Download Windows Server v.Next 2025 ISO

Download Windows Server 2025Download Windows Server 2025

Microsoft just recently announced the Windows Server v.Next, which is essentially Windows Server 2025. As you probably guessed, the name is based on the year Windows Server will be rolling out for the public.

Even before this announcement, Microsoft announced the new upcoming features of Server 2025 in the Microsoft Ignite 2023 event. You can view the full video for the discussion here.

Before discussing what’s new in Windows Server 2025, I will show you how you can download it today since Microsoft has already released a preview version. Server 2025 can now be downloaded by the users subscribed to the Windows Insider Program.

You can download Windows Server 2025 right now which is available as a Long Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) release. It comes as both Desktop Experience and Server Core installations and is available in the Datacenter and Standard editions.

Download Windows Server 2025 ISO

Right now, you can download an ISO file for Windows Server 2025 Insider release. Microsoft has released the Server 2025 Build 26052 as an ISO file that you can download and perform a fresh install. To do that, you must have a Microsoft account registered with the Windows Insider Program.

Here is a complete guide to registering with the Insider program:

Register Microsoft account with Windows Insider Program

For those who are already registered, follow these steps to download the Windows Server 2025 ISO file right now:

  1. Open the Windows Insider Preview Downloads page.

  2. Click “Sign in” in the top-right corner.

    Sign into Windows Insider Preview Downloads
    Sign into Windows Insider Preview Downloads
  3. Enter your Microsoft account credentials and sign in.

  4. Expand the drop-down menu under “Microsoft Server Preview” and select “Windows Server VNext Preview ISO (Canary) – Build 26052“, and then click Confirm.

    Note: The build number for the Windows Server 2025 may have changed by the time you are downloading it.

    Select the Windows Server 2025 ISO file
    Select the Windows Server 2025 ISO file
  5. Now select your preferred language from the drop-down menu and click Confirm.

    Select a language
    Select a language
  6. Click “Download Now“.

    Begin the download
    Begin the download
  7. [Conditional] If asked, select a location to download the ISO and click Save.

After performing these steps, your Windows Server v.Next 2025 ISO download will begin. When downloaded, you may use it to install it on a server or create a virtual machine.

What’s new in Windows Server 2025

I have installed Windows Server 2025 on a virtual machine and let me tell you; its user interface has finally been revamped to match that of Windows 11, instead of the old and boring Windows 10. This is because Server 2025 is a counterpart of Windows 11. Moreover, it is also the first version of Windows Server to introduce the Windows 11 Shell.

Other than the interface, there are some new features that Microsoft has announced.

Windows Server Hotpatching

Hotpatching refers to the ability to install updates while the software is running. It does not require a restart and incurs no downtime.

According to the Microsoft representatives at Ignite, it previously took them 3 weeks each month to roll out the Server updates without incurring downtime, and this happened 12 times a year. With hotpatching, they were able to install updates on 1000 servers in less than 48 hours without any downtime.

Server 2025 Azure version also offers hotpatching via the Azure portal but is available on a subscription model.

Windows Server hotpatching
Windows Server hotpatching. Source: Microsoft Ignite 2023

Next Generation Active Directory and SMB

In the Active Directory for Server 2025, the database pages have been reduced to 8K size pages, which previously were 32K. This is a huge milestone for minimizing the size of the OS and its components. If you install a Domain Controller on top of Server 2025 Active Directory, that will also be installed in the “8K page mode”.

It also includes additional performance monitor counters and an updated AD diagnostic Data Collector Set. It also makes use of the Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA) capable hardware by utilizing CPUs in all processor groups to enhance the system’s performance. This improves the server scalability drastically.

Moreover, it also makes a ton of security improvements which have been discussed in this image:

Active Directory security enhancements in Windows Server 2025
Active Directory security enhancements in Windows Server 2025

Server 2025 also includes AD replication priority. This means that if you are taking a backup of your Active Directory, it will take precedence over the other tasks and force it to do the task rather quickly.

Moreover, it also includes new AD functional levels, like new forest and domain levels. However, these new levels will not be backported to older versions.

Server 2025 also includes SMB over QUIC alternative ports that enable Windows admins to switch from using the default SMB over QUIC UDP/443 port to a port of their choice.

