]

New features[edit]

A reviewer guide published by the company describes several areas of improvement in R2.[18] These include new virtualization capabilities (Live Migration, Cluster Shared Volumes using Failover Clustering and Hyper-V), reduced power consumption, a new set of management tools and new Active Directory capabilities such as a "recycle bin" for deleted objects. IIS 7.5 has been added to this release which also includes updated FTP server services. Security enhancements include encrypted clientless authenticated VPN services through DirectAccess for clients using Windows 7, and the addition of DNSSEC support for DNS Server Service. Even though DNSSEC as such is supported, only one signature algorithm is available:[19] #5/RSA/SHA-1. Since many zones use a different algorithm – including the root zone – this means that in reality Windows still can't serve as a recursive resolver.

The DHCP server supports a large number of enhancements[20] such as MAC address-based control filtering, converting active leases into reservations or link layer based filters, DHCppP Name protection for non-Windows machines to prevent name squatting, better performance through aggressive lease database caching, DHCP activity logging, auto-population of certain network interface fields, a wizard for split-scope configuration, DHCP Server role migration using WSMT, support for DHCPv6 Option 15 (User Class) and Option 32 (Information Refresh Time). The DHCP server runs in the context of the Network Service account which has fewer privileges to reduce potential damage if compromised.

Windows Server 2008 R2 supports up to 64 physical processors[21] or up to 256 logical processors per system. (Only the Datacenter and Itanium editions can take advantage of the capability of 64 physical processors. Enterprise, the next-highest edition after those two, can only use 8.)[22] When deployed in a file server role, new File Classification Infrastructure services allow files to be stored on designated servers in the enterprise based on business naming conventions, relevance to business processes and overall corporate policies.[23]

Server Core includes a subset of the .NET Framework, so that some applications (including ASP.NET web sites and Windows PowerShell 2.0) can be used.

Performance improvement was a major area of focus for this release; Microsoft has stated that work was done to decrease boot time, improve the efficiency of I/O operations while using less processing power, and generally improve the speed of storage devices, especially iSCSI.

Active Directory has several new features when raising the forest and domain functional levels[24] to Windows Server 2008 R2: Two added features are Authentication Mechanism Assurance and Automatic SPN Management. When raising the forest functional level, the Active Directory recycle bin feature is available and can be enabled using the Active Directory Module for PowerShell.[25]

Support lifecycle[edit]

Support for the RTM version of Windows Server 2008 R2 ended on April 9, 2013.[3][26] Users had to install Service Pack 1 to continue receiving updates.[27]

On January 13, 2015, Windows Server 2008 R2 exited mainstream support and entered the extended support phase; Microsoft continued to provide security updates every month for Windows Server 2008 R2, however, free technical support, warranty claims, and design changes were no longer offered. Extended support ended on January 14, 2020, about ten years after the release of Windows Server 2008 R2.[28]

In August 2019, researchers reported that "all modern versions of Microsoft Windows" may be at risk for "critical" system compromise due to design flaws of hardware device drivers from multiple providers.[29]


Microsoft announced that Server 2008 R2 would be the last version of Windows supporting the Itanium architecture, with extended support to end on July 10, 2018.[30][31][32] However, monthly security updates continued until January 14, 2020,[33] and a final unscheduled update appeared in May 2020 via WSUS.[34]


Windows Server 2008 R2 was eligible for the paid ESU (Extended Security Updates) program. This program allowed volume license customers to purchase, in yearly installments, security updates for the operating system until January 10, 2023, only for Standard, Enterprise, and Datacenter volume licensed editions. The program was included with Microsoft Azure purchases, and offered Azure customers an additional year of support, until January 9, 2024.[3][4][6][35]

Prior to the ESU program becoming available, Windows Server 2008 was eligible for the now discontinued, paid Premium Assurance program (an add-on to Microsoft Software Assurance) available to volume license customers. Microsoft will, however, honor the program for customers who purchased it between March 2017 and July 2018 (while it was available). The program provides an extra six years of security update support, until January 13, 2026.[8][7][9][36] This will mark the final end of all security updates for the Windows NT 6.1 product line after 16 years, 5 months, and 22 days.

