Windows Server Definitions

This glossary explains the meaning of key words and phrases that information technology (IT) and business professionals use when discussing Microsoft Windows Server and related software products. You can find additional definitions by visiting WhatIs.com or using the search box below.

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  • M

    Microsoft Hyper-V Manager

    Microsoft Hyper-V Manager is a tool that allows administrators to create, change and delete virtual machines (VMs).

  • Microsoft Hyper-V Shielded VM

    A Microsoft Hyper-V Shielded VM is a security feature of Windows Server 2016 that protects a Hyper-V second-generation virtual machine (VM) from access or tampering by using a combination of Secure Boot, BitLocker encryption, virtual Trusted Platform Module (TPM) and the Host Guardian Service.

  • Microsoft Identity Manager

    Microsoft Identity Manager -- also called Microsoft Identity Manager 2016 or MIM -- is an on-premises tool that enables organizations to manage access, users, policies and credentials.

  • Microsoft iSCSI Initiator

    Microsoft iSCSI Initiator is a tool that connects external iSCSI-based storage to host computers with an Ethernet network adapter.

  • Microsoft Log Parser Studio

    Microsoft Log Parser Studio is a front-end utility that features a graphical user interface, report builder and query repository for Microsoft's Log Parser application.

  • Microsoft Monitoring Agent

    The Microsoft Monitoring Agent is a service used to watch and report on application and system health on a Windows computer.

  • Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP)

    A Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) is an individual recognized by Microsoft for exceptional technical expertise and a talent for sharing knowledge within their technical community.

  • Microsoft Nano Server

    Microsoft Nano Server is a lightweight operating system based on Microsoft Windows Server 2016 that is tailored for use as an OS layer for virtualized container instances.

  • Microsoft Network Device Enrollment Service (NDES)

    Microsoft Network Device Enrollment Service (NDES) is a security feature in Windows Server 2008 R2 and later Windows Server operating versions. NDES provides and manages certificates used to authenticate traffic and implement secure network communication with devices that might not otherwise possess valid domain credentials.

  • Microsoft Network Policy and Access Services (Microsoft NPAS)

    Microsoft Network Policy and Access Services (Microsoft NPAS) is a server role in Windows 2008 and Windows Server 2012 that allows administrators to provide local and remote network access.

  • Microsoft Office 365 Admin Center

    The Microsoft Office 365 Admin Center is the web-based portal administrators use to manage user accounts and configuration settings for the Office 365 subscription services, including Exchange Online and SharePoint Online.

  • Microsoft Office 365 admin roles

    Microsoft Office 365 admin roles give users authorization to perform certain tasks in the Office 365 admin center. Only the global administrator can assign or modify an admin role, which grants the permissions required to control certain functions in Office 365.

  • Microsoft Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection

    Microsoft Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) is Microsoft's optional cloud-based service that scans and filters email to protect subscribers from malware in attachments and hyperlinks to malicious websites.

  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS)

    Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) is the full version of a portal-based platform for collaboratively creating, managing and sharing documents and Web services. MOSS enables users to create "Sharepoint Portals" that include shared workspaces, applications, blogs, wikis and other documents accessible through a Web browser. The free version, Windows SharePoint Server (WSS), usually referred to as simply "Sharepoint," is available as a free download included with every Windows Server license. (Continued...)

  • Microsoft Online Services Sign-In Assistant

    The Microsoft Online Services Sign-In Assistant is a software application that provides common sign-on capabilities for a suite of Microsoft online services, such as Office 365.

  • Microsoft Outlook

    Microsoft Outlook is the preferred email client used to send and receive emails by accessing Microsoft Exchange Server email.

  • Microsoft Outlook MailTips

    Microsoft Outlook MailTips is an opt-in tool for Exchange Server 2013 that will send alerts to end users when they are about about to click "reply all" to a large distribution list, send sensitive information to someone outside the organization or send a message to someone who is out of the office.

  • Microsoft Outlook on the web (formerly Outlook Web App, OWA)

    Outlook on the web is the browser-based email client for users to access email, calendars, tasks and contacts from Microsoft's on-premises Exchange Server and cloud-based Exchange Online.

  • Microsoft RD Virtualization Host (Remote Desktop Virtualization Host)

    Microsoft RD Virtualization Host (Remote Desktop Virtualization Host) is a Remote Desktop Services role service in Windows Server 2008 R2.

  • Microsoft Remote Desktop Web Access (Microsoft RD Web Access)

    Microsoft Remote Desktop Web Access (Microsoft RD Web Access) is a feature in Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012 that allows users to access RemoteApp and Desktop Connection through the Start menu or a Web browser.

