Home > Windows > Windows Server 2003 Worth the Wait Windows Server 2003 Worth the Wait Eugenia Loli 2003-06-06 Windows 48 Comments “Easy to manage, Windows Server 2003 is a strong performer” ComputerWorld says in their review. OSNews featured a guide of “Win2k3 as a workstation” a few days ago. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 48 Comments 2003-06-06 6:01 am *sigh*. its a real pity. i like MS products for their ease of use. but when it comes to something i can depend on, all my servers are *nix. ( i like windows 2000/xp btw, and use them for my desktop systems – they are rock solid. some of the time. ) 2003-06-06 6:02 am how come she quotes computerworld.com.my? lol … close to home 2003-06-06 7:18 am Maybe the best Windows OS, but still Windows… 2003-06-06 7:41 am i don’t see how it’s a real pity. in (microsoft’s in house) tests they’ve been quoted as saying “2 and 3 month uptimes aren’t uncommon at this stage. we’re expecting full 1 year uptimes by 2003’s final release” that sounds like nothing but good news to me 2003-06-06 7:49 am I think the “pity” is that the same system cannot be used on desktop and server. 2/3 mo-1 yr uptimes are nothing special, *nix machines do 2/3 yrs no sweat. 2003-06-06 8:16 am Windows cannot even come near *nix uptimes. *nix uptimes are something you can brag about. Windows uptimes are minor miracles. <seraph> Uptime: 1 Month 2 Days 18 Hours <psynapse> NO SHIT D3WD!!! THATS 31337!!!!111 I have a *nix desktop thats been on for ~ 3 months now. And yes its in use. Multimedia/cdrw machine too. 2003-06-06 8:36 am I can’t see how they can get much more than that unless they don’t issue any “fixes/patches”. It wil need a reboot. 2003-06-06 8:42 am i’m not starting a windows versus *nix debate. they’re both good for different applications. personally, i really can’t be bothered setting up and installing a new operating system, when i know i need windows for most games. it’s somewhat lacking in the support for serious audio apps too. 2003-06-06 8:50 am Besides problems with uptimes, another problem with Windows is that you have to reboot when making changes. Does this version change that? Suppose i change my config, do i need to reboot? And have downtime?? 2003-06-06 9:07 am Alot of the problems can be traced right back to the stupid function in the win32 api that allows programmers to lock files when in use. God only knows why programmers do such stupid things, otherwise all one would need to do if there wasn’t that issue, was to restart the respective service after replacing the file. 2003-06-06 9:07 am You still need to reboot but not for all things. I read somewhere that they tried to reduce the number of reboots. When i tried win2k3 i onlt had to reboot when installing my video driver. Sound drivers and other drivers didn’t need me to reboot they just worked. But that new securety patch to IE made you reboot win2k3 for example 2003-06-06 9:17 am That issue with the driver has nothing to do with Windows and everything to do with the stupid video card producers who can’t write a decent installation program. Having installed a Matrox driver, even though GDI+ rebooted itself and the desktop was using the new matrox driver the installer still insisted on rebooting. I stress again, this isn’t a Windows issue, it is an installer issue. 2003-06-06 9:42 am Someone said : “When i tried win2k3 i onlt had to reboot when installing my video driver. ” I think it is because in windows NT , since 3.51 ( and 2000, and XP ), a part of gdi is in the kernel. It would be surprising to make people reboot just for graphic drivers, when all the other drivers don’t need. 2003-06-06 9:44 am I meant gdi is in kernel mode, of course, and not in the kernel… 2003-06-06 11:40 am It is interesting that Microsoft puts out some great fixes to their Server products because they have to work and are often competing with Linux and UNIX servers. And these fixes never make it to the “Professional” or “Home” versions of the OS. Because Microsoft knows they have a monopoly here where there is no competition and does not want to go to the expense of porting and testing their fixes. For example, Eugenia wrote in one of her earlier columns about how much faster Windows 2003 was. Why is Microsoft not making the speed improvements available to the desktop user? Can you say “illegal monopoly”? And in the latest MSDN, there are tons of API fixes and improvements that Microsoft is not porting to the desktop. The funny thing is for Microsoft “Server”, they don’t go back to the non-kernel graphics driver mode. This one change would make the server much more stable and wouldn’t change performance as servers don’t do much graphics. With all their development dollars, Microsoft is too cheap to make improvements that benefit only the customer. All in all, it is just plain sickening to see how Microsoft treats their customers. 