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.

  • P

    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.

  • Q

    QDOS (86-DOS)

    QDOS was the forerunner of DOS (Disk Operating System), the first widely-used personal computer operating system.

  • Quick Fix Engineering (QFE)

    Quick Fix Engineering (QFE) is a Microsoft term for the delivery of individual service updates to its operating systems and application programs such as Word.

  • 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.

  • red screen of death

    The red screen of death is a term coined by some early testers of Longhorn (the code name for Microsoft's latest Windows operating system) who, in May 2005, came across an error message appearing against an all-red display screen.

  • registry virtualization (Windows Vista)

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

  • relative identifier (RID)

    In Windows 2000, the relative identifier (RID) is the part of a security ID (SID) that uniquely identifies an account or group within a domain.

  • remote code execution (RCE)

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

  • Remote Network Access Application (RNAAPP)

    RNAAPP (Remote Network Access Application) is one of those occasionally visible yet mysterious little programs that come with the Microsoft Windows 95/98 operating system.

  • 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.

  • RIBLOE (Remote Insight Board -- Lights Out Edition)

    The Remote Insight Board -- Lights Out Edition (RIBLOE) is a Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) card intended for the remote management of Compaq servers.

  • 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.

  • seat management

    Seat management is a method of coordinating all the workstations in an enterprise network by overseeing the installation, operation, and maintenance of hardware and software at each workstation.

  • 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.

  • serial port server (serial server or port redirector)

    A serial port server, also called a serial server or port redirector, is a device that transfers data between a computer serial port (COM port) and an Ethernet local area network (LAN).

  • 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.

  • single-system image (SSI)

    Single-system image (SSI) is the idea that the resources provided by cluster computing or in any system which aggregates resources should present a single interface to the user.

  • Smart Tags

    Microsoft's Smart Tags were a proposed feature of Windows XP that would allow Microsoft and its partners to insert their own links into any Web page viewed through its Internet Explorer browser.

  • 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.

  • snap-in

    Snap-in, in general, refers to an object that can be attached to another object and that will then function as part of the whole.

  • 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.

  • StarOffice

    StarOffice is a free productivity application suite from Sun Microsystems that includes a word processor (Writer), spreadsheet (Calc), database (Base), presentation maker (Impress), illustrator (Draw), schedule managment (Schedule), e-mail (Mail) and newsgroup (Discussion) component.

  • 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

    taskbar

    In the graphical user interface (GUI) for a computer operating system or application, a taskbar is a visual device on the desktop that typically shows the user which applications (tasks) are currently active and running.

  • TCPView

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

  • Terminal Server product or Microsoft Windows Terminal Server (WTS)

    The Microsoft Windows Terminal Server (WTS) is a server program running on its Windows NT 4.0 (or higher) operating system that provides the graphical user interface (GUI) of the Windows desktop to user terminals that don't have this capability themselves.

  • thunk

    Thunk is programming that converts 16-bit memory address space into 32-bit memory address space and vice versa.

  • transitive trust

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

  • TweakUI

    TweakUI is a software utility that lets Windows 9x, Windows NT, and Windows 2000 users modify the desktop user interface and other system characteristics to their liking.

  • 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

    verbose logging

    Verbose logging is a computer logging mode that records more information than the usual logging mode.

  • VHDX (Hyper-V virtual hard disk)

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

  • virtual desktop manager

    A virtual desktop manager is a program that allows a computer user to have more than one user interface available simultaneously on a single computer.

  • virtual device driver

    In certain Microsoft operating systems, a virtual device driver is a program that handles software interrupts from the operating system (rather than hardware interrupts) for each of the computer's main hardware devices, including the hard disk drive controller, keyboard, and serial and parallel ports.

  • 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

    wallpaper

    On a computer that is provided with a desktop kind of user interface, wallpaper is the background pattern or picture against which desktop menus, icons, and other elements are displayed and moved around.

