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.

  • M

    Microsoft Windows Live Migration compression

    Live Migration compression is a Windows Server 2012 R2 process to compress memory data before it's sent over a network. Once the data reaches its destination, the memory is decompressed.

  • Microsoft Windows MultiPoint Server

    Microsoft Windows MultiPoint Server is a shared resource computing solution that enables hosting for multiple simultaneous independent computing stations or terminals connected to a single computer.

  • Microsoft Windows MultiPoint Services Role

    Windows MultiPoint Services Role is a role in Windows Server 2016 that allows multiple users to share a single computer while having their own Windows experience.

  • Microsoft Windows Performance Monitor

    The Microsoft Windows Performance Monitor is a tool that admins can use to examine how programs running on their computers affect their performance.

  • Microsoft Windows PowerShell 4.0

    Microsoft Windows PowerShell 4.0 is the version of the PowerShell scripting language found in Windows Server 2012 R2.

  • Microsoft Windows PowerShell Direct

    Microsoft Windows PowerShell Direct is a feature of Windows Server 2016 and Windows 10 that allows a user to manage a VM without requiring changes in the network connection or remote management settings.

  • Microsoft Windows PowerShell DSC (Desired State Configuration)

    Desired State Configuration (DSC) is a feature in PowerShell 4.0 and above that helps administrators to automate the configuration of Windows and Linux operating systems.

  • Microsoft Windows PowerShell Integrated Scripting Environment (ISE)

    The Windows PowerShell Integrated Scripting Environment (ISE) is a graphical user interface and front-end hosting application for Windows PowerShell.

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008

    Windows Server 2008 is the server operating system developed by Microsoft.

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2

    Windows Server 2012 R2 is the second iteration of Windows Server 2012.

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 System Health

    Windows Server 2012 R2 System Health is a reporting feature that alerts the administrator to critical updates, missing malware protection and other issues that require action to be taken.

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Remote Access

    Remote Access is a Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 feature that combines DirectAccess, Routing and Remote Access Service features. 

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2016

    Microsoft Windows Server 2016, previously referred to as Windows Server vNext, is a server operating system (OS).

  • Microsoft Windows Server Antimalware

    Microsoft Windows Server Antimalware is a tool in the Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview that protects against malware.

  • Microsoft Windows Server Datacenter Abstraction Layer (DAL)

    The Microsoft Windows Server Datacenter Abstraction Layer (DAL) is a software framework intended to enable consistent monitoring and management of hardware found in the typical data center environment.

  • Microsoft Windows Server Desktop Experience

    Microsoft Windows Server Desktop Experience is a feature that allows admins to install various Windows 7 features on servers running Windows Server 2008, Windows 8 features on servers running Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8.1 features on servers running Windows Server 2012 R2.

  • Microsoft Windows Server Event Viewer

    Microsoft Windows Server Event Viewer is a monitoring tool that shows a log of events that can be used to troubleshoot issues on a Windows-based system.

  • Microsoft Windows Server LTSC (Long-Term Servicing Channel)

    Microsoft Windows Server LTSC (Long-Term Servicing Channel) is a servicing option for Microsoft's server operating system that follows the familiar track of two to three years between feature updates.

  • Microsoft Windows Server Manager

    Microsoft Windows Server Manager is a tool for managing a server's identity and the roles installed on the server.

  • Microsoft Windows Server OS (operating system)

    Microsoft Windows Server OS (operating system) is a series of enterprise-class server operating systems designed to share services with multiple users and provide extensive administrative control of data storage, applications and corporate networks.

  • Microsoft Windows Server Semi-Annual Channel (SAC)

    Microsoft Windows Server Semi-Annual Channel (SAC) is a servicing option that delivers a feature update twice a year for organizations that want the latest Windows Server functionality.

  • Microsoft Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)

    Microsoft Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) is a series of Microsoft components that allow native Linux 64-bit Executable and Linkable Format (ELF64) binaries to run on the Windows kernel in the Windows 10 operating system (OS).

  • Microsoft Windows Update

    Microsoft Windows Update is a free Microsoft tool that installs security updates on machines.

  • Microsoft Windows Update Agent

    Microsoft Windows Update Agent is a tool that can work in conjunction with Windows Server Update Services on each client computer in an enterprise that checks for available updates.