2003-06-06 11:49 am > I think it is because in windows NT , since 3.51 ( and 2000, and XP ), a part of gdi is in the kernel. Actually, that change was made in NT 4.0. 3.51 was the last revision of NT which had the graphics subsystem entirely in ring 3. 2003-06-06 11:52 am I also think those reboot are very annoying. When changing IP configuration, identification, adding a protocol, you need to reboot. If your machine is a server, it can be a problem for users too. Win2000 was a big step from NT 4 (I remember of a NT 4 Server restarting: – do you often restart the server? – about once a week, yes – don’t you think it’s weird? – no, it hangs, we reboot) It was a problem of lack of memory leak in an application, what brought the server down. Windows 2000 is really more reliable on this point: it brings down the application. We can expect a lot of enhancements in Windows server 2003. Even in the price! 2003-06-06 12:07 pm There are some nice features in Windows Server 2003 which I haven’t seen anywhere else. For example, lets say you are using Win2k3 as a file server and one of your users overwrites one of their critical files. Instead of going to tape, you can just right click on the file, select properties, and there is a whole versioning tab which allows you to roll back to a previous version. Or, from an admin standpoint, lets say you modify the IIS 6 xml metadata file trying to tweak settings (which is new to Win2k3 as a result of their total rewrite of IIS). Instead of handling making copies of the previous version before you make the changes, you can just use the file versioning to rollback. Very cool! Not everything that that “evil” company out in Washington produces is bad just because they produce it. 2003-06-06 12:11 pm Of course it’s easy to manage, nothing runs on it (yet). 2003-06-06 12:35 pm You know, many people could use those nice features on the desktop. However, we are stuck with that illegal evil monopoly which doesn’t port Windows 2003 to the desktop until 2005… 2003-06-06 1:05 pm Because Microsoft knows they have a monopoly here where there is no competition and does not want to go to the expense of porting and testing their fixes. Someone better tell this to Microsoft, cause they wasted a whole lot of time and money on Windows XP! Why is Microsoft not making the speed improvements available to the desktop user? Windows XP (with all the eye candy turned off) is a vast speed improvement to Windows 2000 – and is with the effects turned on, although it needs more RAM. Same likewise for Windows 2000 vs NT 4.0. In fact I would say the speed difference between 2000 and 4.0 is much greater than between 2003 and XP. And in the latest MSDN, there are tons of API fixes and improvements that Microsoft is not porting to the desktop. Oh, how sure are you? Windows 2003 was the first release after their security initiative, and they have yet to release a desktop yet. If they do something like Windows 2003 to the desktop, it surely be more than a service pack (it after all breaks a lot of binary compatiblity, for one). That means a full release. Then ABMers like you bash Microsoft for releasing too much versions of Windows too fast, and again, trumpt up the “illegal monopoly” card. This one change would make the server much more stable and wouldn’t change performance as servers don’t do much graphics. Most graphics related crashes happen to drivers written for older OSes, as well as badly written ones by obscure companies. I went to check all x86 and IA64 server companies’ websites I know of, and found not one server model that comes with a cheap video card which either has drivers written a decade ago or was written by a Chinese kido in Shanghai. With all their development dollars, Microsoft is too cheap to make improvements that benefit only the customer. Yes, after all, Microsoft only makes one product, Windows, and should spend all of their money on it. All in all, it is just plain sickening to see how Microsoft treats their customers. Talking about what’s sickening… 2003-06-06 1:08 pm Windows 2003 was the first release after their security initiative, and they have yet to release a desktop yet. Rephrase: Windows 2003 was the first release after their security initiative, and they have yet to release a desktop version, or even a service pack since then, and it has only been weeks! 