  • Microsoft Scale-Out File Server

    Microsoft Scale-Out File Server is an active-active clustered file server feature based on Server Message Block (SMB) 3.0 to provide continuous availability of file shares in Windows Server.

  • Microsoft SCOM (System Center Operations Manager)

    Microsoft's SCOM dashboard uses traffic light color-coding to indicate object health states. Green is healthy, yellow is a warning and red indicates there is a critical issue.The data center administrator can adjust these levels as needed.

  • Microsoft Security Configuration Wizard (SCW)

    Microsoft Security Configuration Wizard (SCW) is an administrative tool used to change the default security settings on a server and to apply a security policy on multiple servers.

  • Microsoft Software Assurance (SA)

    Microsoft Software Assurance is a software maintenance program that helps organizations gain access to the latest software versions and releases, without incurring additional licensing costs.

  • Microsoft Storage QoS (Storage Quality of Service)

    Microsoft Storage QoS (Storage Quality of Service) is a feature for monitoring and managing the performance of storage resources allocated to individual virtual machines (VMs) running on Hyper-V and scale-out file servers or cluster shared volumes.

  • Microsoft Storage Replica

    Microsoft Storage Replica is a feature in Windows Server 2016 that provides synchronous block-level, volume-based replication for high availability and disaster recovery needs.

  • Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct

    Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct is a feature in Windows Server 2016 that uses local server storage to build highly available and scalable software-defined storage systems for Hyper-V virtual machines.

  • Microsoft System Center

    Microsoft System Center is a suite of individually sold systems management products... (Continued)

  • Microsoft System Center 2012

    Microsoft System Center 2012 is a bundled suite of systems management products that offers tools to monitor and automate virtualized environments, including private clouds based on Microsoft Hyper-V.

  • Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM)

    Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) is a Windows product that enables the management, deployment and security of devices and applications across an enterprise.

  • Microsoft System Center Operations Manager Management Pack (Microsoft SCOM Management Pack)

    A System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) Management Pack is a pre-fabricated rule set intended to extend and configure SCOM for specific services or applications.

  • Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA)

    The Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) is a free online school with courses that cover Microsoft-related topics and specific Microsoft products.

  • Microsoft Virtual Machine Bus (VMBus)

    Microsoft Virtual Machine Bus (VMBus) is a mechanism within the Hyper-V architecture that enables logical communication in partitions.

  • Microsoft Windows Azure Active Directory (Windows Azure AD)

    Microsoft Windows Azure Active Directory (Windows Azure AD or Azure AD) is a cloud service that provides administrators with the ability to manage end-user identities and access privileges.

  • Microsoft Windows Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS)

    The Microsoft Windows Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) is a component in Microsoft Windows operating systems that takes unused network bandwidth to perform concurrent file transfers between machines.

  • Microsoft Windows Control Panel

    The Microsoft Windows Control Panel is a management tool for the Windows operating system (OS) that allows end users to change settings and manage tasks within the OS. 

  • Microsoft Windows Features on Demand

    Microsoft Windows Features on Demand is a feature that allows system administrators to add or remove roles and features in Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, and later versions of the client and server operating system to alter the file size of those operating systems.

  • Microsoft Windows Insider Program for Business

    Microsoft Windows Insider Program for Business is a service for IT professionals who want to test preview builds of Windows 10 and Windows Server in the enterprise before general availability.

  • Microsoft Windows Performance Monitor

    The Microsoft Windows Performance Monitor is a tool that admins can use to examine how programs running on their computers affect their performance.

  • Microsoft Windows PowerShell DSC (Desired State Configuration)

    Desired State Configuration (DSC) is a feature in PowerShell 4.0 and above that helps administrators to automate the configuration of Windows and Linux operating systems.

  • Microsoft Windows PowerShell Integrated Scripting Environment (ISE)

    The Windows PowerShell Integrated Scripting Environment (ISE) is a graphical user interface and front-end hosting application for Windows PowerShell.

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2

    Windows Server 2012 R2 is the second iteration of Windows Server 2012.

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2016

    Microsoft Windows Server 2016 is Microsoft's server operating system (OS).

  • Microsoft Windows Server Desktop Experience

    Microsoft Windows Server Desktop Experience is a feature that allows admins to install various Windows 7 features on servers running Windows Server 2008, Windows 8 features on servers running Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8.1 features on servers running Windows Server 2012 R2.

  • Microsoft Windows Server Event Viewer

    Microsoft Windows Server Event Viewer is a monitoring tool that shows a log of events that can be used to troubleshoot issues on a Windows-based system.

