What’s the Difference Between Windows and Windows Server?

Windows Server Manager Dashboard

Microsoft offers desktop and server versions of Windows. At first glance, Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 are similar, but each has different uses. Windows 10 excels in everyday use, while Windows Server manages many computers, files and services.

Windows 10 and Windows Server share similar code

If you load a blank copy of Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016, it would be easy to confuse the two first. They can have the same desktop, the same start button, and even the same job view button. They use the same kernel and can possibly run the same software. For example, you can install Google Chrome or Microsoft Office on both.

But the similarities stop there. Microsoft has designed Windows 10 to use it as the desktop in front of which you sit and Windows Server as a server (that's where its name is) that runs the services that people have access to on a network. While Windows Server has a desktop option, Microsoft recommends installing Windows Server without a graphical user interface (or remove it), leaving only a command line that reduces the overhead required to run the server. This includes a push to choose Nano Server, which removes the capabilities of the GUI and the local connection in exchange for using much less space than the standard server installation.

Windows Server includes server software

Select Server Roles Dialog Box

A few moments after loading Windows Server, if the GUI program is enabled, a Server Manager program will launch, indicating the first clear difference between the two operating systems. Here you can add server-specific features such as Windows Deployment Services, DHCP Services, and Active Directory Domain Services. These features allow the deployment of a remote operating system on other computers, creating a static IP address for client computers, controlling a network domain. for joining other computers to a domain and creating domain users. Features like these are not available for Windows 10 in native mode, although you can install third-party software such as the Apache Web Server.

In addition, Windows Server supports features such as SMB Direct for faster file sharing, better support for Resilient file system, the only way to get similar features without a server is to use Windows 10 Pro for workstations.

Since the servers are also designed to work together, you may have one server that performs one or both of the roles above, and another that takes other roles to distribute the work.

Windows Server supports high-end hardware

Windows Server also supports more powerful hardware. While Windows 10 Pro has a maximum limit of 2 TB of RAM, Windows Server allows 24 TB. It is unlikely that a desktop user will consider such a large amount of RAM, but servers can take advantage of their greater RAM capacity, between managing many users, computers and potential virtual machines via Hyper-V.

Windows 10 also has a limit on processors. Windows 10 Home Edition only supports one physical device. CPU, while Windows 10 Pro supports two. Server 2016 supports up to 64 sockets. Similarly, a 32-bit copy of Windows 10 only supports 32 cores, and the 64-bit version supports 256 cores, but Windows Server has no limit for cores.

To get something closer to these capabilities, you need to use Windows 10 Pro for Workstations, which supports 4 processors and 6 TB of RAM.

Windows Server is locked

Download warning of Internet Explorer

A bit like the LTSB branch of Windows 10, Windows Server has several features removed. You will not find Cortana, the Microsoft Store, Edge, or Chronology. Instead of Edge, Windows Server always uses Internet Explorer and it is locked to hinder normal web browsing. When downloading Google Chrome, we had to add exceptions for all Google URLs in order to complete the download. The additional security of Windows Server makes its presence known on almost all websites visited via Internet Explorer.

Windows Server does not support connecting with a Microsoft accountyou can not import your settings from another PC. Instead, you will need to either log in with a local account or an account domain account. While Windows 10 Home finally gets a version pause the feature, Windows Server can fully disable updates through Group Policy (such as Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows LTSB).

Windows 10 is the familiar experience of the office

Although Windows 10 lacks server-specific features, it is compensated in other areas. Windows 10 updates arrive faster and more often they have features like Chronology and Cortana missing on Windows Server, and it's not as locked. The installation of new software, especially downloaded from the Internet, requires a few simple steps and your preferences accompany you from one computer to the other if you connect with a Microsoft account.

In addition, Windows 10 has other features such as Your phone, Progressive Web Applications, and the the Windows Subsystem for Linux. Some of these features are based on the Microsoft Store, which Windows Server does not have access to.

And if you prefer, you can modify Windows 10 according to your needs and act more like Windows 7.

Windows Server is also more expensive

And if you have Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 keysyou can install Windows 10 for free. Windows Server 2016 licenses are not easy to buy (they are ultimately designed for businesses) and expensive. If you are a business, depending on your size and needs, a single license may cost between $ 500 and $ 6200. Most buyers use a volume license route instead. Windows Server is designed primarily for businesses. Its price is adapted.

If you are considering a Windows operating system for your personal computer, Windows 10 is your best choice. It is always possible to use Windows key 7, 8 or 8.1 to enable it, and features are custom designed for home use. But if you want a Windows operating system to manage other computers, at home or at work, provide a file server or a web server, Windows Server is the obvious choice.

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