New Features in Windows Server 2003
From a server and desktop management point of view, Windows Server 2003 has several important new operational features:
In an ongoing effort to avoid compatibility problems between different releases of the same DLL, Microsoft included a new feature in Windows Server 2003 and XP called Side-by-Side assemblies. This feature permits a single DLL name to represent multiple versions, a sort of Jekyll-and-Hyde approach to application management.
User profile migration.
Windows 2000 Service Pack 2 contained a feature called the User State Migration Toolkit, or USMT. An updated version of the toolkit ships with Windows Server 2003 and XP. This version enables you to transfer profile and application configuration settings between machines running any flavor of Explorer-based Windows. There is also a wizard-based tool for doing individual state migrations.
Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) improvements.
The terminal services environment is now present in desktops as well as servers. A new version of RDP helps to make remote access quick and flexible. There is now support for 24-bit color depth, device redirection, hot key functionality within a session, and direct access to the console of a server or desktop.
Fast user switching.
This feature, an extension of terminal services, permits multiple users to run independent sessions at the console of a standalone XP desktop. This simplifies management of non-domain kiosk machines and small workgroup environments.
A user can "invite" another user to share a console session, either to perform maintenance or to explain an operation. The invitation requirement prevents arbitrary prowling of user's desktops.
Unresponsive application handling.
If an application stops communicating with the operating system, the traditional way to kill it has been to use Task Manager or the KILL utility in the Resource Kit. In Windows Server 2003 and XP, the title bar menu for an application window remains responsive even if the application inside the window becomes autistic. This enables you to use the Close option from the title bar menu to kill the application.
The default NTFS permissions in Windows Server 2003 significantly restrict the ability of a user to access files in the system folder. This helps preserve the integrity of the operating system.