  • Microsoft Windows Server LTSC (Long-Term Servicing Channel)

    Microsoft Windows Server LTSC (Long-Term Servicing Channel) is a servicing option for Microsoft's server operating system that follows the familiar track of two to three years between feature updates.

  • Microsoft Windows Server Manager

    Microsoft Windows Server Manager is a tool for managing a server's identity and the roles installed on the server.

  • Microsoft Windows Server OS (operating system)

    Microsoft Windows Server OS (operating system) is a series of enterprise-class server operating systems designed to share services with multiple users and provide extensive administrative control of data storage, applications and corporate networks.

  • Microsoft Windows Server Semi-Annual Channel (SAC)

    Microsoft Windows Server Semi-Annual Channel (SAC) is a servicing option that delivers a feature update twice a year for organizations that want the latest Windows Server functionality.

  • Microsoft Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)

    Microsoft Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) is a series of Microsoft components that allow native Linux 64-bit Executable and Linkable Format (ELF64) binaries to run on the Windows kernel in the Windows 10 operating system (OS).

  • Microsoft Windows Update

    Microsoft Windows Update is a security service for Windows users that, once activated, automatically searches for and installs updates.

  • Microsoft Windows Update Agent

    Microsoft Windows Update Agent is a tool that can work in conjunction with Windows Server Update Services on each client computer in an enterprise that checks for available updates.

  • Monad Manifesto

    The Monad Manifesto is a document written by Jeffrey Snover in 2002 that outlined his idea for a new Windows systems administration tool named Monad, which was changed to Windows PowerShell.

  • Windows Admin Center (formerly Project Honolulu)

    Windows Admin Center, formerly Microsoft Project Honolulu, is a browser-based utility that manages Windows Server and client operating systems, hyper-converged clusters and failover clusters.

  • Windows containers

    Windows containers are abstracted, isolated and portable operating environments supported by the Microsoft Windows Server 2016 operating system and managed with tools such as Docker and PowerShell.

  • N

    NDIS (Network Driver Interface Specification)

    NDIS (Network Driver Interface Specification) is a Windows specification for how communication protocol programs (such as TCP/IP) and network device driver should communicate with each other.

  • Ntdsutil

    Ntdsutil.exe is a command-line tool for accessing and managing a Windows Active Directory database. 

  • NTFS (NT File System)

    NTFS, which stands for 'NT file system' and the 'New Technology File System,' is the file system that the Windows NT operating system (OS) uses for storing and retrieving files on hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid-state drives (SSDs).

  • O

    OAB (offline address book)

    An Offline Address Book is a downloaded copy of a Microsoft Outlook user's address list which allows the user access to email addresses when disconnected from Exchange Server.

  • Open Document Format (ODF)

    The Open Document Format (ODF) is an XML-based open source file format for saving and exchanging text, spreadsheets, charts, and presentations...

  • organizational unit (OU)

    An organizational unit (OU) is a container within a Microsoft Active Directory domain which can hold users, groups and computers.

  • Outlook Anywhere

    Microsoft Outlook Anywhere is a software feature that allows end users with Microsoft Office Outlook 2010, Outlook 2007 or Outlook 2003 to access corporate email and calendars over the Internet from outside the corporate domain without having to log into a virtual private network (VPN). 

  • P

    peer-to-peer network (P2P network)

    A peer-to-peer (P2P) network is a network in which each computer functions as a client or server for other computers in the network.

  • PowerShell

    PowerShell is an object-oriented automation engine and scripting language with an interactive command-line shell that Microsoft developed to help IT professionals configure systems and automate administrative tasks.

  • Preboot Execution Environment (PXE)

    The Preboot Execution Environment or PXE (commonly pronounced as pixie) is a client-server environment that enables network computers to boot over the network interface card (NIC), instead of from a CD-ROM or hard disk.

  • R

    read-only

    Read-only is a file attribute which only allows a user to view a file, restricting any writing to the file.

  • Receive Segment Coalescing (RSC)

    Receive Segment Coalescing (RSC) is an offload technology in Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 that can help reduce how much of the CPU is used in network processing.

  • remote code execution (RCE)

    Remote code execution is a security vulnerability that allows an attacker to execute codes from a remote server.

  • Remoting (PowerShell Remoting)

    PowerShell Remoting is a feature in PowerShell that lets admins run commands on remote systems.

  • Resilient File System (ReFS)

    Resilient File System (ReFS) is a file system developed by Microsoft for use on the Windows operating system (OS) that's designed to overcome some of the limitations in the New Technology File System (NTFS).

