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Windows Server 2008: A Technical Overview and Evaluation Guide


Windows Server 2008 Reviewers Guide




Are you looking for a powerful, secure, and versatile server operating system? If so, you might want to consider Windows Server 2008. Windows Server 2008 is the latest version of Microsoft's server platform, and it offers many improvements and enhancements over its predecessors. In this article, we will review some of the key features and benefits of Windows Server 2008, as well as guide you through the installation, configuration, security, and optimization processes. By the end of this article, you should have a good understanding of what Windows Server 2008 can do for you and your organization.




Windows Server 2008 – Reviewers Guide


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What is Windows Server 2008?




Windows Server 2008 is a server operating system that is based on the same core architecture as Windows Vista. It was released in February 2008, and it is available in several editions, such as Standard, Enterprise, Datacenter, Web, and Foundation. Each edition has different features and capabilities, depending on the size and needs of your organization. You can compare the editions here.


Some of the main features and benefits of Windows Server 2008 are:


  • It supports up to 64 processors and up to 2 TB of RAM, making it suitable for high-performance computing.



  • It supports both 32-bit and 64-bit applications, as well as virtualization technologies such as Hyper-V.



  • It has a modular design that allows you to install only the roles and features that you need, reducing the attack surface and resource consumption.



  • It has a new graphical user interface called Server Manager that simplifies the management of roles, features, and services.



  • It has a new command-line interface called PowerShell that enables you to automate tasks and scripts.



  • It has enhanced security features such as Firewall, BitLocker, Network Access Protection, Certificate Services, and Auditing.



  • It has improved reliability features such as Failover Clustering, Network Load Balancing, Backup, Restore, and Shadow Copy.



  • It has improved performance features such as Dynamic Hardware Partitioning, Core Parking, SuperFetch, ReadyBoost, and TCP/IP Offload Engine.



How to install Windows Server 2008?




To install Windows Server 2008, you will need a physical or virtual machine that meets the minimum hardware requirements, which are:


  • A 1 GHz processor (2 GHz or faster recommended)



  • 512 MB of RAM (2 GB or more recommended)



  • 10 GB of free disk space (40 GB or more recommended)



  • A DVD-ROM drive



  • A network adapter



  • A monitor and a keyboard



The installation process is similar to that of Windows Vista, and it consists of the following steps:


  • Insert the Windows Server 2008 DVD into the DVD-ROM drive and boot from it.



  • Select the language, time, currency, and keyboard settings, and click Next.



  • Click Install Now.



  • Enter the product key, and click Next.



  • Select the edition of Windows Server 2008 that you want to install, and click Next.



  • Accept the license terms, and click Next.



  • Select the type of installation: Upgrade or Custom. If you are installing Windows Server 2008 on a new machine, choose Custom. If you are upgrading from a previous version of Windows Server, choose Upgrade.



  • Select the disk partition where you want to install Windows Server 2008, and click Next. You can also create, delete, or format partitions using the options below.



  • Wait for the installation to complete. This may take several minutes.



  • Set a password for the administrator account, and press Enter.



  • Log on to Windows Server 2008 with the administrator account.



How to configure Windows Server 2008?




After installing Windows Server 2008, you will need to configure it according to your needs and preferences. There are many configuration tasks and tools that you can use to customize your server, but we will focus on some of the most common and important ones.


Server Manager




Server Manager is a new graphical user interface that allows you to manage roles, features, and services on your server. A role is a set of software programs that enables your server to perform a specific function, such as File Server, Web Server, or Domain Controller. A feature is a software program that enhances the functionality of your server, such as Backup, BitLocker, or PowerShell. A service is a software program that runs in the background and provides support for other programs, such as DHCP Client, DNS Client, or Print Spooler.


To use Server Manager, follow these steps:


  • Click Start, and then click Server Manager.



  • In the left pane, click Roles to view the installed roles on your server. You can also add or remove roles by clicking Add Roles or Remove Roles in the right pane.



  • In the left pane, click Features to view the installed features on your server. You can also add or remove features by clicking Add Features or Remove Features in the right pane.



  • In the left pane, click Services to view the status and properties of the services on your server. You can also start, stop, restart, or configure services by right-clicking them and selecting the appropriate option.



PowerShell




PowerShell is a new command-line interface that enables you to automate tasks and scripts on your server. PowerShell uses a scripting language called Windows PowerShell Scripting Language (WSL), which is based on .NET Framework. PowerShell can access and manipulate any object in .NET Framework, as well as any object exposed by Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) or Component Object Model (COM). PowerShell also supports aliases, variables, functions, pipelines, operators, loops, conditional statements, error handling, debugging, and more.


To use PowerShell, follow these steps:


  • Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to Windows PowerShell, and then click Windows PowerShell.



  • Type a command or a script at the prompt and press Enter. For example, type Get-Process to list all the processes running on your server.