  • 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.

  • WinAMP (Windows Audio MPEG Player)

    WinAMP (Windows Audio MPEG Player) is a program from Nullsoft that allows PC users to play audio files, particularly music, in many (but not all) popular digital audio formats, including MS-Audio, WAV, and MP3. With WinAMP, it is possible to listen to SHOUTcast streaming radio broadcasts.

  • Winbind

    Winbind is a program that allows users in a heterogeneous network to log in using workstations that have either Unix or Windows NT operating systems.

  • WinChip (WinChip C6)

    WinChip (also known as the WinChip C6) is a microprocessor designed for use in business computers that run Microsoft operating systems Made by IDT, the microprocessor reportedly provides comparable performance to Intel's more expensive Pentium microprocessors as well as to the more competitively-priced K6 and the Cyrix 6X86MX. IDT designed a smaller die area for the microprocessor, making it easier and cheaper to manufacture.

  • 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 9x (Windows 95 or Windows 98)

    Windows 9x is short for "Windows 95 or Windows 98."

  • 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 Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL)

    Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL) is a Microsoft procedure for certifying that the hardware for peripherals and other components is compatible (works as expected) with Microsoft Windows operating systems.

  • 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 Me (Millenium Edition)

    Windows Me (Millenium Edition) is an operating system from Microsoft released commercially September 14, 2000. Windows Me was developed specifically for the home user, whereas Windows 2000 was developed specifically for business use.

  • 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 Product Activation (WPA)

    Windows Product Activation (WPA) is the mandatory product registration system included in Microsoft's Windows XP, Office XP, and recent Office products (such as Word 2002 or Excel 2002) as a means of enforcing compliance with the company's End User License Agreement (EULA).

  • 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.

  • windows, icons, mouse, and pull-down menus (WIMP)

    WIMP is an acronym describing the desktop user interface familiar to Windows and Mac computer users, significant features of which are windows, icons, a mouse, and pull-down menus.

  • 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.

  • Winsock

    Winsock is a programming interface and the supporting program that handles input/output requests for Internet applications in a Windows operating system.

  • Winsock 2

    Like Winsock, Winsock 2 is a programming interface and the supporting program that handles input/output requests for Internet applications in a Windows operating system.

  • Wintel

    Wintel is a computer trade industry term for personal computers based on the Intel microprocessor and one of the Windows operating system from Microsoft.

  • WinZip

    WinZip is a Windows program that lets you archive and compress files so that you can store or distribute them more efficiently.

  • Wired for Management (WfM)

    Wired for Management (WfM) is a specification from Intel that allows the performance of certain computer configuration and maintenance functions over a network or dial-up connection.

  • wizard

    A wizard is a computer utility designed to simplify the execution of lengthy or complicated tasks... (Continued)

  • word processor

    A word processor is a computer program that provides special capabilities beyond that of a text editor such as the WordPad program that comes as part of Microsoft's Windows operating systems.

  • Work Folders (Windows Server 2012 R2)

    Work Folders is a feature in Windows Server 2012 R2 that allows Windows users to store and access work files on personal PCs and Windows devices as well as corporate PCs. 

  • Workplace Join

    Workplace Join is a tool in Windows Server 2012 R2 that allows a Windows 8.1 device to gain access to specific network resources. 

  • wsname

    WSName, or Workstation Name Changer, is a freeware utility that automates the process of computer renaming. It was created by former Novell desktop management consultant David Clarke, who continues to update it periodically.

  • X

    x86

    x86 is a generic name for the series of Intel microprocessor families that began with the 80286 microprocessor.

  • Y

    Y2K (year 2000)

    Y2K is an abbreviation for "year 2000." As that year approached, many feared that computer programs storing year values as two-digit figures (such as 99) would cause problems.

  • Z

    Zero Administration

    Zero Administration for Windows is Microsoft's initiative to help make its operating system easier to install and manage.

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