  • restore point

    A system restore point is a backup copy of important Windows operating system (OS) files and settings that can be used to recover the system to an earlier point of time in the event of system failure or instability.

  • RODC (read-only domain controller)

    A read-only domain controller (RODC) is a domain controller that hosts an Active Directory database's read-only partitions.

  • RSAT (Microsoft Remote Server Administration Tools)

    RSAT (Remote Server Administration Tools) is a feature that began in Windows Server 2008 R2 to help admins remotely manage computers running Windows Server.

  • RSoP (Resultant Set of Policy)

    RSoP (Resultant Set of Policy) is a report of all Group Policy settings within Active Directory that shows how those settings can affect a network.

  • S

    Second Level Address Translation (SLAT)

    Second Level Address Translation (SLAT) is a technology designed to reduce the overhead in a hypervisor CPU while easing the management of a hypervisor's memory and is often found with Hyper-V.

  • service desk

    An IT service desk is a communications center that provides a single point of contact (SPOC) between a company, its customers, employees and business partners.

  • SharePoint Online

    Microsoft SharePoint Online is a collection of cloud- and web-based technologies that make it easy for organizations to store, share and manage digital information.

  • SMB 3.0 (Server Message Block 3.0)

    SMB 3.0 (Server Message Block 3.0) is a protocol that provides a way for a computer's client applications to read and write to files and to request services from server programs in a computer network.

  • snap-in

    Snap-in, in general, refers to an object that can be attached to another object and that will then function as part of the whole.

  • social computing

    Social computing is the collaborative and interactive nature of online behavior. Since the 1990s, computing has increasingly been assumed to be online; simultaneously, online behavior has become increasingly social.

  • swap file (swap space or page file)

    A swap file is a system file that creates temporary storage space on a solid-state drive or hard disk when the system runs low on memory.

  • system

    A system is a collection of elements or components that are organized for a common purpose.

  • System Insights

    System Insights is a feature that debuted in Windows Server 2019 that processes data and uses predictive analytics to warn administrators of potential issues with Windows Server deployments.

  • System Restore

    System Restore is a utility to protect and revert the Windows client operating system to a previous state -- known as a restore point -- undoing system changes made since that time to avoid a reinstall of the operating system.

  • T

    TCPView

    TCPView is a Windows network monitoring utility that shows a graphical representation of all currently active TCP and UDP endpoints on a system.

  • transitive trust

    Transitive trust is a two-way relationship automatically created between parent and child domains in a Microsoft Active Directory forest.

  • U

    update sequence number (USN)

    An update sequence number (USN) is a 64-bit number in Active Directory that increments time as changes occur. Local counters on every domain controller assign USNs.

  • USB 3.0 (SuperSpeed USB)

    USB 3.0, also known as SuperSpeed USB, is the next major revision of the Universal Serial Bus (USB).

  • V

    VHDX (Hyper-V virtual hard disk)

    VHDX is a Hyper-V virtual hard disk (VHD) format found in Windows Server 2012.

  • W

    wbadmin

    Wbadmin is an elevated command prompt that allows administrators or backup operators to backup and restore an operating system (OS), volume, file, folder or application.

  • Web Application Proxy

    Web Application Proxy is a service in Windows Server 2012 R2 that allows end users to access applications from outside the corporate network on any device.

  • Windows

    Windows is Microsoft's flagship operating system (OS), the de facto standard for home and business computers.

  • Windows CE

    Windows CE is based on the Microsoft Windows operating system but is designed for including or embedding in mobile and other space-constrained devices.

  • Windows Deployment Services (WDS)

    Windows Deployment Services is a server role that gives admins the ability to deploy Windows operating systems remotely.

  • Windows Domain Join

    Windows Domain Join is a feature that lets users establish a remote and secure connection to a work domain using credentials from the enterprise, allowing them to effectively "join" that domain.

  • Windows event log

    The Windows event log is a detailed record of system, security and application notifications stored by the Windows operating system that is used by administrators to diagnose system problems and predict future issues.

  • Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI)

    Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) is a set of specifications from Microsoft for consolidating the management of devices and applications in a network from Windows computing systems.

  • Windows NT

    Windows NT is a Microsoft Windows personal computer operating system designed for users and businesses needing advanced capability.

  • Windows Process Activation Service (WPAS)

    Windows Process Activation Service (WAS) is a tool for managing worker processes that contain applications that host Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) services. Worker processes handle requests that are sent to a Web Server for specific application pools. Each application pool sets boundaries for the applications it contains.

  • Windows Remote Management (WinRM)

    Windows Remote Management (WinRM) is a feature of Windows Vista that allows administrators to remotely run management scripts... (Continued)

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