2003-06-06 1:33 pm As you may have noticed in Eugenia’s article, it is fairly straightforward to turn “Server” into “Professional”. If Eugenia could do it, why didn’t Microsoft make it available? Also Windows 2003 does not contain any significant changes based on security that would need to be specially ported to the “Professional” version. I think you’re very lenient on the company which holds monopolies on desktop operating systems and office suites. Microsoft has the money to do it. There is a customer benefit. Why not give the customer a better OS when it is so little work to make “Server” into “Professional”? 2003-06-06 1:38 pm >>>>>>>>> For example, Eugenia wrote in one of her earlier columns about how much faster Windows 2003 was. Why is Microsoft not making the speed improvements available to the desktop user? <<<<<<<<< Yesterday MS released a patch. While the official description of the patch doesn’t seem too great, many users reported improved speed. Boot time is said to be 5 seconds shorter and applications are reported to launch faster. I haven’t installed the patch yet, but it seems quite cool. See http://www.warp2search.net/article.php?sid=12552&mode=thread&order=… (english) or http://www.winfuture.de/web/index.php?inhalt=run/news/news.showem.p… (german) 2003-06-06 2:35 pm Win123k or whatever it’s called is the first MS Windows platform that I will never even know about. I’m oblivious to Microsoft products and I couldn’t be happier about that. 2003-06-06 2:43 pm Yes, after all, Microsoft only makes one product, Windows, and should spend all of their money on it. This is not really true… Microsoft also makes games, which almost all the time suck. They also spend their time making other products such as Office, which is a nice tool, And Plus! which is not needed, and stupid for a customer to waste their money on. If Microsoft WOULD spend all their time and money developing windows, it would be great, maybe we would have something stable. Windows finally came out with a solid product… CE, ME, NT 2003-06-06 3:12 pm Linux: [chrisf@chrome chrisf]$ uptime 8:30am up 453 days, 19:44, 4 users, load average: 0.05, 0.05, 0.00 Windows: 3 days, 17 hours, 21 minutes, 30 seconds 2003-06-06 3:28 pm Does Windows 2003 Server require product activation? The good thing about Solaris, Linux, BSD’s, Oracle, etc. is that you can download these enterprise level software and use them for development/learning purposes. This keeps you knowledgeable in their use and makes you push for these solutions when you see what they are capable of. 2003-06-06 3:37 pm Yes. 2003-06-06 3:38 pm Applying a high price to the operating system is a sales trick. As much as Microsoft complains about software piracy the whole MS empire is built and sustained by it. By setting a higher bar fo this OS, MS is virtually guaranteeing that it will be heavily pirated, and hence the technology is ADOPTED, by users as a standard. It’s just market psychology that people will gravitate to the object that gives them a perception of better value. A thefted $800 operating system *must* be ‘better’ than a thefted $29 operating system, (isn’t it?). You don’t see people rushing out to steal cow turds do you…. MS will (quietly) consider it a favour if everyone rushes out to steal this OS (and soon). Publicly they may hang a few ‘usual suspects’. Welcome to the wild and wooly world of software marketing! 