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Other Changes in Windows Server 2008 R2

Applies To: Windows Server 2008 R2

This document describes new and changed features in Windows Server® 2008 R2. It does not comprehensively list all the changes in Windows Server 2008 R2, but it focuses on improvements in several areas.

Unless otherwise specified, these items apply to all editions and installation options of Windows Server 2008 R2.


For a complete view of Windows 7 resources, articles, demos, and guidance, please visit the Springboard Series for Windows 7 on the Windows Client TechCenter.

In this document:

  • Active Directory Rights Management Services

  • Core services and fundamentals

  • Windows Update Stand-alone Installer

  • TCP chimney

  • Background Intelligent Transfer Service

  • New server migration tools and migration guides

  • Windows Media Audio Voice Encoder and Decoder

Active Directory Rights Management Services

New Windows® PowerShell™ cmdlets allow you to deploy and administer Active Directory® Rights Management Services (AD RMS) from the command line.

  • PowerShell deployment. This feature applies to Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard, Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise, Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter, and Windows Server 2008 R2 Foundation. Prior to Windows Server 2008 R2, the AD RMS role could be added and provisioned only through Server Manager. In Windows Server 2008 R2, you can create Windows PowerShell cmdlets to add and provision the AD RMS role.

  • PowerShell administration. This feature applies to Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard, Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise, Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter, Windows Server 2008 R2 Foundation, and Microsoft® Hyper-V™ Server 2008 R2. Prior to Windows Server 2008 R2, AD RMS administration functionality was available through Server Manager or with scripts. In Windows Server 2008 R2, all administration functionality for the AD RMS role is also available through Windows PowerShell cmdlets.

Core services and fundamentals

Group Policy

In Windows Server 2008 R2, Group Policy is improved in the following ways:

  • New Windows PowerShell cmdlets. This feature applies to Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard, Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise, Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter, and Windows Server 2008 R2 Foundation. Prior to Windows Server 2008 R2, IT professionals managed and automated Group Policy through the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) or with scripts written against the GPMC COM interfaces. Windows Server 2008 R2 introduces a powerful set of 25 cmdlets, which allow you to manage and automate Group Policy through Windows PowerShell. With these cmdlets, an IT administrator can back up, restore, report on, and configure (through registry settings) Group Policy objects (GPOs). This functionality is added when the GPMC is installed.

  • ADMX support for Reg_QWORD & Reg_MultiSZ. Prior to Windows Server 2008 R2, you could not configure a registry key that was of type QWORD or MultiSZ through Group Policy Administrative Templates (ADMX). The ADMX schema has been updated to support the QWORD and MultiSZ registry types.

  • Improvements to the ADMX editor. This feature applies to Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard, Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise, Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter, and Windows Server 2008 R2 Foundation. Prior to Windows Server 2008 R2, the ADMX editor was displayed as a non-resizable, tabbed dialog box. UI text was often clipped, and Help content was difficult to find. The new ADMX editor is displayed in a resizable window that prevents text clipping, and information about settings, including Help and comments, is easier to find.

  • Improvements to Group Policy Preferences. This feature applies to Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard, Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise, Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter, and Windows Server 2008 R2 Foundation. New features have been added to Group Policy Preferences that allow you to configure Internet Explorer® 8. New functionality is also available in Scheduled Tasks and Power Plans for Windows Server 2008 R2. IT professionals can use Group Policy Preferences to centrally configure Internet Explorer 8, Scheduled Tasks, and Power Plans settings. This functionality is added when the GPMC is installed. Additionally, the Group Policy preference client-side extensions are included in Windows Server 2008 R2, so you do not need to download them from Windows Update or the Microsoft Download Center.

  • Starter GPOs are included in Windows Windows Server 2008 R2. Eight starter GPOs based on security guidelines from Microsoft are included in Windows Server 2008 R2. This enables an administrator to select starter GPOs from the GPMC. Prior to Windows Server 2008 R2, if an administrator selected the starter GPO node in the GPMC, it would be empty unless they had created or downloaded starter GPOs from the Download Center.

For more information, see What's New in Group Policy.

Windows PowerShell 2.0

Windows PowerShell 2.0 is compatible with Windows PowerShell 1.0, but it has some changes. You need to update your existing scripts and applications to accommodate the following changes:

  • The value of the PowerShellVersion registry entry in HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\PowerShell\1\PowerShellEngine is changed to 2.0.

  • New cmdlets and variables are added that might conflict with variables and functions in profiles and scripts.

  • The -ieq operator performs a case insensitive comparison on characters.

  • The Get-Command cmdlet gets functions by default (in addition to cmdlets).

  • Native commands that generate a user interface cannot be sent to the Out-Host cmdlet.

  • The new Begin, Process, End, and Dynamic Param language keywords might conflict with similar words that are currently used in scripts and functions. Parsing errors may occur if these words are interpreted as language keywords.

  • Cmdlet name resolution is changed. In Windows PowerShell 1.0, a runtime error was generated when two Windows PowerShell snap-ins exported cmdlets with the same name. In Windows PowerShell 2.0, the last cmdlet that is added to the session runs when you type the command name. To run a command that does not run by default, qualify the cmdlet name with the name of the snap-in or module in which it originated.

  • A function name followed by -? gets the Help topic for the function, if one is included in the function.

