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Windows Server 2003, the server version of Windows XP, launched 20 years ago today

windows server 2003

20 years ago today, on April 24, 2003, Microsoft made Windows Server 2003 generally available. This was basically the server version of Windows XP which had launched about 18 months beforehand.

Why mention this rather minor milestone? Because, believe it or not, Windows Server 2003 is still being used by a number of Windows-based PCs worldwide. According to StatCounter's latest number for March 2023, Windows Server 2003 is being used by 0.02 percent of all working Windows desktop PCs. It's the smallest percentage for a single Windows OS that's recorded by StatCounter.

Developed under the code name "Whistler Server" at Microsoft, Windows Server 2003 included a number of new features. One of them was ditching the old-fashioned rescue disk. Instead, it used Automated System Recovery, which, as the name suggested, automated the task of creating a restore point. That was first added in Windows XP Professional. It was also the last of the Windows Server version to work with processors without ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface) support.

Two service packs for Windows Server 2003 were released, with the first on March 30 2005, and the second on March 13, 2007. Also, Windows Server 2003 R2, which bundled the first service pack and some optional new features, was launched on December 6, 2005.

While Microsoft officially ended support for Windows Server 2003 on Jul 14, 2015, the company made an exception on May 13, 2017. It issued a patch for the OS to deal with an exploit that was being used by the hackers behind the infamous "WannaCry" ransomware attack.

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