Windows Server Definitions

This glossary explains the meaning of key words and phrases that information technology (IT) and business professionals use when discussing Microsoft Windows Server and related software products. You can find additional definitions by visiting WhatIs.com or using the search box below.

  • #

    Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certification

    Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certification is the name of a suite of entry-level certifications offered by Microsoft that signify fundamental technology knowledge in those who earn it.

  • A

    AccessEnum

    AccessEnum is a free Sysinternals tool that offers administrators a view of the full file system and registry security settings to ensure that users have appropriate permissions to access files and directories.

  • active directory

    Active Directory (AD) is Microsoft's proprietary directory service.

  • Active Directory Certificate Services (AD CS)

    Active Directory Certificate Services (AD CS) is an Active Directory tool that lets administrators customize services in order to issue and manage public key certificates.

  • Active Directory domain (AD domain)

    An Active Directory domain is a collection of objects within a Microsoft Active Directory network. An object can be a single user or a group or it can be a hardware component, such as a computer or printer.

  • Active Directory forest (AD forest)

    An Active Directory forest is the highest level of organization within Active Directory.

  • Active Directory functional levels

    Active Directory functional levels are controls that specify which advanced Active Directory domain features can be used in an enterprise domain. The enterprise domain is usually comprised of domain controllers that run on different versions of the Windows Server operating system.

  • Active Directory tree (AD tree)

    An Active Directory tree is a collection of domains within a Microsoft Active Directory network.

  • AMIBIOS (AMI BIOS)

    AMIBIOS is one of the original brands of basic input/output system (BIOS) chip and is probably the most commonly installed BIOS chip in today's personal computers.

  • Azure DevOps (formerly Visual Studio Team Services)

    Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) -- rebranded as Azure DevOps in 2018 -- is an Azure cloud-hosted extension of Microsoft's Team Foundation Server (TFS) -- now called Azure DvOps -- that assist development teams with special tools and services for software programmers, analysts and testers as well as IT project or team managers.

  • B

    backup domain controller (Windows NT)

    A backup domain controller (BDC) is a role a Windows NT computer takes on to help manage access to network resources.

  • batch file

    A batch file is a text file that contains a sequence of commands for a computer operating system.

  • blue screen of death (BSOD)

    Officially called the stop screen, or stop error, the blue screen of death (BSOD) is a most unwanted error, second only to malware or ransomware in indicating that a user is in for a very bad day.

  • boot partition

    A boot partition is a disk partition responsible for holding Windows system files when booting up Windows.

  • built-in administrator account

    The built-in administrator account is the first account created when an OS is installed on a new standalone server, member server or workstation.

  • C

    C

    C is a structured, procedural programming language that has been widely used both for operating systems and applications and that has had a wide following in the academic community.

  • canonical name

    A canonical name is the properly denoted host name of a computer or network server... (Continued)

  • carbon copy (cc)

    In e-mail, a carbon copy (abbreviated "cc," and sometimes "fcc" for "first carbon copy") is a copy of a note sent to an addressee other than the main addressee.

  • catastrophic failure

    Catastrophic failure is a complete, sudden, often unexpected breakdown in a machine, electronic system, computer or network. This may occur as a result of a hardware event such as a disk drive crash, memory chip failure or surge on the power line... (Continued)

  • CHKDSK (check disk)

    CHKDSK (pronounced check disk) is a command that displays a status report for a volume, such as a disk, and can correct any errors found in that volume.

  • Client Access Server (CAS)

    The Client Access Server (CAS) is a server role for end user connectivity within the Exchange environment.

  • client-server network

    A client-server network is a communications model in which multiple client programs share the services of a common server program.

  • cluster name object (CNO)

    A cluster name object (CNO) is an Active Directory computer object linked with the network resource Cluster Name.

  • CNAME

    A CNAME specifies an alias or nickname for a canonical name record in a domain name system (DNS) database. (Continued...)

  • command

    In computers, a command is a specific order from a user to the computer's operating system or to an application to perform a service, such as "Show me all my files" or "Run this program for me.

  • command interpreter

    A command interpreter is the part of a computer operating system that understands and executes commands that are entered interactively by a human being or from a program.

  • command line interface (CLI)

    A command line interface (CLI) is a text-based user interface (UI) used to view and manage computer files.