  • To get help on any command or topic, type Get-Help followed by the name of the command or topic. For example, type Get-Help Get-Process to get help on the Get-Process command.



Group Policy




as security, software installation, registry settings, scripts, folder redirection, and more.


To use Group Policy, follow these steps:


  • Click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Group Policy Management.



  • In the left pane, expand the forest, domain, and container where you want to create or edit a GPO.



  • Right-click the container and select Create a GPO in this domain, and Link it here. Alternatively, you can right-click an existing GPO and select Edit.



  • In the Group Policy Management Editor window, expand either Computer Configuration or User Configuration, depending on whether you want to apply settings to computers or users.



  • Expand the category of settings that you want to configure, such as Policies, Preferences, or Windows Settings.



  • Select the subcategory of settings that you want to configure, such as Administrative Templates, Registry, or Scripts.



  • In the right pane, double-click the setting that you want to configure and select the appropriate option: Enabled, Disabled, or Not Configured.



  • Click OK to save the changes.



Active Directory




Active Directory is a feature that allows you to manage users, groups, and domains in your organization. Active Directory stores information about objects such as users, computers, printers, and shared folders in a hierarchical structure called Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS). AD DS consists of one or more domains that share a common schema and namespace. A domain is a logical unit of administration that has its own security policies and replication settings. A domain controller is a server that hosts a copy of the AD DS database and provides authentication and authorization services to domain members.


To use Active Directory, follow these steps:


  • Click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Active Directory Users and Computers.



  • In the left pane, expand the domain where you want to create or manage objects.



  • To create a new object, right-click the container where you want to create the object and select New. Then select the type of object that you want to create, such as User, Group, or Computer.



  • To manage an existing object, right-click the object and select Properties. Then modify the attributes of the object as needed.



Hyper-V




Hyper-V is a feature that allows you to create and manage virtual machines on your server. A virtual machine is a software emulation of a physical computer that can run its own operating system and applications. Hyper-V enables you to consolidate multiple physical servers into one virtualized server, saving space, power, and cost. Hyper-V also supports live migration, which allows you to move a running virtual machine from one host server to another without downtime.


To use Hyper-V, follow these steps:


  • Click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Hyper-V Manager.



  • In the left pane, select the host server where you want to create or manage virtual machines.



  • To create a new virtual machine, click Action and then click New. Then click Virtual Machine.



  • Follow the wizard to specify the name, location, memory, network connection, hard disk, and operating system of the virtual machine.



Stop, Pause, or Shut Down.


How to secure Windows Server 2008?




Security is one of the most important aspects of any server operating system. Windows Server 2008 provides many security features and best practices that can help you protect your server from unauthorized access, data loss, or network attacks. Some of the security features and best practices for Windows Server 2008 are:


Firewall




Firewall is a feature that filters incoming and outgoing network traffic based on rules and exceptions. Firewall can help you prevent unauthorized access to your server or network resources, as well as block malicious or unwanted traffic. Firewall can also be configured to allow or deny specific applications, ports, protocols, or IP addresses.


To use Firewall, follow these steps:


  • Click Start, point to Control Panel, and then click Windows Firewall.



  • In the left pane, click Turn Windows Firewall on or off to enable or disable Firewall for each network profile: Domain, Private, or Public.



  • In the left pane, click Allow a program or feature through Windows Firewall to add or remove applications or features that are allowed through Firewall.



  • In the left pane, click Advanced settings to create or modify inbound or outbound rules for Firewall.



BitLocker




BitLocker is a feature that encrypts the entire hard drive of your server, preventing unauthorized access to your data in case of theft or loss. BitLocker can also protect your data from offline attacks, such as booting from another operating system or using a recovery tool. BitLocker requires a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip on your server's motherboard, or a removable USB flash drive that contains the encryption key.


To use BitLocker, follow these steps:


  • Click Start, point to Control Panel, and then click BitLocker Drive Encryption.



  • Select the drive that you want to encrypt and click Turn On BitLocker.



  • Choose how you want to unlock your drive: using a password, a smart card, or a USB flash drive.



  • Choose how you want to back up your recovery key: saving it to a file, printing it, or storing it online.



  • Wait for BitLocker to encrypt your drive. This may take several hours depending on the size of your drive.



Network Access Protection




Network Access Protection (NAP) is a feature that enforces health policies on network clients that try to access your server or network resources. Health policies are defined by administrators and can include requirements such as antivirus software, firewall settings, updates, or patches. NAP can help you prevent unhealthy clients from compromising the security or performance of your server or network. NAP can also provide remediation services to help unhealthy clients become compliant with health policies.


To use NAP, follow these steps:


  • Click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Network Policy Server.



  • In the left pane, expand Policies and then click Network Policies.



  • Right-click the policy that you want to edit and select Properties.



  • On the Conditions tab, add or remove conditions that define which clients are subject to the policy.



add or remove settings that define the health policy and the remediation services for the clients.