2003-06-06 3:48 pm Are you comparing a $29 OS to cow turd? 2003-06-06 3:52 pm Windows XP (with all the eye candy turned off) is a vast speed improvement to Windows 2000 – and is with the effects turned on, although it needs more RAM. Same likewise for Windows 2000 vs NT 4.0. In fact I would say the speed difference between 2000 and 4.0 is much greater than between 2003 and XP. I have to disagree. Where do you get those facts??? Win2000 is slower than Win98 and WinXP is even slower. But not only that, they require more ram and faster CPU’s in order to run prober. But that is not all, for each new version, the code size is just “exploding”, making it very clear that Microsoft has no idea about “low footprint” (and no, your code won’t double in size because you double the features). So I’ll stick to my old Win98SE. It’s somewhat stable, and I can play games on it, without doing the “Wintel” race. 2003-06-06 4:48 pm //[chrisf@chrome chrisf]$ uptime 8:30am up 453 days, 19:44, 4 users, load average: 0.05, 0.05, 0.00 // .05 is a “high load” ??? Since when? 2003-06-06 5:32 pm Of course all the Microsoft applications started instantly. They load when the system boots. Also, doesn’t this reviewer know that when Windows 2003 (or XP or 2000) starts up, most of the services and crap aren’t started until AFTER the logon screen is up. MS does a good job of fooling you into thinking that it boots fast. It takes another 3-4 minutes after the logon screen is up before you can actually use the system. And if you ask me, the UI is SLOW, and is very very prone to crashing. I got to play around with the free evaluation they sent out to people, and it was so horrible. I fired up IE, and it had issues with text input, and when i tried to put IE to it’s death by ‘end-tasking’ it, then all I wound up getting was “This process cannot be shut down because it is being debugged.” I got so pissed that I took my 2k3 CD outside, doused it in lighter fluid, and lit it on fire. No kidding. I then put 2000 Pro on that same machine, and it ran perfect. So you can’t tell me that there was some sort of hardware issue that this was a rare instance of 2k3 not running right, I think it’s a POS. That article is so whacked. I love how the author throws in the “installation was slow” to make it seem like a criticism. The compatibility problem is also turned into a “feature not a problem”. Also, why the hell would anyone want to spend $1000-$1500 for a DESKTOP OPERATING SYSTEM? HELLO? This is the dumbest thing I’ve seen yet. It’s a shame that thier OS for users isn’t good enough to be used as a server… 2003-06-06 6:19 pm My System: motherboard and case: $260 CPU: $100 RAM: $100 harddrive: $150 CDRW: $100 OS: $0 Total: $710 features: stable, secure, modular and efficient, 50% win32 compatible, updates all applications via the intra/internet, includes source code and drivers for all supported hardware. Alternative: motherboard and case: $260 CPU: $100 RAM: $100 harddrive: $150 CDRW: $100 OS: $800 Total: $1510 features: fast, 90% win32 compatible. Even if Microsoft gave Windows 2003 away for free and included the source code it would have a difficult time competing with my OS. 2003-06-06 6:32 pm If you give Win2k the right hardware, it will run faster than 98SE on that very same hardware… sure it takes longer to boot, but that’s not exactly the speed of the OS. XP in a LOT of areas is a lot snapier than 2000, even with the skinning service on. Billy: Well, when you use a beta product, it’s not going to be perfect, the final is FAR different. I don’t know where you got it that it takes 3 to 4mins after you log in for Windows to be useable, may be if you are loading tons and tons of uneeded apps and services, which would take extra amount of time to load on ANY OS. In other words, how about adding something of VALUE to the conversation instead of just trolling. The day the internet took off is the day the internet turned to trash, thanks to people like you. 2003-06-06 6:58 pm I have used Windows extensively since version 3.0. There has always been a speed decrease with each release unless you bought new hardware. To state the contrary is simply not true. My 486DX 33 ran Windows 3.1 just fine, but Windows 95 sucked on it. My Pentium 200Mhz machine ran Windows 95 and NT 4.0 just fine, but Windows 98 ran a bit sluggish on it. Windows 2000 and ME did not run on that machine very well at all. Windows 2000 runs just fine on my Pentium III 1000Mhz machine, but Windows XP and Windows 2003 Server both run like frozen syrup on it. It is the machines that are getting faster, not Windows. 2003-06-06 7:22 pm I am afraid you are deeply mistaken. First, there should be no problem running XP or 2003 on a 1ghz system, if you are, then I suggest your check out your system, how much RAM do you have, etc…. Simply put, if you give 2000 enough hardware, it will run faster than if 98SE or NT4 were running on the same hardware, same goes for all the releases. 