  • Component Object Model (COM)

    Component Object Model (COM) is Microsoft's framework for developing and supporting program component objects.

  • computer

    A computer is a device that accepts information (in the form of digitalized data) and manipulates it for some result based on a program, software, or sequence of instructions on how the data is to be processed.

  • configuration drift

    Configuration drift occurs naturally in data center environments when changes to software and hardware are not recorded or tracked in a comprehensive and systematic fashion.

  • CSV (Cluster Shared Volumes)

    CSV (Cluster Shared Volumes) is a feature in Windows Server in which shared disks are concurrently accessible to all nodes within a failover cluster.

  • Ctrl-Alt-Delete

    On a personal computer with the Microsoft Windows operating system, Control+Alt+Delete is the combination of the Ctrl key, the Alt key, and Del key that a user can press at the same time to terminate an application task or to reboot the operating system.

  • D

    DCPromo (Domain Controller Promoter)

    DCPromo (Domain Controller Promoter) is a tool in Active Directory that installs and removes Active Directory Domain Services and promotes domain controllers.

  • DirectAccess

    DirectAccess is a feature introduced in Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 that uses automated IPv6 and IPSec tunnels to allow remote users to access private network resources whenever they are connected to the Internet.

  • directory

    A directory is, in general, an approach to organizing information, the most familiar example being a telephone directory.

  • Directory Services Restore Mode (DSRM)

    Directory Services Restore Mode (DSRM) is a safe mode boot option for Windows Server domain controllers.

  • DirectX

    DirectX is an application program interface (API) for creating and managing graphic images and multimedia effects in applications such as games or active Web pages that will run in Microsoft's Windows operating systems.

  • DirSync (Windows Azure Active Directory Sync)

    DirSync (Directory Synchronization) is a tool for making copies of a local directory in a hybrid cloud deployment of Microsoft Exchange.

  • disjoint namespace

    Disjoint namespace is an occurrence in Active Directory when a member computer with one Domain Name Service (DNS) primary suffix does not have the same DNS domain name as the domain of which the computers are members.

  • Diskpart (Disk Partition Utility)

    Diskpart is a command-line utility used to manipulate disk partitions in all versions of Windows and Windows Server beginning with Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

  • Distributed File System Replication (DFSR)

    Distributed File System Replication (DFSR) is a replication engine that organizations can use to synchronize folders for servers on network connections that have a limited bandwidth.

  • domain controller

    Primary domain controller (PDC) and backup domain controller (BDC) are roles that can be assigned to a server in a network of computers that use the Windows NT operating system.

  • dynamic link library (DLL)

    A dynamic link library (DLL) is a collection of small programs that larger programs can load when needed to complete specific tasks.

  • Dynamic Quorum

    Dynamic Quorum is the ability of a cluster to recalculate a quorum as it maintains a working cluster.

  • E

    ExBPA (Exchange Best Practices Analyzer)

    The Exchange Best Practices Analyzer (ExBPA) is a tool that helps administrators to gauge the health of their Exchange Server environment.

  • Exchange Administration Center (EAC)

    The Exchange Administration Center (EAC) is a Web-based management console for managing Exchange Server 2013 environments.

  • Exchange Autodiscover service

    The Exchange Autodiscover service helps Exchange administrators set up and sustain server settings for computers that run Microsoft Outlook, as well as settings for supported mobile devices.

  • Exchange Management Console (EMC)

    The Exchange Management Console (EMC) is a graphical user interface that allows administrators to manage the configuration of their Exchange organizations.

  • Exchange Online

    Exchange Online is the hosted version of Microsoft's Exchange Server messaging platform that organizations can obtain as a stand-alone service or via an Office 365 subscription.

  • Exchange Remote Connectivity Analyzer (ExRCA)

    The Exchange Remote Connectivity Analyzer (ExRCA) is a Web-based tool that helps Exchange administrators identify and troubleshoot connectivity issues in their deployments.

  • Exchange staged migration

    The staged Exchange migration process transfers data and mailboxes from one Exchange server to another, either on-premises or in the cloud.

  • Exchange Web Services (EWS)

    Exchange Web Services (EWS) is an application program interface (API) that allows programmers to access Exchange items such as calendars, contacts and email in Exchange Server 2007 and higher.

  • F

    failover cluster

    A failover cluster is a group of servers that work together to maintain high availability of applications and services.

