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How is Windows Server different from regular Windows?

What is the difference between server and consumer operating systems - the examples I have in mind being Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2?

Why shouldn't I run Windows 7 on my server? There are a few good questions on here explaining the intricacies of consumer and server grade hardware, but I couldn't find much on operating systems aside from server operating systems not being pre-loaded with consumer software and features like media player, etc.

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As well as the answers below, you may even struggle to find drivers for all the components of your server in a desktop os - for instance I've installed XP on a couple of Dell 9G servers in the past but had to install a graphics driver from someone like IBM or HP to get the display right. –  Robin Gill Aug 30 '12 at 14:58
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marked as duplicate by squillman, SvW, mulaz, Khaled, Dave M Aug 30 '12 at 14:51

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1 Answer

Windows 7 has a limit to the number of concurrent connections allowed to network services like file shares, print shares, IIS sessions, etc. These limits are low (20 I think), meaning that the client OS is not suitable for use as a server.

Also, roles like DHCP, DNS, AD DS, etc cannot be installed on a client OS, meaning that Windows 7's usefulness as a server is, essentially, nonexistent.

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Also, the major reason for a corporation to have Windows Servers at all is to make them act as Domain Controllers (servers that co-ordinate and help manage large numbers of windows client machines). Windows 7 cannot act as a Domain Controller. –  ItsGC Aug 30 '12 at 14:29
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@ItsGC I listed that when I said AD DS - which means Active Directory Domain Services. :) –  MDMarra Aug 30 '12 at 14:53
    
you're throwing a bunch of acronyms at a guy that can't even tell what a server is. I felt that particular technology deserved more than 4 characters, since the entire enterprise strategy of Microsoft has been based on it for the past 25 years. –  ItsGC Aug 31 '12 at 4:12
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@ItsGC this is a site for professionals. I answer questions assuming a basic level if competency. Or at least a the ability to google things. –  MDMarra Aug 31 '12 at 10:08
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@ItsGC If you reduce the quality of a community to the lowest common denominator, then you're going to be left with trash. If the OP can't take the time to google those industry-standard acronyms, then they really don't belong here :) –  MDMarra Aug 31 '12 at 12:50
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