Introduction to Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition RC2: Part 1

By Jason Zandri (Send Email)
Posted Feb 20, 2003


Jason Zandri kicks off his latest series with an overview of the Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition installation process, as currently laid out in the most recent build -- RC2 3718.main.021114-1947.

The idea behind this article (and future series) is to give an overview of the Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition installation process as currently laid out in the most recent build -- RC2 3718.main.021114-1947. This will eventually lead to the final (GOLD) release to market (RTM) copy of the operating system, which is scheduled for worldwide launch in April 2003.

The information contained within this article is based solely on personal experience with the RC2 product, and the information given, such as minimum system requirements and installation procedures, is current as of the time of writing (February 4, 2003). As with any product in development, all of the following is subject to change.

Please assume that when "Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition" is mentioned within this article, it is referring specifically to "Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition RC2 3718.main.021114-1947" unless otherwise mentioned.

One of the things you may notice is that the name used throughout the article is different from what will show up in many of the screen shots. This is because the name "Windows .NET Server 2003" has been changed recently to Windows Server 2003. You can read up a little more on this on the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Web site.

Windows Server 2003 Family Version Overview

  • 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.

  • Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition is designed with the day-to-day needs of the average enterprise in mind and is the progressive replacement for the Windows NT4 Server/Windows 2000 Server line of server operating systems.

  • Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition is designed specifically for the needs of larger customers, as their needs surpass the functional levels of Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition. Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition is the progressive replacement for the Windows NT4 Server Enterprise Edition/Windows 2000 Advanced Server line of server operating systems.

  • Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition is designed specifically for high-end hardware deployments for use on business-critical and mission-critical applications where the highest levels of scalability and availability are required. Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition is the progressive replacement for the Windows 2000 Datacenter Server line of operating systems.

Hardware Requirements for Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition

The minimum system requirements for Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition are as follow:
  • Minimum supported processor speed -- 133 MHz
  • Minimum recommended processor speed -- 550 MHz
  • Maximum number of CPUs supported per Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition server -- 4
  • Minimum amount of supported RAM -- 128 MB
  • Minimum amount of recommended RAM -- 256MB
  • Maximum amount of RAM supported by Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition -- 4 GB
  • Minimum amount of space required for installation -- 1.5 GB. Additional space may be required under the following circumstances:
    • When a FAT16 partition is in use, it requires 100 MB to 200 MB more free disk space than other supported file systems because of cluster sizes. NTFS is the recommended file system for any Server deployment.
    • If you are installing Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition from a network share, you will need approximately 100 MB to 200 MB more space than if you ran the Setup from the CD-ROM because setup needs to use that space for TEMP files associated with the installation. Also, the drive will need to have a formatted partition before the installation process starts so those files can be initially copied. If the partition does not exist beforehand, the over-the-network installation will fail.
    • 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 would need to increase.
  • Monitor requirements -- VGA or higher-resolution required; SVGA 800x600 or higher recommended
  • Other hardware required -- Keyboard and mouse (or other pointing device)

The optional hardware list features items such as CD-ROM or DVD drives, which are only required if a local installation is to be performed or it is otherwise deemed necessary. The optional hardware list also includes a listing for network adapters and related cables from the Hardware Compatibility List. (Personally, I don't see how you can have a server product and list a network connectivity peripheral as an optional requirement, but that is what is printed.)

Here is the table of all of the different requirement levels of the Windows Server 2003 family as provided from Microsoft on its Web site. Another table on the site compares the major features for each version.

Windows Server 2003 System Requirements at RC2
Requirement Standard Edition Enterprise Edition Datacenter Edition Web Edition
Minimum CPU Speed 133 MHz 133 MHz for x86-based computers

733 MHz for Itanium-based computers
400 MHz for x86-based computers

733 MHz for Itanium-based computers
133 MHz
Recommended CPU Speed 550 MHz 733 MHz 733 MHz 550 MHz
Minimum RAM 128 MB 128 MB 512 MB 128 MB
Recommended Minimum RAM 256 MB 256 MB 1 GB 256 MB
Maximum RAM 4 GB 32 GB for x86-based computers

64 GB for Itanium-based computers
64 GB for x86-based computers

512 GB for Itanium-based computers
2 GB
Multi-Processor Support Up to 4 Up to 8 Minimum 8 required

Maximum 64
Up to 2
Disk Space for Setup 1.5 GB 1.5 GB for x86-based computers

2.0 GB for Itanium-based computers
1.5 GB for x86-based computers

2.0 GB for Itanium-based computers
1.5 GB

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