  • File Server Resource Manager (FSRM)

    File Server Resource Manager is a features set in the File and Storage Services server role that helps admins classify and manage stored data in file servers for data management.

  • G

    general protection fault (GPF)

    General protection fault (GPF, sometimes seen as general protection error) the name of an error caused when an application program (for example, Microsoft Word or the Netscape Web browser) tries to access storage that is not designated for its use.

  • geo-replication

    Geo-replication is a type of data storage replication in which the same data is stored on servers in multiple geographic locations.

  • global catalog (Active Directory)

    A global catalog is a data storage source containing partial representations of objects found in a multidomain Active Directory Domain Services (ADDS) forest.

  • Global Update Manager (GUM)

    Global Update Manager is a cluster component in the Windows Cluster Architecture.

  • gpresult

    Gpresult is a command-line tool that shows the RSoP (Resultant Set of Policy) for a user or computer based on applied Group Policy settings.

  • Group Policy

    Group Policy is a hierarchical infrastructure that allows a network administrator in charge of Microsoft's Active Directory to implement specific configurations for users and computers. Group policy is primarily a security tool, and can be used to apply security settings to users and computers.

  • Group Policy Editor (GP Editor)

    Group Policy Editor is a tool that helps administrators manage policy settings in Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-ins.

  • Group Policy Management Console

    The Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) is an interface that enables Active Directory administrators to manage Group Policy Objects (GPOs) from one console. 

  • Group Policy Object (GPO)

    Microsoft’s Group Policy Object (GPO) is a collection of Group Policy settings that defines what a system will look like and how it will behave for a defined group of users.

  • Group Policy Preferences

    Group Policy Preferences are a set of extensions, introduced in Windows Server 2008, that increase the functionality of Group Policy Objects.

  • GUID (global unique identifier)

    A GUID (globally unique identifier) is a 128-bit text string that represents an identification (ID).

  • I

    icacls

    icacls is a command-line utility that can be used to modify NTFS file system permissions in Windows Server 2003 SP2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista and Windows 7.

  • ICM file (Image Color Matching file)

    In Windows 95 and possibly other operating systems, an ICM (Image Color Matching) file contains a color system profile for a particular application or device such as a color printer or scanner.

  • Internet Information Services (IIS)

    Internet Information Services (IIS) is a flexible, general-purpose web server from Microsoft that runs on Windows systems to serve requested HTML pages or files.

  • invocation ID

    An invocation ID is an ID number that identifies databases within Active Directory and changes as AD is in a restore process. Invocation IDs change during the restore process to make sure replication is consistent.

  • ISA (Industry Standard Architecture)

    ISA (Industry Standard Architecture) is a standard bus (computer interconnection) architecture that was associated with the IBM AT motherboard.

  • iSCSI target (Internet Small Computer System Interface target)

    ISCSI target is a storage option in an Internet Small Computer System Interface server that manages connections between servers that need access to the targets and the iSCSI storage subsystem in a storage area network.

  • iSCSI Target Server

    ISCSI Target Server is a server that lets administrators boot multiple computers to a network from a single operating system image in a central location.

  • J

    Just Enough Administration (JEA)

    Just Enough Administration (JEA) is a PowerShell toolkit designed to help an organization reduce risk by restricting IT administrative rights.

  • L

    Linux Secure Boot

    Linux Secure Boot is a feature in Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 that allows some Linux distributions to boot under Hyper-V as Generation 2 virtual machines.

  • Local Group Policy Editor

    Local Group Policy Editor is a user interface that allows all Local Group Policy objects and their settings to be managed in one place.

  • M

    Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS)

    Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) is a server role in Active Directory that allows admins to manage and store information about resources from a network, as well as application data, in a distributed database.

  • managed print services (MPS)

    Managed print services (MPS) is the provision and oversight of business document output needs by an external service provider. Rather than dedicating internal resources to business activities related to printing, a company outsources them, freeing up those resources for activities that are more relevant to the business' main concerns.

  • MCITP (Microsoft Certified IT Professional)

    An MCITP (Microsoft Certified IT Professional) is a credential that proves that an individual has a complete set of skills required to perform a particular IT job role, such as enterprise or virtualization administrator.

  • Microsoft

    Microsoft is a leading global vendor of computer software; hardware for computer, mobile and gaming systems; and cloud services.

