IIS 6.0 on Windows Server 2003: Installation and the Operating System

IIS 6.0 on Windows Server 2003: Installation and the Operating System


July 23, 2003

Welcome to the first installment of Internet Information Services 6.0 on Windows Server 2003. This series of articles is designed as both a refresher for the IT professional familiar with designing and administrating IIS 4 and IIS 5 as well as for newcomers looking to get their feet wet.

This installment begins the introduction to Internet Information Services 6.0 on Windows Server 2003 by providing an overview of the underlying operating system, explaining some of the differences between the versions. We are also providing an accompanying article that offer a quick refresher on file systems.

There are four versions in the Windows 2003 Server family.

Windows Server 2003 Web Edition
Minimum Computer/Processor 133 MHz or higher Pentium-compatible CPU
Recommended Computer/Processor 550 MHz or higher Pentium-compatible CPU
Minimum Memory Supported 128 MB RAM
Recommended Memory 256 MB RAM
Maximum Memory 2 GB
Hard Disk 2 GB hard disk with a minimum of 1.5 GB free space.
(Additional free hard disk space is required if installing over a network.)
CPU Support Up to two CPUs on one machine

Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition

Minimum Computer/Processor 133 MHz or higher Pentium-compatible CPU
Recommended Computer/Processor 550 MHz or higher Pentium-compatible CPU
Minimum Memory supported 128 MB
Recommended Memory 256 MB
Maximum Memory 4 GB
Hard Disk 2 GB hard disk with a minimum of 1.5 GB free space.
(Additional free hard disk space is required if installing over a network.)
CPU Support Up to four CPUs on one machine

Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition

Minimum Computer/Processor 133 MHz for x86-based deployments, 733 MHz for Itanium-based deployments
Recommended Computer/Processor 733 MHz or higher Pentium-compatible CPU on both x86-based and Itanium-based systems
Minimum Memory Supported 128 MB
Recommended Memory 256 MB
Maximum Memory 32 GB for x86-based deployments, 64 GB for Itanium-based deployments
Hard Disk 1.5 GB for x86-based systems, 2.0 GB for Itanium-based systems
(Additional free hard disk space is required if installing over a network.)
CPU Support Up to eight CPUs on one machine

Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition

Minimum Computer/Processor 400 MHz for x86-based deployments; 733 MHz for Itanium-based deployments
Recommended Computer/Processor 733 MHz or higher Pentium-compatible CPU on both x86-based and Itanium-based systems
Minimum Memory Supported 512 MB
Recommended Memory 1 GB
Maximum Memory 64 GB for x86-based deployments; 512 GB for Itanium-based deployments
Hard Disk 1.5 GB for x86-based systems; 2.0 GB for Itanium-based systems
(Additional free hard disk space is required if installing over a network.)
CPU Support A minimum of eight CPUs on one machine and a maximum of 64

The Upgrade and Potential Pitfalls

Direct upgrades to Windows Server 2003 are possible from the following versions of Windows:

  • Windows NT Server 4.0 with Service Pack 5 or later
  • Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition, with Service Pack 5 or later
  • Windows 2000 Server

When upgrading, there is one gotcha where Remote Storage is concerned. Remote Storage is not included on Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition, and if you are using Windows 2000 Server (not Advanced Server, but just "Server") with Remote Storage, you will not be able to install an upgrade to Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition. You will have the option to either upgrade directly to Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition or to remove Remote Storage (through Add/Remove Programs in Control Panel) from the current installation of Windows 2000 Server.

If you remove Remote Storage you can then upgrade to Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition. The other option is to install Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition as a new installation, which will effectively allow you to configure the server in a dual-boot configuration.

Upgrade installations to Windows Server 2003 are also not possible from Windows 9x, ME, NT Workstation, 2000 Professional, and XP Home or XP Professional. However, clean installations over the current operating system installations are possible. You can also perform a clean installation of Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition as a new installation to another partition, which effectively allows you to configure the server in a dual boot configuration.

(Note: Although dual-boot configurations are allowed, they are not recommended on production servers for security reasons.)

Also, if you have Windows NT 4.0 Server Enterprise Edition running Service Pack 5 or later, you can upgrade directly to Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition, but not to Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition. A clean installation to Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition is available. If you have a version of Windows NT earlier than 4.0, such as Windows NT Server 3.x, you cannot upgrade directly to any product in the Windows Server 2003 family. You must first upgrade to Windows NT 4.0, apply Service Pack 5, and then perform a direct upgrade if desired. (This is not recommended, however.)