  • Click OK to save the changes.



Certificate Services




Certificate Services is a feature that allows you to issue and manage digital certificates for your server or network. A digital certificate is a document that contains information about the identity and public key of a person or entity, as well as the signature of a trusted authority that verifies the information. Digital certificates can be used for various purposes, such as authentication, encryption, digital signatures, or secure email. Certificate Services consists of several components, such as Certification Authority (CA), Certificate Enrollment Policy Web Service, Certificate Enrollment Web Service, Online Responder, and Network Device Enrollment Service.


To use Certificate Services, follow these steps:


  • Click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Certification Authority.



  • In the left pane, expand the CA that you want to manage.



  • To issue a new certificate, right-click Certificate Templates and select New. Then select Certificate Template to Issue.



  • Select the template that you want to use and click OK.



  • To manage an existing certificate, right-click Issued Certificates and select View. Then select the certificate that you want to manage.



  • Right-click the certificate and select the action that you want to perform, such as Renew, Revoke, or Export.



Auditing




Auditing is a feature that allows you to monitor and record server activities for security or troubleshooting purposes. Auditing can track events such as logon attempts, file access, policy changes, or service failures. Auditing can also generate alerts or reports based on the events that occur on your server. Auditing consists of two types: local auditing and domain auditing. Local auditing applies to events that occur on your local server, while domain auditing applies to events that occur on any server in your domain.


To use Auditing, follow these steps:


  • Click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Local Security Policy.



  • In the left pane, expand Local Policies and then click Audit Policy.



  • In the right pane, double-click the category of events that you want to audit, such as Audit account logon events or Audit object access.



  • Select the options that you want to audit: Success or Failure. Success means that an event was completed successfully, while Failure means that an event was denied or failed.



  • Click OK to save the changes.



  • To view the audit events, click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Event Viewer.



expand Windows Logs and then click Security.


  • In the right pane, select the event that you want to view and click Details.



How to optimize Windows Server 2008?




Optimization is another important aspect of any server operating system. Windows Server 2008 provides many tips and tricks that can help you improve the performance and reliability of your server. Some of the optimization tips and tricks for Windows Server 2008 are:



  • Use Server Core. Server Core is a minimal installation option that reduces the disk space, memory, and CPU usage of your server. Server Core also reduces the attack surface and maintenance requirements of your server. Server Core supports only a subset of roles and features, such as Active Directory, DNS, DHCP, File Server, Print Server, and Hyper-V. To install Server Core, select the option during the installation process.



  • Use Dynamic Hardware Partitioning. Dynamic Hardware Partitioning is a feature that allows you to add or remove hardware resources such as processors or memory from your server without rebooting. Dynamic Hardware Partitioning can help you balance the workload and resource consumption of your server. Dynamic Hardware Partitioning requires hardware support from your server's manufacturer.



  • Use Core Parking. Core Parking is a feature that allows you to suspend idle processor cores to save power and reduce heat. Core Parking can also improve the performance of active cores by allocating more resources to them. Core Parking is enabled by default on Windows Server 2008 R2 and later versions.



  • Use SuperFetch. SuperFetch is a feature that analyzes your usage patterns and preloads frequently used applications and data into memory. SuperFetch can help you reduce the startup time and improve the responsiveness of your server. SuperFetch is enabled by default on Windows Server 2008.



  • Use ReadyBoost. ReadyBoost is a feature that allows you to use a removable USB flash drive as a cache for your hard disk. ReadyBoost can help you improve the performance of your server by reducing the disk access time and freeing up memory. ReadyBoost requires a USB flash drive that has at least 256 MB of free space and supports at least 2.5 MB/s of read speed and 1.75 MB/s of write speed.



  • Use TCP/IP Offload Engine. TCP/IP Offload Engine (TOE) is a feature that allows you to offload some of the processing tasks of the TCP/IP protocol stack to a dedicated network adapter. TOE can help you improve the network performance and reduce the CPU usage of your server. TOE requires hardware support from your network adapter's manufacturer.



Conclusion




In this article, we have reviewed some of the key features and benefits of Windows Server 2008, as well as guided you through the installation, configuration, security, and optimization processes. We hope that this article has helped you gain a better understanding of what Windows Server 2008 can do for you and your organization.


If you have any questions or feedback about this article, please feel free to contact us at info@contentwriter.com. We would love to hear from you!


Frequently Asked Questions




Here are some of the frequently asked questions about Windows Server 2008:


What are the system requirements for Windows Server 2008?




The minimum system requirements for Windows Server 2008 are:


  • A 1 GHz processor (2 GHz or faster recommended)



  • 512 MB of RAM (2 GB or more recommended)



  • 10 GB of free disk space (40 GB or more recommended)



  • A DVD-ROM drive



  • A network adapter



  • A monitor and a keyboard



What are the differences between Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2012?




the differences between Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2012 are:


Windows Server 2012 supports up


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