Difference Between Windows & Windows Server

Windows operating system is one of the popular OS available all around. Microsoft provides both desktop and server versions of Windows. If you look at any of these two for the first time, they would seem similar, however, are used for different purposes.

Windows 10 is a handy operating system which fits the daily usage category, however,  Windows Server is used to manage computers, services and files. If you are confused, which will suit your needs, then read on and decide which one will be apt for you.


Similar Code

If you have installed fresh Windows 10 or Windows Server 2016, then you might get confused between the two. With the same start button, desktop and task view button, it is hard to differentiate. Also, they can run the same software and can use the same kernel.

But as far as similarities are concerned, this is it!

Windows desktop is used for computation and other work at offices, schools etc. but Windows server is used to run services people use across a certain network.

Windows Server comes with a desktop option, it is recommended to install Windows Server without GUI, to reduce the expenses to run the server. It also includes a push to select Nano Server, which diminishes local login and Graphical user interface abilities in place of using lesser space than conventional Server install.

Let’s take look at the differences between the two

Higher-End Hardware

Windows Server maintains robust hardware. While Windows Server can have RAM up to 24 TB but Windows 10 Pro could only have a maximum 2 TB RAM.

A normal computer user will not want to get 2 TB RAM but for server more RAM means more capacity. So, with a good amount of RAM, a server can easily handle users, VMs and computers.

When it comes to processors, Windows 10 comes with a limit, maximum being two, that too with Windows 10 Pro. On the other hand, Server 2016 could have up to 64 sockets.

Also, in cores, Windows 10 with 32-bit could only support 32 cores but 64-bit ones could handle 256 cores, however, Windows Server can have an infinite number of cores.

To get a bit closer to using  such immense skills, you need to get Windows 10 Pro for Workstations, which comes with 6TB RAM and 4 CPUs

Friendly Desktop Environment

Even though Windows 10 doesn’t server specific feature, but it has something to add. Windows updates come faster to it and in every now and then. It has Cortana, and Timeline which are not available on Windows Server.

It is easy to install software, setting preferences and then transferring the preferences is easy with Microsoft Account.

This is not it, Windows 10 comes with a lot of other features including Windows Subsystem, Progressive Web Apps and Your Phone for Linux. These features mostly depend on Microsoft Store, which Windows Server doesn’t have.

Windows Server Comes With Server Software

In case you have graphical user, interface enabled when Windows Server loads up, a server manager comes up, which is a definite contrast between the two (Windows and Windows Server). Under server manager, you can add features such as DHCP services, Windows Deployment services and more. These additional features help in deploying an operating system remotely to other machines, creating static IP address for client machines, forming domain users and more. All of these features don’t come with default Windows 10; however, these can be enabled with the help of third-party tools.

Windows Server comes with SMB Direct which makes file sharing faster, support for RFS (Resilient File System. To get the same features without installing Server on Windows, then you must use  Windows 10 Pro for workstations.

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Limited Options On Windows Server

If you are looking for Edge, Cortana, Microsoft Store on Windows Server, then you will not find them. Unlike Windows 10, Windows Server uses IE (Internet Explorer) and it can’t be used for web browsing. If you want Google Chrome on it, then you need to put exceptions for all Google URL to finish the download. You can notice Windows Server’s additional security while visiting any websites on IE.

Also, you can’t sign in to Microsoft account on Windows Server, which means less accessibility (can’t get settings of another PC to it). You can only sign in with a domain account.

Windows Server allows you to disable updates completely using group policy however, Windows 10 will now get the feature to pause the updates.

Network Connections

If you want an extensive number of network connections then Windows desktop version will not do, as it only limits to 20 connections. With Windows Server, you can get as many network connections as you want, provided it has sufficient hardware capacity.

Windows Server Is Costly

If you have Windows 8, 8.1 or 7 license keys, then you can get an upgrade to Windows 10 without paying. However, if you want Windows Server 2016, it could put a dent in your budget. It is usually used by businesses. A license could cost you from $500 to $6200, as per your requirement and size.

Background or Foreground Tasks?

If you want a system to perform foreground task, then undoubtedly you need to opt for Windows 10, however, if the focus is on background task, then Windows Server will perform the best.

Let’s take a quick look at things which make Windows Server different from Windows 10:

S.No. Categories Windows Windows Server
1 RAM Up to 2 TB (can go up to 6 TB with Windows 10 Pro for Workstation Up to 24 TB
2 Number of CPUs Maximum 4 CPUs in case of Windows 10 Pro for Workstation
3 Features Included Edge, Cortana, Microsoft Store, Timeline and more Creating static IP address for client machines, creating dynamic users, deploying an operating system remotely to other machines and more
4 Network Connections Upto 20 More than 20 (depends upon the hardware capability
5. Price Free(if upgrading from Windows 7, 8, or 8.1) $500 to $6200
6. Tasks Foreground Background

So, if you want to get the Windows operating system for personal use, then it is smart to go with Windows 10. If you have an existing Windows 8.1, 8 or 7 license, you can get it upgraded to Windows 10 for free . However, if you want the operating system for handling operations such as managing other computers, then Windows Server should be the option to choose.

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