  • Microsoft Windows Update for Business

    Microsoft Windows Update for Business is a service in Windows 10 that will allow administrators to control which client devices will receive updates and when by choosing a 'fast' or 'slow' distribution ring.

  • MinWin

    MinWin is the lowest level of the Windows operating system. It runs the kernel, the TCP/IP stack and basic system services; it is self-contained and has no understanding of, or dependence upon, the rest of the Windows operating system.

  • monad

    A monad is: 1) A type of functor used in category theory in mathematics. 2) A kind of constructor used in functional programming to structure programs that include sequenced operations. 3) The original code name for Microsoft's Powershell. 4) A symbol used by ancient Greek philosophers

  • Monad Manifesto

    The Monad Manifesto is a document written by Jeffrey Snover in 2002 that outlined his idea for a new Windows systems administration tool named Monad, which was changed to Windows PowerShell.

  • mscorsvw.exe

    Mscorsvw.exe is a process that is used to precompile Microsoft .NET framework assemblies in the background.

  • Windows Admin Center (formerly Project Honolulu)

    Windows Admin Center, formerly Microsoft Project Honolulu, is a browser-based utility that manages Windows Server and client operating systems, hyper-converged clusters and failover clusters.

  • Windows containers

    Windows containers are abstracted, isolated and portable operating environments supported by the Microsoft Windows Server 2016 operating system and managed with tools such as Docker and PowerShell.

  • N

    NDIS (Network Driver Interface Specification)

    NDIS (Network Driver Interface Specification) is a Windows specification for how communication protocol programs (such as TCP/IP) and network device driver should communicate with each other.

  • NetBEUI (NetBIOS Extended User Interface)

    NetBEUI (NetBIOS Extended User Interface) is a new, extended version of NetBIOS, the program that lets computers communicate within a local area network.

  • Network Access Quarantine Control (NAQC)

    Network Access Quarantine Control (NAQC) is a Resource Kit tool in Windows Server 2003 and  Windows Server 2008 that allows administrators to prevent remote client computers from connecting to their network with machines that aren't secure.

  • Ntdsutil

    Ntdsutil.exe is a command-line tool for accessing and managing a Windows Active Directory database. 

  • NTFS (NT File System)

    NTFS, which stands for 'NT file system' and the 'New Technology File System,' is the file system that the Windows NT operating system (OS) uses for storing and retrieving files on hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid-state drives (SSDs).

  • O

    OAB (offline address book)

    An Offline Address Book is a downloaded copy of a Microsoft Outlook user's address list which allows the user access to email addresses when disconnected from Exchange Server.

  • OCX

    An OCX is an Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) custom control, a special-purpose program that can be created for use by applications running on Microsoft's Windows systems.

  • OOXML (Office Open Extended Markup Language)

    OOXML (Office Open Extended Markup Language), also called Open XML, is a file format for documents, spreadsheets and presentations that is intended for use with the 2007 and later versions of the Microsoft Office suite... (Continued)

  • Open Document Format (ODF)

    The Open Document Format (ODF) is an XML-based open source file format for saving and exchanging text, spreadsheets, charts, and presentations...

  • organizational unit (OU)

    An organizational unit (OU) is a container within a Microsoft Active Directory domain which can hold users, groups and computers.

  • Outlook Anywhere

    Microsoft Outlook Anywhere is a software feature that allows end users with Microsoft Office Outlook 2010, Outlook 2007 or Outlook 2003 to access corporate email and calendars over the Internet from outside the corporate domain without having to log into a virtual private network (VPN). 

  • P

    peer-to-peer network (P2P network)

    A peer-to-peer (P2P) network is a network in which each computer functions as a client or server for other computers in the network.

  • PowerShell

    PowerShell is an object-oriented automation engine and scripting language with an interactive command-line shell that Microsoft developed to help IT professionals configure systems and automate administrative tasks.

  • PowerShell provider (Windows PowerShell provider)

    A Windows PowerShell provider is a .NET program that allows the data in a specialized data store to be accessable in Windows PowerShell.

  • PowerShell v3

    PowerShell v3 is a task-automation framework found in client and server versions of Windows

  • problem management

    Problem management, in information technology, is a process aimed at resolving incidents and problems caused by end-user errors or IT infrastructure issues, and preventing recurrence of such incidents.

  • PXE (Preboot Execution Environment)

    Preboot Execution Environment (PXE) refers to various methods of getting an IBM-compatible computer, typically running Windows, to boot up without the need for a hard drive or boot diskette.