Paid extended updates are not available for Itanium customers.[37][36]

Service Pack[edit]

On February 9, 2011, Microsoft officially released Service Pack 1 (SP1) for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 to OEM partners. Apart from bug fixes, it introduces two new major functions, RemoteFX and Dynamic Memory. RemoteFX enables the use of graphics hardware support for 3D graphics in a Hyper-V based VM. Dynamic Memory makes it possible for a VM to only allocate as much physical RAM as is needed temporarily for its execution. On February 16, SP1 became available for MSDN and TechNet subscribers as well as volume licensing customers. As of February 22, SP1 is generally available for download via the Microsoft Download Center and available on Windows Update.[38]

System requirements[edit]

System requirements for Windows Server 2008 R2 are as follows:[39]

1.4 GHz x86-64 or Itanium 2 processor
Minimum: 512 MB RAM (may limit performance and some features)
Recommended: 2 GB RAM
Maximum: 8 GB RAM (Foundation), 32 GB RAM (Standard), or 2 TB RAM (Enterprise, Datacenter and Itanium)
Super VGA (800×600) or higher
Disk Space Requirements
Minimum (editions higher than Foundation): 32 GB or more
Minimum (Foundation edition) 10 GB or more.
Computers with more than 16 GB of RAM require more disk space for paging and dump files.[39]
DVD drive, keyboard and mouse, Internet access (required for updates and online activation)


Windows Server 2008 R2 edition comparison chart[40]
Features Foundation Standard Web HPC Enterprise Datacenter Itanium
Maximum RAM on x86-64 8 GB 32 GB 256 GB 2 TB
Maximum physical CPUs 1 4 8 64
Failover cluster nodes (Nodes) 16 8
Cross-file replication (DFS-R) No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes[41]
Fault tolerant memory sync No No No No Yes Yes Yes
Memory modules: Hot addition No No No No Yes Yes Yes
Memory modules: Hot replacement No No No No No Yes Yes
CPUs: Hot addition No No No No No Yes Yes
CPUs: Hot replacement No No No No No Yes Yes
IAS connection 10 50 No No Unlimited Unlimited 2
Remote Desktop Services connections 50 250 No No Unlimited Unlimited No
RRAS connections 50 250 No 250 Unlimited Unlimited No
Virtual image use rights Forbidden Host + 1 VM 1 VM Host + 1 VM Host + 4 VMs Unlimited Unlimited
Features Foundation Standard Web HPC Enterprise Datacenter Itanium