There is also a known issue with Windows Server 2003 on some Pentium Pro or Pentium II dual-processor or multiple-processor servers where the server may fire up with only one processor.

This situation may occur if you upgrade from Windows NT 4.0 or Windows 2000 to Windows Server 2003. The error message of "Unsupported Multiprocessor Configuration" will be displayed according to Microsoft Knowledge Base Article - 319091.

The Unsupported Multiprocessor Configuration issue affects the following Intel processors:

x86 Family 6 Model 1 Stepping X GenuineIntel (where X = 1, 2, 6, 7, or 9)
x86 Family 6 Model 3 Stepping X GenuineIntel (where X = 3 or 4)

When you perform the compatibility check after upgrading the operating system you may receive the following message if you are using these processors:

"Microsoft Windows Server 2003 family of operating systems and the processors
in this system do not operate together in a multiprocessor configuration."

The upgrade will continue, but on completion, Windows Server 2003 will operate with only a single processor.

Not very much information is available on this, and the only real solution to the issue is to use processors with different revision levels.

Also important to remember is that when a FAT16 partition is in use it will normally require you to supply 100 MB to 200 MB of additional free disk space than FAT32 or NTFS (which is the recommended file system for any Server deployment) do because of the cluster sizes in use on 2 GB FAT16 partitions.

For a discussion of file system options and advantages and disadvantages of each, please see our related article, "Understanding File System Options."

Installing any of the Windows Server 2003 versions from a network share, requires approximately 100 MB to 200 MB of additional free disk space because the setup program needs space for the TEMP files associated with the installation. This will also require that the currently installed hard drive or disk array be formatted beforehand so the installation process can copy over the needed files. If a formatted partition does not exist, the network installation will not be able to continue.

The amount of disk space required for the swapfile will affect the size of the initial partition, as it is directionally proportional to the amount of physical memory installed in the system. Larger amounts of RAM installed require a larger swapfile, and thus, the minimum hard drive free space requirements must increase.

As far as the different versions of the Windows Server 2003 operating system family are concerned, all allow you to run the system configured as an IIS 6.0 server but there are some subtle differences between the versions beyond just what we detailed previously.

For the most part, Windows Server 2003 Web Server Edition is designed specifically for low-end and entry-level Web hosting environments, providing a specific platform for deploying Web services and applications. The Windows .NET Framework is included with Windows Server 2003 Web Server Edition, as is ASP.NET and the Network Load Balancing feature found on all of the other Windows Server 2003 versions.

There are some intentional limitations to Windows Server 2003 Web Server Edition that go beyond the IIS application itself, but it is important to call them out in the event the deployment of your system needs to incorporate other functions not allowed under that version of the operating system.

Windows Server 2003 Web Server Edition can be set up as a Virtual Private Network (VPN) server but only for a limited number of connections per media type: LAN, remote access (dial-up), and direct cable connection are all limited to one connection each. Server Message Block connections are limited to 10 simultaneous connections.

Web Server Edition cannot be installed as part of a server cluster via the operating system. (It may be possible to cluster this type of deployment via a third party configuration; it is simply something that cannot be done via the clustering services in Windows Server 2003.)

The Web Server Edition also cannot be installed as a Terminal Server; however, Remote Desktop for Administration connections can be made to and from the system.

Windows Server 2003 Web Server Edition also does not support remote storage or UDDI services.

Web Server Edition does not have support for printer and fax sharing, and it does not support IR devices. Also, this version does not offer file or print server support for Macintosh systems.

Finally, Web Server Edition cannot be deployed as a RIS server, nor can ISA server be installed on it, and it cannot be established as a domain controller. Web Server Edition cannot be installed as a certification authority, and it cannot be used as an Exchange Server or Microsoft SQL Server, nor can it be set up as a Streaming Media Server.

As far as the other members of the Windows Server 2003 family of operating system are concerned, Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition is designed with the day-to-day needs of the average enterprise in mind and is the suggested replacement for the Windows NT4 Server and Windows 2000 Server server operating systems.

Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition is designed specifically for larger implementations and deployments that surpass the functional levels of Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition. Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition is the suggested replacement for the Windows NT4 Server Enterprise Edition and Windows 2000 Advanced Server line of server operating systems.

Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition is designed for high-end hardware implementations and deployments of business-critical and mission-critical applications to provide the highest levels of scalability and availability as required. Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition is the suggested replacement for the Windows 2000 Datacenter Server line of operating systems.