What's New

Maintenance is a curious area for the Windows Server 2003 editions. In some ways, you'll find that the product hasn't changed much from Windows 2000. In other ways, you won't recognize the product because so much has changed. The biggest changes come in areas of totally new or improved functionality, such as Automated System Restore (ASR) and Software Update Services. Other major maintenance tools, such as Windows's built-in backup and restore application, have changed very little.

Hotfix and service pack management is one of the biggest areas of improvement in Windows Server 2003. In previous versions of Windows, hotfixes were usually applied individually, or in batches by using add-on tools such as Microsoft's Qchain.exe. Windows Server 2003 eliminates the need for these services by including hotfix installation and management software right in the core OS. In addition, Microsoft's new Software Update Services (SUS) provides tools that allow corporations to deploy security hotfixes (now called security updates) and service packs directly to other servers and to client computers.

If you've been working with Windows XP, you'll notice that a number of its maintenance features have found their way into Windows Server 2003. ASR, for example, originally appeared in earlier versions of Windows and is fully integrated into Windows Server 2003. Windows XP's expanded Windows Management Instrumentation is also included in Windows Server 2003, providing an excellent interface for VBScript-savvy administrators who want to automate common management tasks.