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2009/Jun09/06-02SteveGuggenheimer.mspx
  2. ^ http://blogs.technet.com/windowsserver/archive/2009/07/22/windows-server-2008-r2-rtm.aspx
  3. ^ a b c d e "Windows Server 2008 R2 Lifecycle Policy". Microsoft. Retrieved June 19, 2024.
  4. ^ a b "Product Lifecycle FAQ – Extended Security Updates – Microsoft Lifecycle". learn.microsoft.com. Retrieved 2024-06-19.
  5. ^ "Announcing new options for SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 End of Support". azure.microsoft.com. 12 July 2018. Retrieved 2021-03-26.
  6. ^ a b "Extended Security Updates for SQL Server and Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 | Microsoft". Microsoft. Retrieved June 19, 2024.
  7. ^ a b Mackie, Kurt (July 13, 2018). "Microsoft Replacing 'Premiere Assurance' Support with New Security Plan". Redmond Channel Partner. 1105 Media. Retrieved May 11, 2024.
  8. ^ a b Foley, Mary Jo (December 8, 2016). "Microsoft to offer option of 16 years of Windows Server, SQL Server support through new Premium Assurance offer". ZDNet. Red Ventures. Retrieved May 11, 2024.
  9. ^ a b "Windows Server Premium Assurance SQL Server Premium Assurance" (PDF). Licensing School. Retrieved May 11, 2024.
  10. ^ Server and Cloud Platform Team (2009-07-22). "Windows Server 2008 R2 Reaches the RTM Milestone!". Blogs.technet.com. Archived from the original on July 23, 2009. Retrieved 2011-06-15.
  11. ^ "Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Timelines Shared at Computex". News Center. Taipei, Taiwan: Microsoft. June 3, 2009.
  12. ^ "Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter Edition Overview". Microsoft.com. Archived from the original on September 14, 2008. Retrieved 2011-06-15.
  13. ^ Emil Protalinski (9 January 2009). "Windows 7 public beta is available now".
  14. ^ "Announcing Windows Server 2008 R2 Release Candidate (RC)". Microsoft TechNet. Archived from the original on May 15, 2009.
  15. ^ "Download Windows Server 2008 R2 RC .iso images (May2009)". Microsoft. Archived from the original on May 11, 2009.
  16. ^ House, Crissy (22 July 2009). "When to expect Windows Server 2008 R2 RTM". Windows Server Blog. Microsoft. Archived from the original on July 23, 2009.
  17. ^ "Windows Server 2008 R2 on DreamSpark". Microsoft. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011.
  18. ^ "Windows Server 2008 R2 Reviewers Guide". Microsoft. November 2008. Archived from the original on February 5, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-31.
  19. ^ "Understanding DNSSEC in Windows". Technet.microsoft.com. 2009-10-07. Retrieved 2011-06-15.
  20. ^ "New features in DHCP for Windows Server 2008 R2/Windows 7". Blogs.technet.com. Archived from the original on March 1, 2009. Retrieved 2011-06-15.
  21. ^ "Windows Server 2008 R2: Scalability for the Enterprise Customer". Microsoft.com. Archived from the original on February 13, 2008. Retrieved 2011-06-15.
  22. ^ "Windows7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 support more than 64 Processors in one System". Microsoft. November 2008. Archived from the original on December 17, 2008. Retrieved 2009-03-06.
  23. ^ "R2: How Would You Manage Without It?". MSDN Blogs. Archived from the original on May 8, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-30.
  24. ^ "Appendix of Functional Level Features". Microsoft Technet. Retrieved 2009-10-06.
  25. ^ "Server 2008 R2: Active Directory Functional Levels". Praetorian Prefect. Archived from the original on October 12, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-06.
  26. ^ Rose, Stephen L (February 14, 2013). "Windows 7 RTM End Of Support Is Right Around The Corner". Springboard Series Blog. Microsoft. Archived from the original on May 2, 2013. Retrieved March 27, 2013.
  27. ^ "Windows 7 users: Move to SP1 to continue receiving Microsoft support". ZDNet. CBS Interactive. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  28. ^ "Windows Server 2008 R2 End-of-Life Support is Near". June 24, 2019. Retrieved October 26, 2019.
  29. ^ Winder, Davey (August 11, 2019). "Critical Windows 10 Warning: Millions Of Users At Risk". Forbes. Retrieved August 11, 2019.
  30. ^ "Windows Server 2008 R2 to Phase Out Itanium". Windows Server Blog. 2 April 2010. Why the change? The natural evolution of the x86 64-bit ("x64") architecture has led to the creation of processors and servers which deliver the scalability and reliability needed for today's "mission-critical" workloads.
  31. ^ "Microsoft ending support for Itanium". 4 April 2010. SQL Server 2008 R2 and Visual Studio 2010 are also the last versions to support Itanium.
  32. ^ "Microsoft Dropping Itanium Support – Redmond Channel Partner". Redmond Channel Partner. Retrieved 2018-05-14.
  33. ^ "Microsoft Update Catalog (search=Itanium)". Retrieved 2023-03-20.
  34. ^ "Itanium KB4552965 direct link". Retrieved 2023-03-20.
  35. ^ Sharwood, Simon (March 1, 2019). "Microsoft starts selling extended support for Windows Server 2008". nextmedia. Retrieved June 19, 2024.
  36. ^ a b "Microsoft Update Catalog 2024-06". catalog.update.microsoft.com. Retrieved 2024-06-19.
  37. ^ "Microsoft Update Catalog 2022-01". catalog.update.microsoft.com. Retrieved 2024-06-19.
  38. ^ "Announcing Availability of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1". Archived from the original on February 11, 2011.
  39. ^ a b "Windows Server 2008 R2: System Requirements". Microsoft.com. Archived from the original on February 9, 2008. Retrieved 2011-06-15.
  40. ^ "Windows Server 2008 R2 Editions Comparison by Technical Specifications". Microsoft. Archived from the original on 22 December 2010.
  41. ^ Archiveddocs (5 September 2011). "What's New in Distributed File System". technet.microsoft.com. Retrieved 2 April 2018.

External links[edit]