What's New for Server Protection in Windows Server 2008

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

Server protection within the enterprise consists of technologies and features that help secure the Windows Server® 2008 operating system within any server role configuration. Additional security technologies and features may be applicable to specific server roles or configurations.

Server role security configuration

The process of securing a computer running Windows Server 2008 is reversed from the process used in Windows Server 2003. Upon installation, when Server Manager runs, the Windows Firewall with Advanced Security is adjusted to allow the appropriate security settings for each individual server role. In effect, you unlock the server based upon server roles you install. Each server role has a specific security template with mapped dependencies and constraints. Specific rules in the Windows Firewall with Advanced Security are bi-directional to allow communication between computers, the selection of applications to run, and the selection of the security principals for each rule. The Security Configuration Wizard (SCW) can be run on a server with an installed server role to analyze the security configuration and configure the allowable security settings.

Additional resources for server role security configuration

Server Core installation option

A Server Core installation is a minimal server installation option for Windows Server 2008. Server Core installations provide an environment for running the following server roles:

  • Active Directory® Domain Services (AD DS)

  • Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS)

  • DHCP Server

  • DNS Server

  • File Services

  • Hyper-V™

  • Print Server

  • Streaming Media Services

  • Web Server (IIS)

By choosing to use the Server Core installation option on a server, you can reduce your administrative effort and help limit security risks. Only a limited number of executable files, DLLs, and services are installed to reduce the attack surface. There is no graphical user interface (GUI), no .NET functionality, and no PowerShell functionality. Management is performed through the command line.

Additional resources for the Server Core installation option

User Account Control

User Account Control (UAC) allows an administrator to enter credentials during a non-administrator's user session to perform occasional administrative tasks without having to switch users, log off, or use the Run as command.

UAC also can also require administrators to specifically approve applications that will make system changes before those applications are allowed to run, even in the administrator's user session.

Additional resources for UAC

Web Server (IIS) role

Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.0 provides for enhanced security and reduced attack surface through customization. You can control which features can be installed and run on your Web server. IIS 7.0 is composed of more than 40 separate feature modules. Each feature module can be independently installed on the server to reduce the attack surface of the server and reduce administrative overhead.

The following improvements have been made to security events management and site delegation:

  • Error logging now includes information relating to the application group and user experiencing the problem.

  • Those who host or administer Web sites or Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) services can delegate administrative control to developers or content owners. New administration tools are provided to support these delegation capabilities.

Additional resources for IIS

Backup and recovery

The Backup feature includes the following improvements relevant to your security design:

  • You can restore items by choosing a backup and then selecting specific items from that backup to restore. You can recover specific files from a folder or all the contents of a folder. In addition, you previously needed to manually restore from multiple backups if the item was stored on an incremental backup. Now, you can choose the date on which you backed up the version of the item you want to restore.

  • Backup works with new Windows recovery tools to make it easier for you to recover your operating system. You can recover to the same server—or if the hardware fails, you can recover to a separate server that has no operating system.

  • Backup uses the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) functionality that is built into applications such as Microsoft SQL Server® to protect application data.

  • Backup includes a wizard that guides you through the process of creating daily backups. System volumes are automatically included in all scheduled backups so that you are protected against system failures.

  • You can save backups to multiple disks in a rotation, which enables you to move disks from an offsite location. Add each disk as a scheduled backup location and, if the first disk is moved offsite, Backup will automatically save backups to the next disk in the rotation.

  • You can manually back up volumes directly to DVD. This offers a solution if you want to create backups that can easily be moved offsite on a one-time basis. This version of Backup retains support for manual backups to shared folders and hard disks. However, scheduled backups must be stored on hard disks.


The Backup tool included in Windows Server 2008 does not use tape storage devices. The use of external and internal disks, DVDs, and shared folders is supported. However, support of tape storage drivers is still included in Windows Server 2008.

Additional resources for backup and recovery

See Also


What's New in Security in Windows Server 2008