  • Microsoft Active Directory Migration Tool (ADMT)

    The Microsoft Active Directory Migration Tool (ADMT) is a tool used to move Active Directory objects from one Windows Server Active Directory domain or forest to another.

  • Microsoft Active Directory Rights Management Services (AD Rights Management Services)

    Active Directory Rights Management Services (AD RMS) is a security tool that provides a safeguard to prevent unauthorized access to data.

  • Microsoft AzMan (Microsoft Authorization Manager)

    Microsoft AzMan (Authorization Manager) is a role-based access and security framework for .NET applications.

  • Microsoft Azure Active Directory Authentication Library (ADAL)

    Microsoft Azure Active Directory Authentication Library (ADAL) is a tool in the .NET framework that lets client applications developers authenticate users to an on-premises Active Directory deployment or to the cloud.

  • Microsoft Azure Active Directory Connect (Microsoft Azure AD Connect)

    Microsoft Azure Active Directory Connect (Microsoft Azure AD Connect) is a tool for connecting on-premises identity infrastructure to Microsoft Azure Active Directory.

  • Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute

    Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute is a service that provides a private connection between an organization's on-premises infrastructure and Microsoft Azure data centers.

  • Microsoft Azure File Service

    Microsoft Azure File Service is a service that allows Windows Server admins to access SMB shares in the Azure cloud by setting up file shares in the Azure management console.

  • Microsoft Azure Key Vault

    Microsoft Azure Key Vault is a cloud-hosted management service that allows users to encrypt keys and small secrets like passwords or answers to security questions that are used in their cloud applications and services.

  • Microsoft Azure Operational Insights

    Microsoft Azure Operational Insights (AOI) is a cloud-hosted Software as a Service tool that allows an IT operations staff to collect and search data from multiple machines for analysis.

  • Microsoft Azure RemoteApp (Remote Application Services)

    Microsoft Azure RemoteApp (Remote Application Services) is a program that allows organizations to make remotely accessed programs or applications in Microsoft Azure, known as RemoteApp programs, appear as if they are native to end users' local computers.

  • Microsoft Azure Resource Manager

    Microsoft Azure Resource Manager (ARM) is a management framework that allows administrators to deploy, manage and monitor Azure resources.

  • Microsoft Azure Stack

    Microsoft Azure Stack is an integrated platform of hardware and software that delivers Microsoft Azure public cloud services in a local data center to let organizations construct hybrid clouds.

  • Microsoft Certified Educator (MCE)

    Microsoft Certified Educator (MCE) is a credential to certify that an educator is literate in global technology and can provide students with an education that combines technology and learning in the classroom.

  • Microsoft Client Hyper-V

    Microsoft Client Hyper-V is a type-1 hypervisor for the Windows 8.x and Windows 10 operating systems (OSes).

  • Microsoft Cloud Witness

    Microsoft Cloud Witness is a high availability feature for failover clusters that uses storage in the Microsoft Azure cloud platform to ensure clusters continue to function if there is a site outage.

  • Microsoft Cluster Service (MSCS)

    Microsoft Cluster Service (MSCS) is a service that provides high availability (HA) for applications such as databases, messaging and file and print services.

  • Microsoft Connectivity Analyzer (MCA)

    The Microsoft Connectivity Analyzer (MCA) is a diagnostics tool for troubleshooting and testing connectivity to several Microsoft messaging products from a client machine on an organization's network.

  • Microsoft CPS (Microsoft Cloud Platform System)

    Microsoft CPS (Microsoft Cloud Platform System) is a software stack of Window Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2, and Windows Azure Pack that runs on Dell servers.

  • Microsoft DirectAccess Connectivity Assistant (Microsoft DCA)

    Microsoft DirectAccess Connectivity Assistant (Microsoft DCA) is a tool administrators use to improve an enterprise's DirectAccess connection.

  • Microsoft Dynamic Access Control (DAC)

    Microsoft Dynamic Access Control (DAC) is a data governance tool in Windows Server 2012 that lets admins control the permission of access settings in an organization.

  • Microsoft Exchange 2013 Poison Message Queue

    Microsoft Exchange 2013 Poison Message Queue is a queue that exists specifically to hold messages deemed harmful to the deployment after a transport server or service failure.

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