Are you uncertain about which version of Microsoft Windows Server suits your organization’s needs? It can be a challenging task to select the right one among the various versions and editions available. To make a well-informed decision, it’s essential to compare the features and functionalities of each version. This article will offer an overview of the available Windows Server versions and provide a feature comparison.

Windows Server Versions

Microsoft Windows Server is the operating system of choice for numerous organizations worldwide. It has been in existence since 1993 and currently comes in four main versions: Windows Server 2003, 2008, 2012, and 2016. Each version offers different levels of functionality through various editions.

Windows Server 2003 is the oldest version of Windows Server and is no longer supported by Microsoft. It has been succeeded by more recent versions that provide upgraded features and enhanced security.

Windows Server 2008, released in 2008, introduced improvements in reliability, performance, scalability, and security compared to earlier versions. It also included support for virtualization technologies like Hyper-V.

Windows Server 2012, launched in 2012, brought significant changes, including a new user interface, improved resource management, virtualization enhancements, and support for cloud computing.

Windows Server 2016 is the most recent version, featuring support for containers, enhanced storage options, Nano Server (a minimalistic Windows version), and advanced security features.

How to Compare Microsoft Windows Server Versions

The following table provides a feature comparison for each version of Windows Server:

FeatureWindows Server 2003Windows Server 2008Windows Server 2012Windows Server 2016
Server Core Support (minimal installation)NoYesYesYes
64-Bit SupportNoYesYesYes
Hypervisor SupportNoYes (Hyper-V)Yes (Hyper-V)Yes (Nano Server and Hyper-V)
Server Management ToolsNoYesYesEnhanced tools
Cloud Computing SupportNoNoYesYes
Container SupportNoNoNoYes
Security EnhancementsNoImproved security measures compared to earlier versions of Windows Server.Improved security measures compared to earlier versions of Windows Server. Enhanced security features such as Shielded VMs and Just-In-Time administration.Enhanced security features such as Shielded virtual machines, Just-In-Time administration, and Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection.


When comparing the different versions of Windows Server, it’s crucial to assess which features are essential for your specific environment. Then, choose the version that aligns best with those needs. Each version has its advantages and disadvantages, so conducting thorough research is essential for making the best decision for your organization. With the diverse range of features and support offered by each version, Windows Server remains a powerful platform suitable for businesses of all sizes.