Windows Vs Windows Server: How are They Different?

Windows and Windows Server both share same code but are used for different purposes.

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Key notes

  • Windows Server is designed for servers and high-end processors compared to Windows OS. 
  • This guide will highlight some crucial differences and similarities between both operating systems. 
Windows vs Windows Server

Microsoft offers different versions of operating systems, including Windows and Windows Server. These operating systems are similar as they share the same code but are used for distinct tasks.

This guide will explain what Windows Server is, compare Windows vs. Windows Server, and explore their differences. 

What is Windows Server?

Windows Server is a server operating system designed by Microsoft. It can run on servers and provide a platform for running applications, managing network resources, and storing data. 

It offers a range of features, including file and print services, web server services, directory services, and virtualization. 

Organizations of different sizes use this operating system version to support several business apps and services, such as web apps, cloud services, databases, and more. The latest version of Windows Server is Windows Server 2022.

Windows vs. Windows Server What are the differences? 

1. User Interface

One of the most significant differences is the user interface of Windows 10/11. The latest Windows version is specifically for personal computers. It has a graphical user interface optimized for touch and keyboard/mouse input. 

However, Windows Server manages servers remotely using Windows tools such as PowerShell and Remote Desktop. The user interface of this operating system is not user-friendly and specifically designed for administration. It is ideal for server administrators who prefer a command-line interface.

2. Hardware support

Windows 10 is designed to run on low-end laptops and high-end gaming PCs. It is consumer-oriented and optimized to use graphics cards and gaming peripherals. 

On the other hand, Windows Server is optimized for server-class hardware, like large amounts of RAM and high-end processors. It also supports hardware features such as hot-swappable hard drives and redundant power supplies, which are not available with the Windows 10 version. 

3. Workloads

Windows Server is precisely developed for server workloads. Therefore it includes tools and features such as Hyper-V( create and manage virtual machines), which are not available with Windows 10/11. 

Windows Server also has tools to manage Active Directory, which organizes user accounts, security groups, and other network resources.

 In contrast, Windows 10 is primarily used for personal computing tasks, such as browsing the web, running productivity applications, and playing games.

4. Licensing

Windows vs Windows Server

Windows 10/11 is a standalone product with one license per device. However, the license for Windows Server is based on the number of processors and cores of the server, with a minimum of eight cores required per processor. So, the cost of licensing Windows Server is relatively high compared to Windows 10.

5. Security

Credential guard Windows vs Windows Server

Windows 10/11 has basic security features such as Windows Defender and BitLocker encryption. However, Along with these basic features, Windows Server also comes with some additional features such as Credential Guard(protect against pass-the-hash attacks), Just Enough Administration(delegate administration for anything managed by PowerShell), and NAP( enforce compliance with network health policies) to secure the servers.

6. Updates and support

Microsoft regularly releases monthly updates for Windows 10/11, which aim to fix bugs, introduce new features, and enhance performance. The Windows Update feature in the Settings app automatically installs these updates.

Windows Server also receives regular updates but is not frequently released as they require more testing before being installed in the production environment. Also, Windows Server has a longer support lifecycle than Windows. 

7. File sharing 

Windows comes with basic file-sharing features allowing users to share files and folders over a network. In addition, it supports the SMB protocol for file sharing, which enables users to access shared files and folders from any device on the network. 

Windows Server comes with advanced file-sharing features, including Access-based Enumeration (allows users to see only the files and folders they have permission to access), Distributed File System (creates a logical view of file shares distributed across multiple servers as a single shared folder), and File Server Resource Manager( manage and classify data stored on file servers)

8. Storage 

Windows has basic storage capabilities, and it supports NTFS and FAT file systems for storing data on hard drives and external storage devices. In addition, it provides essential software-based RAID support for data redundancy. 

Windows Server provides more advanced storage capabilities. For example, it comes with Storage Spaces (which create virtual disks by grouping physical disks together), Storage QoS (which manages the performance of storage resources), and Data Deduplication (which removes duplicate data).  

9. Scalability 

Windows is scalable, but you can only use it on a single device. You can install it on a wide range of hardware but only for personal and home use. 

In contrast, Windows Server is highly scalable, allowing businesses to add or remove hardware resources easily. In addition, you can install it on multiple servers and use it to manage large-scale networks and data centers. This makes it ideal for businesses that require flexible IT infrastructure.

10. Remote access 

Windows has essential remote access tools designed for home and personal use. An inbuilt feature is Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), which enables you to access computers from remote locations and connect to other devices via the Internet. 

On the other hand, Windows Server provides robust remote access capabilities through Remote Desktop Services (RDS). The feature enables administrators to securely manage and deliver remote desktops, applications, and services to users over the Internet or a corporate network.

Further, Windows Server also comes with other remote access features, including Virtual Private Network (VPN) and DirectAccess, delivering secure remote connectivity to corporate networks. If you’re just starting out, you can check out some of the cheapest Windows servers.

In conclusion, Microsoft developed Windows and Windows Server, which are two distinct operating system versions for different purposes.

They share a few similarities but significantly differ in workload, features, functionality, licensing, etc. If you have any questions or concerns about Windows vs. Windows Server, please mention them in the comments section below. 

More about the topics: windows 10, Windows 11, windows server