Download and Install Windows Server 2025

Microsoft's Windows Server 2025 focuses on enhancing security, improving performance, and introducing innovative features

Prajwal Desai
Posted by Prajwal Desai
Download and Install Windows Server 2025

In this guide, I will explain how to download and install Windows Server 2025. I will also discuss the new features that are included in Server 2025, as well as the prerequisites for installing it.

I was thrilled to see the introduction of Server 2025 when I watched the most recent Microsoft Windows Server summit. On the other hand, Server 2025’s release date was not specified. Microsoft has begun actively posting about Server 2025 after a few months of waiting.

A preview of Server 2025 is out now, and those interested in servers, including myself, can download the ISO to test out the new features. Microsoft concentrated on increasing security, optimizing speed, and adding novel features in Server 2025, which will be a game changer.

New Features in Windows Server 2025

Windows Server 2025 brings lots of new features that include better integration with Azure, Active Directory, updates to Hyper-V and storage improvements. Some of the best features of Server 2025 are listed below.

1. Windows Hotpatching for Everyone: Hotpatching is a popular feature that allows administrators to install updates without rebooting the server. The hotpatching is now fully supported on Windows Server 2025 Standard and Datacenter editions, as well as virtual machines.

2. New Functional Level of AD: When you promote Windows Server 2025 to a domain controller, you will find a new functional level version of domain and forest for the Active Directory, which is Windows Server 2025. In addition, Server 2025 will have a updated schema version of 90.

3. Scaling and performance improvements: When Windows Server 2000 was first launched, it supported 8k page database. With Server 2025, it now supports a 32k page database, which improves the overall performance of the server.

4. Delegated Managed Service Accounts: A new account type known as delegated managed service account (dMSA) is introduced in Windows Server 2025 that allows migration from a traditional service account to a machine account with managed and fully randomized keys, while disabling original service account passwords.

5. NUMA Support: Starting in Windows Server 2025, there is better support for non-uniform memory access (NUMA) by removing the 64 CPU core limit.

6. Storage performance: optimized support for some storage devices, including NVMe over Fabrics, which can improve storage performance by up to 70%.

7. Improved security for default machine account passwords: AD now uses random generated default computer account passwords. Windows 2025 DC’s block setting computer account passwords to the default password of the computer account name.

8. Kerberos AES SHA256 and SHA384: The Kerberos protocol implementation is updated to support stronger encryption and signing mechanisms with support for RFC 8009 by adding SHA-256 and SHA-384.

For a complete list of new features, please read the official documentation by Microsoft on What’s new in Windows Server 2025.

Deprecated Features in Windows Server 2025

We have seen in the past that whenever a new server operating system is released, some of the previous features are removed or replaced. Microsoft has removed the following features and functionalities from Windows Server 2025:

Deprecated FeatureExplanation
IIS 6 Management Console (Web-Lgcy-Mgmt-Console)The console has been removed after being no longer developed in Windows Server 2019. You should also start migration from IIS 6.0 or earlier versions, and move to the latest version of IIS, which is always available in the most recent release of Windows Server.
WordpadWordPad has been removed from Windows Server 2025. We recommend Microsoft Word for rich text documents like .doc and .rtf and Windows Notepad for plain text documents like .txt.
SMTP ServerThe SMTP Server features has been removed from Windows Server 2025. There’s no replacement within the operating systems.
Windows PowerShell 2.0 EngineThe Windows PowerShell 2.0 Engine has been removed, and applications, and components should be migrated to PowerShell 5.0+.
Source: Microsoft

System Requirements

Let’s look at the hardware requirements that are required for installing the Windows Server 2025 operating system. The table below lists the minimum hardware requirements to run Server 2025.

Server 2025 Hardware RequirementsDescription
Processor1.4 GHz 64-bit processor Compatible with x64 instruction set
Supports NX and DEP, CMPXCHG16b, LAHF/SAHF, and PrefetchW
Memory/RAM512 MB (2 GB for Server with Desktop Experience installation option)
ECC (Error Correcting Code) type or similar technology, for physical host deployments
Disk SpaceMinimum 32 GB (Windows Server 2025 using the Server Core installation option)
Network RequirementsAn Ethernet adapter capable of at least 1 gigabit per second throughput
Compliant with the PCI Express architecture specification
AdditionalUEFI 2.3.1c-based system and firmware that supports secure boot
Trusted Platform Module
Graphics device and monitor capable of Super VGA (1024 x 768) or higher-resolution
Hardware requirements for installing Windows Server 2025

Server 2025 Installation Options

When you install Server 2025, you get two installation options. Choose the installation option based on the information provided below.

  • Server Core: This is the recommended installation option. It’s a smaller installation that includes the core components of Windows Server and supports all server roles but does not include a local graphical user interface (GUI). It is used for deployments that are remotely managed with Windows Admin Center, PowerShell, or other server management tools.
  • Server with Desktop Experience: This is the complete installation and includes a full GUI. This option has a larger footprint than server core and is most preferred by organizations.