  • R

    read-only

    Read-only is a file attribute which only allows a user to view a file, restricting any writing to the file.

  • Receive Segment Coalescing (RSC)

    Receive Segment Coalescing (RSC) is an offload technology in Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 that can help reduce how much of the CPU is used in network processing.

  • registry virtualization (Windows Vista)

    Registry virtualization (RV) is a compatibility application that supports write operations in a registry.

  • remote code execution (RCE)

    Remote code execution is a security vulnerability that allows an attacker to execute codes from a remote server.

  • Remoting (PowerShell Remoting)

    PowerShell Remoting is a feature in PowerShell that lets admins run commands on remote systems.

  • Resilient File System (ReFS)

    Resilient File System (ReFS) is a file system developed by Microsoft for use on the Windows operating system (OS) that's designed to overcome some of the limitations in the New Technology File System (NTFS).

  • restore point

    A restore point is a saved "snapshot" of a computer's data at a specific time. Restore points are a component of the Windows System Restore utility. By creating a restore point, you can save the state of the operating system and your own data so that if future changes cause a problem, you can restore the system and your data to the way it was before the changes were made.

  • RODC (read-only domain controller)

    A read-only domain controller (RODC) is a domain controller that hosts an Active Directory database's read-only partitions.

  • RSAT (Microsoft Remote Server Administration Tools)

    RSAT (Remote Server Administration Tools) is a feature that began in Windows Server 2008 R2 to help admins remotely manage computers running Windows Server.

  • RSoP (Resultant Set of Policy)

    RSoP (Resultant Set of Policy) is a report of all Group Policy settings within Active Directory that shows how those settings can affect a network.

  • S

    ScanDisk

    ScanDisk is a Windows utility used to check your hard disk for errors and to correct problems that are found.

  • Second Level Address Translation (SLAT)

    Second Level Address Translation (SLAT) is a technology designed to reduce the overhead in a hypervisor CPU while easing the management of a hypervisor's memory and is often found with Hyper-V.

  • service desk

    A service desk is a communications center that provides a single point of contact (SPOC) between a company and its customers, employees and business partners. The purpose of a service desk is to ensure that users receive appropriate help in a timely manner.

  • SharePoint 2013 Design Manager snippet

    A SharePoint 2013 Design Manager snippet is HTML markup that can be copied and pasted into a SharePoint Master Page Design file.

  • SMB 3.0 (Server Message Block 3.0)

    SMB 3.0 (Server Message Block 3.0) is a protocol that provides a way for a computer's client applications to read and write to files and to request services from server programs in a computer network.

  • social computing

    Social computing is the collaborative and interactive nature of online behavior. Since the 1990s, computing has increasingly been assumed to be online; simultaneously, online behavior has become increasingly social.

  • swap file (swap space or pagefile)

    A swap file (or swap space or, in Windows NT, a pagefile) is a space on a hard disk used as the virtual memory extension of a computer's real memory (RAM).

  • system

    A system is a collection of elements or components that are organized for a common purpose.

  • System Insights

    System Insights is a feature that debuted in Windows Server 2019 that processes data and uses predictive analytics to warn administrators of potential issues with Windows Server deployments.

  • System Restore

    System Restore is a utility to protect and revert the Windows client operating system to a previous state -- known as a restore point -- undoing system changes made since that time to avoid a reinstall of the operating system.

  • T

    TCPView

    TCPView is a Windows network monitoring utility that shows a graphical representation of all currently active TCP and UDP endpoints on a system.

  • transitive trust

    Transitive trust is a two-way relationship automatically created between parent and child domains in a Microsoft Active Directory forest.

  • U

    update sequence number (USN)

    An update sequence number (USN) is a 64-bit number in Active Directory that increments time as changes occur. Local counters on every domain controller assign USNs.

  • USB 3.0 (SuperSpeed USB)

    USB 3.0, also known as SuperSpeed USB, is the next major revision of the Universal Serial Bus (USB).

  • V

    VHDX (Hyper-V virtual hard disk)

    VHDX is a Hyper-V virtual hard disk (VHD) format found in Windows Server 2012.

  • VPN Reconnect

    VPN Reconnect is a feature of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 that allows a virtual private network (VPN) connection to remain open during a brief interruption of Internet service.

