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Determining Compatibility with Windows Server 2003

Updated: August 22, 2005

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

At a minimum, your existing system hardware and software must be compatible with Windows Server 2003 before you upgrade your existing server to IIS 6.0. The upgrade process identifies any software or hardware devices that are incompatible with Windows Server 2003 and allows you to stop the upgrade process after notifying you of any incompatible software or device drivers.

Determining the Compatibility of Existing Windows Servers with Upgrade

Your current Windows server operating system can limit which version of Windows Server 2003 that you can upgrade to. The following table lists the existing Windows server operating systems and the versions of Windows Server 2003 that are supported for upgrade.

Windows Server Upgrades Supported by Windows Server 2003

Existing Windows Server Standard Enterprise Web

Windows NT Server 4.0



Windows NT Server 4.0, Enterprise Edition


Windows 2000 Server



Windows 2000 Advanced Server


Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition


Windows Server 2003, Web Edition


If you want to move from an existing Windows server operating system to a version of Windows Server 2003 that is not supported by upgrade, migrate the existing Web server to a new Web server. For more information about migrating Web sites to a new Web server running IIS 6.0, see Migrating IIS Web Sites to IIS 6.0.

Determining the Compatibility of Existing Hardware

In most cases, your existing hardware will be compatible with Windows Server 2003. The most common hardware incompatibility is a device driver that is no longer supported. When devices are no longer supported, remove the existing devices and install an equivalent device that is supported by Windows Server 2003. It is also important that you have the latest BIOS version that is available from your computer manufacturer.

For example, the Web server might have an ISA network adapter that is no longer supported in Windows Server 2003. In this situation, you can obtain and install a new network adapter that is compatible with Windows Server 2003.

For more information about the hardware devices that are supported on Windows Server 2003, see the Hardware Compatibility List.

Determining the Compatibility of Existing Software

Before upgrading, you need to consider the compatibility of your existing applications, or other software that is installed on your server, with Windows Server 2003. This includes software and tools from manufacturers other than Microsoft, as well as Microsoft server products that do not ship with the Windows operating system. Make sure that you have the latest versions of all pre-existing software or service packs that are compatible with Windows Server 2003.

The most common software incompatibilities are caused when your application depends on software from another manufacturer that does not support Windows Server 2003. Or, you might have applications that were designed to run on the Microsoft Windows NT® Server 4.0 or Windows 2000 Server operating systems, which reference application programming interfaces (APIs) that have been changed or removed in Windows Server 2003.

To help you determine the compatibility of your existing software with Windows Server 2003, use the Windows Application Compatibility Toolkit before upgrading your server.

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