2003-06-06 7:53 pm On my 512Mb 1.3Ghz Athlon, I used to run 98SE and 2K. 2K was significantly less responsive, booting into 98SE gave an obvious speed increase. On my 1Gb Athlon XP 2400+, I initially ran 2K then upgraded to XP. Again there was a noticable drop in overall speed, even with all the eye candy turned off. Obviously there’s nothing scientific about this, it’s purely my perception of the system’s speed. But to me Windows seems to have become slower with each new release. 2003-06-06 7:59 pm With my sample size of two (a coworker and me) XP (with candy) ran much faster on our hardware than a 1-2 year old install of 98. Could be the OS speeded things up. Or it could be that it simply cleaned things up (I don’t install tons of junk though so I doubt it accounted for all of the increase). 2003-06-06 8:25 pm For example, lets say you are using Win2k3 as a file server and one of your users overwrites one of their critical files. Instead of going to tape, you can just right click on the file, select properties, and there is a whole versioning tab which allows you to roll back to a previous version. The ‘salvage’ feature in Netware allows you to do the same thing, albeit in a different way. It works with deleted files as well. Out of all the reviews i’ve read, the speed gains seem to be the only thing going for it. Nothing else really impresses me so far, but then again we are a Netware shop here, so we our servers run on a NOS which is far beyond Windows NT/2000/2003 in the features department. 2003-06-06 8:28 pm Yes, after all, Microsoft only makes one product, Windows, and should spend all of their money on it. They may as well, considering that (and applications) are the only divisions which make money for them. 2003-06-06 11:42 pm Its been over 6 years since microsoft started to write AD to be as good as netware’s NDS, can i use it like NDS now? Can i now add security groups inside security groups? Can I add a security group without a email address to an exchange public folder now? 2003-06-07 12:02 am In my experience with triple booting 2k, XP and Mandrake 9, I have found 2K to be the fastest and most responsive with XP just a little behind (skinning turned off and a few speed tweaks applied). I have a fairy modest machine running a 1.3ghz Duron with 256 SDRAM and a 64meg Geforce2. By comparison (and a little off topic)the KDE or Gnome desktops in Mandrake are very responsive (Gnome more so) but app loading times are very frustrating. In 2003 it shouldn’t take a text editor 5-7 seconds to load. Windows loads these things (even third party ones) instantly. 2003-06-07 12:52 am “Are you comparing a $29 OS to cow turd?” No, it’s a perception of value comment. On the other hand, a cow turd could make a great OS. 1.) The content has been thoroughly rumenated over. 2.) The result has been thoroughly digested and condensed into it’s most compact form. 3.) It’s softer on the hands when typing. 4.) Tastes great on crackers (try it!) pete 2003-06-07 1:41 am Until shutdown takes no more than a couple of seconds i think that they are all crap (windows AND LINUX). 2003-06-07 4:37 am From the actual article (you’ve all read it, right?): “The features in the Windows System Resource Management snap-ins to the Microsoft Management Console framework include the ability to manage processes in a much more granular way, with a level of detail that is old hat to those experienced with the flexibility of Unix and mainframe environments.” So Windows Server is finally catching up with the power, control and stability of Unices. That’s good news for MS, I guess, but it also goes to show that, when servers are concerned, it really is *nix that holds the upper hand – and I don’t think that’s about to change anytime soon, as the *nix server space continues to elvove as well. I guess MS thinks that IT departments are ready to shell out hundreds of dollars just to get pretty GUI administrative tools…well, some will. Many others won’t, and won’t buy into MS’s upgrade hell. 2003-06-07 5:31 pm With ext3 the shutdown time on my Linux boxes has much improved. It now takes less than a second to press the power button and shutdown my computer. Haven’t lost any important data yet.