Build list legend
|Version of Microsoft Windows|
|OS family||Windows NT|
|Preliminary name||Windows 2002|
Windows 2002 Server
Windows .NET Server
Windows .NET Server 2003
|Architecture||x86, x64, IA-64|
|Windows 2000 Server|
|Windows Server 2008|
Windows Server 2003 is the server counterpart of Windows XP, released eighteen months after its client counterpart. It comes in editions like Datacenter, Web Server, Standard, Enterprise and Small Business (the latter is technically a separate version). It replaces Windows 2000 Server and was replaced by Windows Server 2008.
It is the last version of Windows Server to support computers without ACPI, the last version of Windows Server to support upgrade paths from Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 and the last version of Windows NT overall to use NTLDR to boot the system.
Windows Server 2003's kernel was later adopted in the development of Windows Vista and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition.
An interim release under the name of Windows Server 2003 R2 was released to manufacturing on 6 December 2005. New features compared to the original release are .NET Framework 2.0, Microsoft Management Console 3.0 (including new snap-ins), Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 and Windows Services for UNIX.
As well as the standard Windows Server 2003, several other editions were built on the NT 5.2 kernel, including Storage Server 2003 (released on 10 September 2003), Storage Server 2003 R2 (released on 6 March 2006), Compute Cluster Server 2003 (released on 9 June 2006), Small Business Server 2003 R2 (released on 1 September 2006) and Unified Data Storage Server 2003 (released on 5 December 2006).
There is a widespread misconception that a version of Windows Server 2003 for the United Kingdom used a different startup sound. However, all versions and localizations of Windows Server 2003 use the same startup sound as in Windows XP - furthermore, Windows was not available in an English (United Kingdom) variant until Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012.
On 23 September 2020, the source code for Windows XP Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2003's RTM build was shared on 4chan's /g/ board. As mentioned on the original post, the code had been circulating in private circles for several years at most. Due to the incompleteness of both source code repositories, primarily within the activation functionalities, it is fair to assume that the disclosure had originated from a Microsoft Partner who had access to the source code rather than Microsoft themselves. The ability to glance into the groundwork of this operating system has led to some discoveries, an example being the checks for enabling the DirectUI-based Start Page from
shell\explorer\tray.cpp being usable in build 2410.
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