Also See: Windows server upgrade paths for all versions

Download Windows Server 2025 ISO

There are three different locations from which you can download the latest ISO release of Server 2025, and they are listed as follows:

  • Microsoft Evaluation Center
  • Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center
  • Microsoft Visual Studio Subscriptions (formerly known as MSDN)

Note: Do not download the ISO files from unreliable places; they can contain malware or viruses. ISOs are available from Microsoft, and you should only download them from the official site.

I will be downloading my copy of Windows Server 2025 from Microsoft VSS. Launch the browser and visit the Microsoft VSS downloads site. In the Downloads section, look for the Server category and here you should find Windows Server 2025 listed. Click on the Download button to obtain the latest ISO media for Server 2025.

Download Windows Server 2025 ISO
Download Windows Server 2025 ISO

Install Windows Server 2025

We’ll now go through the process of installing Windows Server 2025. You can choose to install the server OS on your physical machine or a virtual machine. Make sure you go through the hardware requirements of Server 2025 listed in this guide before installing it.

If you have installed previous versions of Server, such as WS 2022 and 2016, you will notice that the setup screens are different and significantly improved in Server 2025.

I am going to install Server 2025 in my lab and test the new features. I have created a virtual machine on which I will be installing the server. Mount the Server 2025 and boot the virtual machine.

On the initial window, you’ll get to select language settings for the server. Click the drop-down and select the language to install, and then choose the time and currency format. Click Next.

Windows Server 2025 - Select Language Settings
Select Language Settings

Select the keyboard or input method and click Next.

Windows Server 2025 - Select Keyboard Settings
Select Keyboard Settings

Choose the setup option “Install Windows Server” to install a new copy of the server OS. Enable the option I agree everything will be deleted including files, apps, and settings. Click Next.

Install Windows Server 2025
Install Windows Server 2025

Enter the product key to activate your copy of Windows Server 2025. If you don’t have a product key or if you are evaluating the server, select I don’t have a product key. You can activate Server 2025 later as well.

Enter Product Key for Server 2025
Enter Product Key for Server 2025

This is a very important step where you must select the edition of Windows server to install. You get the image options to select from:

  • Windows Server 2025 Standard
  • Windows Server 2025 Standard (Desktop Experience)
  • Windows Server 2025 Datacenter
  • Windows Server 2025 Datacenter (Desktop Experience)

I have selected Windows Server 2025 Datacenter (Desktop Experience) for installation. Click Next.

Select the operating system image to install
Select the operating system image to install

Accept the notices and license terms for installing the server.

Accept Server 2025 License Terms
Accept Server 2025 License Terms

Select the location to install Windows Server 2025. Click Next.

Select location to install Windows Server 2025
Select location to install Windows Server 2025

On the Ready to Install window, review the changes and click Install. The Windows Server 2025 installation begins now.

Install Windows Server 2025
Install Windows Server 2025

The below screenshot shows the server setup in progress. Your server will restart a couple of times to complete the installation.

Windows Server 2025 Setup in progress
Windows Server 2025 Setup in progress

Configure Windows Server 2025

The Windows Server 2025 installation is complete. Before you can sign in to the server, you must set a complex password for the administrator account. Once you have done that, click Finish.

Set Administrator Password for Server 2025
Set Administrator Password for Server 2025

On the Send diagnostic data to Microsoft screen, you will have to select whether you want to include optional data to be sent to Microsoft or required data only. Choose one of the options and click Accept.

Diagnostic Data Selection
Diagnostic Data Selection

Upon successful login, you’ll notice that Windows Server 2025 has a new desktop wallpaper. The icons in the notification area also look polished and updated. Overall, the desktop shell experience conforms to the style and appearance of Windows 11.

Windows Server 2025 Desktop Wallpaper
Windows Server 2025 Desktop Wallpaper

Windows 2025 Server Build Number

After you sign in to Windows Server 2025, let’s check the build number and other specifications.

Click Start > Settings > System > About. The following details are displayed under Windows Specifications:

  • Edition: Windows Server 2025 Datacenter
  • Version: 24H2
  • OS build: 26100.1

The OS build of Windows Server 2025 is 26100. You can also find the build number by running the ‘Winver‘ command on the server.

Windows 2025 Server Build Number
Windows 2025 Server Build Number

In the next step, you must activate Server 2025 and install latest Windows updates. Once that is done, you can start testing out the new features offered by Server 2025. I hope this guide was useful. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments section.

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Prajwal Desai
Posted by Prajwal Desai
Prajwal Desai is a Microsoft MVP in Intune and SCCM. He writes articles on SCCM, Intune, Windows 365, Windows Server, Windows 11, WordPress and other topics, with the goal of providing people with useful information.
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