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Windows Server Systems

Windows Server is the brand name Microsoft use for the range of servers since the release of Windows Server 2003. Windows Server system have a wide range of uses, from a simple file server and RAID array services through to providing online services, such as cloud storage and web hosting. Windows Server 2016 developed concurrently with Windows 10 is expected to be released in the third quarter of 2016.

The first Microsoft server system was released in 1993 with NT 3.1, constantly developing and improving the product. At DiskEng we have seen hard disk drives from many Windows Server systems, from standalone drives and RAID arrays using many different architectures, with a high rate of successful data recoveries.

Early Windows Server Systems

With the release of Windows NT 3.1 the interface based on Windows 3.1, Microsoft also introduced the NTFS file system, now the mainstay of all Microsoft operating systems. The release of Windows NT 3.51 in 1995 saw the introduction of improved networking, integrating the Novell NetWare protocol.

Windows NT 4.0 was released in 1996 saw a change of interface, matching Windows 95, which was not replaced until 2000 when Windows 2000 was released. Windows 2000 was specifically aimed at the business market, the first server edition to include Active Directory, DNS Server, DHCP Server and Group Policy services, among the many features still in common use on the latest Windows servers.

Windows Server Branding

In 2003 Microsoft decided rebranding was necessary to help avoid confusion, with the introduction of Windows Server 2003. This has been followed by Windows Server 2008 and 2012, which are also commonly used for running MSSQL and Exchange servers among the many applications available.

The third quarter of 2016 should see the release of Windows 2016, developed alongside Windows 10, which includes many new features. A welcome feature is Soft Restart, which allows the boot process to skip the lengthy hardware initialisation if it had not been changed.

Windows Server and Data Recovery

Windows Server systems include the ability to configure directly connected hard disk drives and those provided through protocols such as iSCSI into a RAID array. All hard disk drives and RAID arrays are almost exclusively format using the NTFS file system, which is both extremely well documented, with many examples seen for data recovery. This means DiskEng’s success rate at recovering data from Windows Server systems is very high.

Most data recoveries from Windows server systems are due to physical hardware failure. Although a backup strategy is recommended for all systems, in particular servers, it is alarming how many companies have an inadequate service or none in place at all. Data corruption is rare on server systems, with the majority of other server systems arriving for data recovery being due to user error, such as deleting or reformatting a partition.

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