Windows Server Maintenance Checklist

Written by kevin boone
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Windows Server Maintenance Checklist
An array of servers. (Computer servers skyline image by patrimonio designs from

Windows Server 2008 provides behind-the-scenes functionality for network and Internet web servers. If a major network server malfunctions, it can cause widespread Internet outages. Preventive maintenance and recovery procedures are important to keep these servers running smoothly and to quickly get them up and running when they do break down.

Assess the Server's Stability

Run the "Reliability and Performance Scanner" (under "Administrative Tools") to collect real-time information on performance, errors, resource usage, configurations and other events that may compromise a server's stability.

Keep Track of System Events

Run "Windows Event Viewer" to record system, security and application-related events. If Active Directory is installed, look at the "Directory Service Log."

Keep the Servers Updated

Download and install the "Windows Server Update Services." This service downloads security and performance updates. It also allows you to manage, test, distribute and install these updates as needed. Keep WSUS running to ensure that the servers have the most recent updates.

Ensure Server Security

Make sure that IPSec (IP Security) Services are running. This service protects the network from attacks and information monitoring by encrypting the data. It also prevents "ID spoofing" where attackers can falsify the identity of the sender or receiver. Use IPSec to configure and set the appropriate user privileges for your department or organisation.

Also, make sure the Windows Firewall is running to prevent network intrusions. Windows Firewall is available in Windows 2003 SP1 and later versions.

Prevent Virus Infections

Activate the NAP service--Network Access Protection. NAP protects the network from unprotected, infected, non-updated or misconfigured computers from accessing the network. NAP augments the Windows Firewall.

Keep User Access Rights Updated

Run the "Active Directory Certificate Services" role to configure, maintain and manage user access rights as needed. This is important if you frequently have employment turnover.

Protect Files Against Deletion

Activate "Shadow Copies of Shared Folders" to automate the retention and protection of files on a server. This service restores files that have been deleted or overwritten preventing you from having to reload backup copies.

Limit Each User's Resources

Use the "File Server Resource Manager" under "Administrative Tools" to create disk storage quotas for each user. This limits the disk space for each user.

Back Up the Server

Perform a server backup in case of failure and have a procedure in place for restoring if needed. The "Active Directory Windows Server Backup" feature can schedule automatic backups; you can also perform manual backups as needed.

Assure Prompt Server Recovery

Make sure that you have the "Windows Recovery Environment" to restore servers. The WinRE restores the operating system and data files to a different server that has no operating system installed.

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