Windows Server 2025
02/19/2024
5 min
0

Windows Server 2025: Everything we know so far

02/19/2024
5 min
0

Windows Server 2025 was officially announced on Jan. 26, 2024. Microsoft has made the preview, build 26040, available to IT administrators. They now have a chance to test the new features and enhancements. Windows Server 2025 is designed to support the hybrid and adaptive Cloud. It also offers IT administrators a number of features to help modernize server infrastructures. Since Microsoft has only revealed a part of what has been improved, in this article, you can read more about everything that is known so far about Windows Server 2025.

Windows Server 2025: Release Date

Windows Server 2025 can be expected in the fall of this year. However, this is just speculation as Microsoft has not yet announced a release date. In the past, Microsoft has announced the general availability of Windows Server 2022 in September 2021. So it could be that Microsoft is planning to release the new Windows Server 2025 again in September but this year – 2024. This is, however, simply an educated guess and we will have to wait and see when the actual release date will be. 

Windows Server 2022 banner

Read more about the features and editions of Microsoft Windows Server 2022.

Windows Server 2025: What can we expect?

Microsoft has revealed that it does not plan to bring the power of sudo to Windows Server 2025. Instead, the sudo command will be added to the consumer version of Windows 11. Furthermore, Windows Server 2025 will offer several new features and the pay-as-you-go option for Enterprise customers. The release of Windows Server 2025 brings features such as SMB, Active Directory page customization enhancements, hot patching support and storage optimizations. What is more, Windows Server 2025 comes with a revamped interface similar to Windows Client Installers and Microsoft has also improved the Bluetooth connection. In conjunction with this revamped interface, the name changes from Microsoft Server Operating System Setup to Windows Server Setup. 

With the arrival of Windows Server 2025, some features are also disappearing, such as PNRP (Peer Name Resolution Protocol). PNRP was already frowned upon by many security experts because PNRP is vulnerable to exploits such as DDos attacks. SMTP Server is also disappearing, along with the tools that were offered. This feature has been under pressure since Windows Server 2012. Managing SMTP in the IIS6 console came with many challenges for users. Today, therefore, most have switched to the alternatives: Azure Communication Services or SendGrid. Finally, PowerShell Modules have also undergone a good amount of changes. Below is a brief overview with all the changes.

New PowerShell Modules in Windows Server 2025:

  1. DefenderPerformance: This module enables troubleshooting and optimizes Defender's scanning performance. 
  2. LanguagePackManagement: Managing OS language packs.
  3. Microsoft.ReFsDedup.Commands: Managing ReFS duplication and compression engine.
  4. Microsoft.Windows.Bcd.Cmdlets: Managing BCD entries through PowerShell commands.
  5. Provisioning: Managing Provisioning packages.

Changed PowerShell Modules in Windows Server 2025:

  1. Get-NetView: Newer version.
  2. Defender: added rollback command.
  3. Appx: Integrated MSIX commands.
  4. Dism: Added commands for app provisioning.
  5. International: Ability to copy international setting from users to systems.
  6. NetSecurity: Added commands to manage Firewall rules for WSLv2 containers.
  7. SmbShare: New commands to improve SMB over Quick functionality.
  8. Storage: Convert-PhysicsDisk command.

Windows Server 2025: New features

With the emergence of Windows Server 2025, there is a lot of speculation going around about what exactly is new. While not a whole lot is known about it yet, Microsoft revealed on their forum what is currently being working on. Read more about the new features below:

An improved functional level AD

Microsoft Active Directory is an important component in many companies' IT infrastructure. This database allows you to easily organize and manage objects. Think of servers, workstations, user accounts, printers or shared resources. Three main elements will appear, when an AD is set up.

  1. The functional level of the Forest AD.
  2. The functional level of the domain AD.
  3. The schema version of your AD.

As Microsoft plans to release a new version of AD in Windows Server 2025, this will bring new functionalities. These will promote the latest version of Forest AD and domain AD.

Read more about Active Directory with Windows Server.

SMB over QUIC

SMB (Server Message Block) could be configured by users in all editions of Windows Server 2025. SMB over QUIC (Quick UDP Internet Connections) can switch through another port instead of the 443 port. SMB over QUIC is an alternative to TCP network transport. It also provides a secure and reliable connection to edge file servers over untrusted networks. 

New security enhancements

The 2025 version of AD has some security improvements. RC4 algorithm has become the preferred method and LDAP communication now supports TLS 1.3 for LDP over TLS. 

Microsoft now uses an AES encryption method when changing passwords, blocking older SAM-RPCs. There will be further security enhancements beyond AD, but nothing is known about them at this time.

Hotpatching

In Windows Server 2025, Microsoft makes Hotpatching available to everyone. This feature helps IT administrators apply critical security updates without rebooting the server.

AI-based management

This new feature in Windows Server 2025 helps IT administrators in the server infrastructure. Using artificial intelligence simplifies the process of managing and securing server infrastructure.

Windows Server 2025: End of Life

Looking back at the standard support periods for previous Microsoft products, we can make an educated guess about the length of the mainstream and extended support for Windows Server 2025. For example, Windows Server 2022 was released on 18th of August 2021 and its mainstream support will end on the 13th of October 2026. We could therefore assume that the mainstream support for Windows Server 2025 will also last around five years. After the mainstream support, following the current pattern, Windows Server 2025 should be supported through the extended support. This usually last 5 more years after the mainstream support has ended.

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Windows Server vNext

Upgrading from Windows Server to vNext is similar to the way Windows users perform updates. This can be easily done through the Windows Update feature. With one click on the update button, the system should update from the old version to the new version of Windows Server 2025. Microsoft plans to sell Windows Server vNext, as before, with a one-time purchase. However, Microsoft is now also offering the option to pay by subscription, this is called the pay-as-you-go principle. This option is enabled through Azure Arc and payments go through Azure Commerce. These 'pay-as-you-go' subscriptions are a good alternative for companies during seasonal work, for example, as they would only pay for the months in which they used Windows Server 2025. Pay-as-you-go might therefore not be the best solution for every company especially for bigger ones. In the long run, it would make more financial sense to acquire Windows Server 2025 as a perpetual license, as the benefits outweigh the initial investment. Furthermore, Microsoft intends to bring the hotpatch capabilities to the rest of its cloud services and server products. Hotpatching allows organizations to apply updates in memory, and thus avoid rebooting traditional patching process.

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Stay tuned to Windows Server 2025

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