  • Parameter resolution for Microsoft .NET Framework methods are changed. In Windows PowerShell 1.0, if you called an overloaded .NET method with more than one best-fit syntax, no error was reported. In Windows PowerShell 2.0, an ambiguity error is reported. In addition, in Windows PowerShell 2.0, the algorithm for choosing the best-fit method is revised significantly to minimize the number of ambiguities.

  • If you use Import-Module to load commands that use unapproved verbs or restricted characters in the command name, you will receive a warning. Use the Get-Verb command to see a list of approved verbs. Do not use any of the following characters in command names:

    [ # , ( ) { } [ ] & - / \ $ ^ ; : " ' < > | ? @ ` * ~ % + =

  • If you are enumerating a collection in the pipeline and you try to modify the collection in the pipeline, Windows PowerShell 2.0 generates an exception. For example, the following commands work in Windows PowerShell 1.0, but they fail after the first pipeline iteration in Windows PowerShell 2.0.

    $h = @{Name="Hello"; Value="Test"}
    $h.keys | foreach-object {$h.remove($_)}

    To avoid this error, create a sub-expression for the enumerator by using the $() characters, as shown below:

    $($h.keys) | foreach-object {$h.remove($_)}

For more information, see What's New in Windows PowerShell in the Windows Server TechCenter.

Windows Media Audio Voice Encoder and Decoder

The DirectX Media Objects (DMOs) for Windows Media Audio Voice Encoder (wmspdmoe.dll) and Windows Media Audio Voice Decoder (wmspdmod.dll) have been updated in Windows Server 2008 R2. They now produce an error when there is an attempt to use them outside the set of supported sampling rates, which are 8 kHz, 16 kHz, 11.25 kHz, and 22.5 kHz.

Windows Update Stand-alone Installer

The Windows Update Stand-alone Installer (Wusa.exe) provides the following improvements in Windows Server 2008 R2:

  • Uninstall support. Prior to Windows Server 2008 R2, Wusa.exe included install support only. In Windows Server 2008 R2, Wusa.exe includes uninstall support so that administrators can uninstall updates from a command line. Users can uninstall an update by providing the path to the .msu file or by providing the package number (from the Microsoft Knowledge Base) of the update to be uninstalled.

    Use the following command to uninstall an update by specifying the full path to the update:

    wusa.exe /uninstall <Path>

    Use the following command to uninstall an update by specifying the update package number from the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

    wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:<KB Number>
  • Additional command-line parameters. New parameters are available in Windows Server 2008 R2 to enable logging, extract the contents of an .msu file, and control the restart behavior when an update is installed in quiet mode.

    Command-Line Parameter Windows Server 2008 Windows Server 2008 R2


    Not available. Logging can only be enabled through tracing tools.

    New parameter enables logging through the Wusa.exe tool.


    Not available. Contents of .msu files can only be extracted by using the Expand.exe tool.

    New parameter enables .msu files to be extracted by using the Wusa.exe tool.


    Supports the /norestart option only.

    Extended to support the /forcerestart, /warnrestart, and /promptrestart options.

  • Extended error information. The Wusa.exe tool provides extended information in error scenarios for better diagnosis.

    Error Error code in Windows Server 2008 Error code in Windows Server 2008 R2

    Update is already installed.

    1 (S_FALSE)


    Update is not applicable.

    1 (S_FALSE)

    0x80240017 (WU_E_NOT_APPLICABLE)


An update was released to provide the error codes for Windows Server 2008 R2 on computers that are running Windows Server 2008. For more information about the update, see article 949545 in the Microsoft Knowledge base (

TCP chimney

The default behavior of TCP offloads has changed as follows:

  • On 10 GbE network adapters, TCP connections are offloaded by default.

  • On 1 GbE network adapters, TCP connections are not offloaded by default.

To offload TCP connections on a 1 GbE network adapter, you must explicitly enable TCP offloading. To enable TCP offloading, follow these steps:

  1. Verify that a TCP chimney-capable 1 GbE network adapter is installed on the computer and that TCP offloading is enabled on the network adapter.

  2. Run the following command at an elevated command prompt:

    netsh int tcp set global chimney=enabled

Background Intelligent Transfer Service

Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) 4.0 leverages the BranchCache™ infrastructure to provide peer-to-peer file transfer functionality. It does not interoperate with the BITS 3.0 peer-caching solution that was included with Windows Vista® and Windows Server 2008.


As a result of this change, any enterprise application or service (such as Windows Server Update Services) that uses BITS 3.0 peer caching must download files directly from the originating server rather than retrieve them from a peer computer. To avoid or correct this issue, use a computer that has Windows Server 2008 R2 and BranchCache installed.

New server migration tools and migration guides

Server migration tools and migration guides are introduced to facilitate the process of migrating server roles, operating system settings, and data from an existing server that is running Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, or Windows Server 2008 R2 to a computer that is running Windows Server 2008 R2. Most of these migration tools and migration guides support the following:

  • Cross-architecture migrations (x86-based to x64-based computing platforms)

  • Migrations between physical and virtual environments

  • Migrations between the full and Server Core installation options of the Windows Server operating system

Server migration tools, migration guides, or both, are available for the Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS), DNS, DHCP, File, and Print server roles, the BranchCache feature, data and shared folders, IP configuration data, and local users and groups.

For more information, see Migrate to Windows Server 2008 R2 (