  • W

    wbadmin

    Wbadmin is an elevated command prompt that allows administrators or backup operators to backup and restore an operating system (OS), volume, file, folder or application.

  • Web Application Proxy

    Web Application Proxy is a service in Windows Server 2012 R2 that allows end users to access applications from outside the corporate network on any device.

  • Win32s

    Win32s is a Microsoft upgrade to the Windows 3.1 and Windows for Workgroups 3.1 operating systems, which run 16-bit applications, that allows them to run some 32-bit applications.

  • WinDirStat (Windows Directory Statistics)

    WinDirStat (Windows Directory Statistics) is a free, open-source disk usage analyzer and cleanup tool for Microsoft Windows.

  • windowing system

    A windowing system is a system for sharing a computer's graphical display presentation resources among multiple applications at the same time.

  • Windows Azure Backup

    Windows Azure Backup is a tool that automatically sends backups to Windows Azure.

  • Windows Azure Pack

    Windows Azure Pack is a free available download of grouped Windows Azure technologies for use in an enterprise's data center and applications. It runs on top of Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012 R2.

  • Windows CE

    Windows CE is based on the Microsoft Windows operating system but is designed for including or embedding in mobile and other space-constrained devices.

  • Windows Deployment Services (WDS)

    Windows Deployment Services is a server role that gives admins the ability to deploy Windows operating systems remotely.

  • Windows Domain Join

    Windows Domain Join is a feature that lets users establish a remote and secure connection to a work domain using credentials from the enterprise, allowing them to effectively "join" that domain.

  • Windows event log

    The Windows event log is a detailed record of system, security and application notifications stored by the Windows operating system that is used by administrators to diagnose system problems and predict future issues.

  • Windows File System (WinFS)

    The Windows File System (WFS) is Microsoft's new storage system for its upcoming SQL server release. Along with serving as a database for structured, semi-structured and unstructured data, WinFS serves as a programming model that lets developers exchange data across applications and organize data in more constructive ways.

  • Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI)

    Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) is a set of specifications from Microsoft for consolidating the management of devices and applications in a network from Windows computing systems.

  • Windows NT

    Windows NT is a Microsoft Windows personal computer operating system designed for users and businesses needing advanced capability.

  • Windows Process Activation Service (WPAS)

    Windows Process Activation Service (WAS) is a tool for managing worker processes that contain applications that host Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) services. Worker processes handle requests that are sent to a Web Server for specific application pools. Each application pool sets boundaries for the applications it contains.

  • Windows Remote Management (WinRM)

    Windows Remote Management (WinRM) is a feature of Windows Vista that allows administrators to remotely run management scripts... (Continued)

  • Windows Server 2008 R2

    Windows Server 2008 R2 is a server operating system developed by Microsoft, which builds on the enhancements built into Windows Server 2008.

  • Windows Server 2012 (WS 2012)

    Windows Server 2012, formerly codenamed Windows Server 8, is the latest version of Windows Server.

  • Windows Server 8

    Windows Server 8 is Microsoft’s next-generation server operating system scheduled for a 2012 release date.

  • Windows Server Backup

    Windows Server Backup is a feature that offers backup and recovery options for Windows Server environments.

  • Windows Server Client Access License (CAL)

    A Windows Server Client Access License (CAL) is a license that gives a user or device the right to access services from a server running the Windows Server operating system.

  • Windows Server Core

    Windows Server Core is a minimal installation option for the Windows Server operating system (OS) that has no GUI and only includes the components required to perform server roles and run applications.

  • Windows Server Failover Clustering (WSFC)

    Windows Server Failover Clustering (WSFC) is a feature of the Windows Server platform for improving the high availability (HA) of applications and services. WSFC, which is the successor to Microsoft Cluster Service (MSCS), can be administered through the Failover Cluster Manager snap-in.

  • Windows Server Update Services (WSUS)

    Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), also called Windows Update Services (WUS), is a free add-on for managing patches and updates to the Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Server 2000, and Windows Server 2003 operating systems... (Continued)

  • Windows Sysinternals

    Windows Sysinternals is a suite of more than 70 freeware utilities that was initially developed by Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell that is used to monitor, manage and troubleshoot the Windows operating system, and which Microsoft now owns and hosts on its TechNet site.

  • WinFrame

    WinFrame is a software product from Citrix that, together with a Windows NT operating system, allows a computer server to provide Windows applications and data for attached computer workstations.

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