If you want to upgrade your current AD to Server 2025, you need to be running at least Windows Server 2016.

Mission Critical Data and Storage

Server 2025 offers nearly a 70 percent performance improvement on NVMe devices when performing input/output operations when compared to Windows Server 2022. But if you use the new native NVMe drive, the performance can improve by about 90 percent.

Moreover, Windows Server 2025 also adopts the NVMe Over Fabric (NVMe-oF) protocol for better connectivity. It is a protocol specification designed to connect hosts to storage across a network fabric using the NVMe network protocol.

Some other storage enhancements have also been included, including performance enhancements with enhancements logs, making it almost 3 times faster. Microsoft has also introduced the ReFS native duplication and compression capabilities in Server 2025, saving almost 60 percent of storage space. While performing VHD or ISO backups, you can now save up to 90 percent of storage space.

Moreover, Microsoft has also included support for cert-based live migration of virtual machines.

Hyper-V and AI

Hyper-V is used in a bunch of places without us even knowing about it, including the Xbox and the Azure cloud.

Server 2025 also includes the ability of physical GPU mapping onto a virtual machine. It also includes GPU Partitioning (GPU-P), where you can use a mapped GPU across multiple virtual machines. You can understand this concept better with this aid:

GPU Partitioning on Server 2025
GPU Partitioning on Server 2025

However, to be able to use these, there are some strict system requirements, given in this image:

GPU Partitioning requirements
GPU Partitioning requirements

Moreover, GPU pools can also be created for High Availability (HA) in case of a failover.

The list doesn’t end here. Server 2025 also includes a new feature called “Dynamic Processor Compatibility“. This feature allows you to move a live virtual machine or move a VM that is saved between nodes with different process capability sets.

The “Generation 2” VMs have also been improved. Here is what has been improved:

Improvements to Generation 2 VMs
Improvements to Generation 2 VMs

Network improvements

Windows Server 2025 also improves the networking.

Networking improvements in Server 2025
Networking improvements in Server 2025

Windows Server 2025 hardware requirements

There are no official statements about Windows Server 2025 system requirements from Microsoft at the moment since it is still in preview release. However, since it is based on the Windows 11 OS, it will likely have similar hardware requirements, including TPM 2.0 and Secure Boot.

Here are the speculated hardware requirements for Windows Server 2025:

Hardware RequirementDescription
Processor1.4 GHz 64-bit processor Compatible with x64 instruction set
Supports NX and DEP, CMPXCHG16b, LAHF/SAHF, and PrefetchW
RAM512 MB (2 GB for Server with Desktop Experience installation option)
ECC (Error Correction Code) type or similar technology, for physical host deployments
Disk SpaceMinimum 32 GB (Windows Server 2022 using the Server Core installation option)
NetworkAn ethernet adapter capable of at least 1 gigabit per second throughput
Compliant with PCI Express architecture specifications
AdditionalUEFI 2.3.1c-based system and firmware that supports Secure Boot
Trusted Platform Module 2.0
Graphics device and monitor capable of Super VGA (1024 x 768) or higher-resolution
Hardware requirements for Windows Server 2025

Conclusion

Whilst installing Windows Server 2025, I noticed that it followed the redesigned Windows setup experience, which further proves that Server 2025 is in fact based on Windows 11. Therefore, installing the OS was a breeze.

When installed, the layout and UI of Server 2025 also resembled Windows 11 – a centered taskbar, redesigned Explorer and Start menu, and pretty much everything else as well.

However, I also noticed that the Server Manager and other elements were still close to Windows 10’s UI like it did not have rounded corners on app windows.

I shall add more information to this article as Microsoft announces more features, release dates, and other information about Windows Server 2025. At the time, following Microsoft’s legacy of releasing its operating system, it can be speculated that since Server 2025 will be coming in 2025, the chances of Windows 12 also releasing next year are strong.

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Subhan Zafar is an established IT professional with interests in Windows and Server infrastructure testing and research, and is currently working with Itechtics as a research consultant. He has studied Electrical Engineering and is also certified by Huawei (HCNA & HCNP Routing and Switching).

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