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Support for existing systems

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Support for existing systems

This topic contains a brief overview of the interoperability features in the Windows Server 2003 family. It is divided into two sections: New and updated features since Windows NT 4.0 and New and updated features since Windows 2000.

For links to more information about the features in this release, see New Features.

The Windows Server 2003 family supports Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, UNIX, and Macintosh, as well as interoperability with various client operating systems. You can introduce products in the Windows Server 2003 family incrementally into a network environment, because migration paths are provided from any number of existing systems, devices, and applications.

This release includes the following design features to ensure that it is compatible with as many systems and applications as possible.

New and updated features since Windows NT 4.0

The Windows Server 2003 family offers the following improvements (in comparison to Windows NT 4.0) that help provide increased levels of support for existing systems:

Industry standards
The Windows Server 2003 family supports the latest in industry standards, including:

  • XML

  • Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)

  • Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP)

  • DNS

  • Active Directory Service Interfaces (ADSI)

  • Kerberos V5 authentication protocol

  • Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI)

    UDDI Services is not included with Windows Server 2003, Web Edition. In addition, Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition, supports only stand-alone installations of UDDI Services. Distributed installation support is available with Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition, and Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition. In a stand-alone installation of UDDI Services, both the UDDI Web server component and the UDDI database component are installed onto a single server. In a distributed installation, UDDI components are distributed across multiple servers.

Support for existing server applications
Existing server applications, such as Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft SQL Server, are supported on Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition; Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition; and Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition. For full support, you may need to install the latest product updates. For more information, see the Windows Update site at the Microsoft Web site. Also, see the Application Center at the Microsoft Web site.

Integration with existing operating systems
Products in the Windows Server 2003 family integrate seamlessly with existing operating systems and contain support for earlier Windows operating systems, as well as for other popular operating systems. The following features are included in this release:

  • Interoperability with Windows NT Server 4.0 and Windows 2000 Server.

  • Support for clients running a variety of operating systems, including Windows 3.x, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows NT Workstation 4.0, Windows 2000 Professional, and Windows XP.

  • UNIX interoperability, provided through an add-on pack called Windows Services for UNIX. The add-on pack provides support for Network File System (NFS), password synchronization, a UNIX command shell, and a collection of UNIX utilities. The add-on pack also supports Network Information Service (NIS). Telnet services (for remote access and administration) are also included.

  • File Server for Macintosh, allowing Macintosh clients to use the TCP/IP protocol (AFP over IP) to share files and to access shares on a server running Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition; Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition; or Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition.

    This feature is not included on computers running the Microsoft® Windows Server® 2003, Web Edition, operating system. For more information, see Overview of Windows Server 2003, Web Edition.

New and updated features since Windows 2000

The Windows Server 2003 family offers the following improvements (in comparison to Windows 2000) that help provide increased levels of support for existing systems:

Compatibility Mode
Compatibility Mode provides an environment for running applications that more closely reflects the behavior of Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT 4.0, or Windows 2000 operating systems. These modes resolve several of the most common issues that prevent older applications from working correctly. You can also use this technology to create solutions for your own applications.

Program Compatibility Wizard
You can use the Program Compatibility Wizard to detect and test compatibility settings. For more information, see Troubleshooting compatibility issues.

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