I am using Windows Server 2003 R2. We have about 100 PCs which are connected to this server and by using network connection. We are planning to upgrade it to other newer version. So I was looking for comparison between Windows Server 2003 R2, 2008 R2 and 2012.

All of the articles talk about new features like Hyper-V, Hyper v Replica, Active Directory, IIS etc. But I am not using any of these. I am mainly using it as a file server. So, I need to know the features comparison related to it.

How are the 3 server versions different?


Server 2012 has some major improvements (e.g. new SMP Protocol) that make it the best choice out of the three operating systems you mentioned.

You'll have to either do an in-place upgrade to 2008 R2 and then to 2012 or setup a completely new machine. I'd recommend the latter because it's cleaner.

You should check out http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/ which is full of tutorials and labs to get to know all the new server features. MVA is completely free!


The biggest and probably best new feature for file servers in 2012 is data deduplication.

  • 30-90%+ savings can be achieved with deduplication on most types of data.
  • Deduplication is easy to install and the default settings won’t let you shoot yourself in the foot.
  • Deduplication works hard to detect, report and repair disk corruptions.
  • You can experience faster file download times and reduced bandwidth consumption over a WAN through integration with BranchCache.
  • Ok.But does deduplication will support Windows XP machines which are in network? We have some Windows XP PC also.So does this pc will get benefit of reduced bandwidth consumption of deduplication? – IT researcher Aug 6 '13 at 6:15
  • you didnt read the article... – Keltari Aug 6 '13 at 12:23
  • no in article it is mentioned as a feature of server 2012.But this compressed files(which is done by deduplication) can be accessed from windows xp or does xp machine will benefit from network traffic by using this? – IT researcher Aug 6 '13 at 12:44
  • the deduplication is transparent. any device can access it like a normal share. – Keltari May 8 '14 at 3:20

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