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Server reliability

Updated: January 21, 2005

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

Server reliability

This topic contains a brief overview of the features that support server reliability. 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.

Reliability is the likelihood of a computer system or device continuing to function over a given period of time and under specified conditions. For descriptions of features that are related to availability, which is closely related to reliability, see Server availability.

New and updated features since Windows NT 4.0

The Windows Server 2003 family offers the following improvements (in comparison to Windows NT) that help provide increased levels of server reliability:

Improved memory management
Improvements to memory management in both Windows 2000 and the Windows Server 2003 family mean greater speed, reliability, and flexibility for your servers.

Robust system architecture
A robust system provides you with greater reliability, even if one application or service encounters problems. For example, with better handling of nonresponsive applications, you can move, resize, minimize, and close the window of a nonresponsive application. Also, in the event that an updated driver does not function properly, you can restore the previous drivers. The system's support infrastructure ensures that applications that worked on previous Windows operating systems will continue to work on the Windows Server 2003 family of products.

Diagnostic tools
You can monitor system states and prevent problems by using the improved diagnostic tools that are included with this release. For more information, see Monitoring and Status Tools.

Safe Mode start
With Safe Mode, you can start the operating system with a minimal set of drivers and services and then view a log showing the sequence of events at startup. By using Safe Mode, you can diagnose problems with drivers and other components that might be preventing normal startup. For more information, see Disaster Recovery.

Recovery Console
With Recovery Console, you can start a command-line console on a system on which a software problem (such as a problem with drivers or files) is preventing the system from starting. From Recovery Console, you can use basic commands to help recover the system. For more information, see Recovery Console overview.

Windows File Protection
Windows File Protection prevents the replacement of protected system files, such as .sys, .dll, .ocx, .ttf, .fon, and .exe files. Windows File Protection runs in the background and prevents other programs from changing these files, which are needed by the operating system. For more information, see Windows File Protection.

Enhanced Backup utility
You can back up data to a wide variety of storage media, such as tape drives, external hard disks, and Zip disks. For more information, see Backup.

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 server reliability:

Automated System Recovery
Automated System Recovery (ASR) helps you recover your system in the event that a hard disk fails or the system is seriously damaged. You can easily prepare the necessary backup materials for ASR through wizards that are part of Backup. By using ASR in combination with standard backups (data and application backups), you can restore a system to the state it was in when you backed it up. For more information about ASR, see Automated System Recovery (ASR) overview. For more information about other system recovery options, see Disaster Recovery.

Compatibility Mode
A new Compatibility Mode feature ensures out-of-box compatibility for many popular applications. Compatibility Mode technology provides an environment 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. Applications that experience problems after migration may benefit from being started in one of these compatibility environments. Advanced users can also take advantage of this technology to create solutions for their own applications.

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