Guidelines for products that work well with the Microsoft® Windows® xp and Windows Server 2003 operating systems

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A6.0 Server System Requirements

This section describes additional requirements or exceptions to the requirements defined earlier in Section A1.0.

For Itanium-based server systems, all requirements in A5.0 are included by reference.

A6.0.1 System Exceptions and Notes for Servers

In addition to the requirements defined in A6.0, the following additional notes and exceptions are defined elsewhere in Appendix A:

  • Ref: A1.4.2 Correct implementation of power management
    For server systems, network adapters and other peripherals are not required to support wake from D3.
A6.0.2 Device Exceptions and Notes for Servers

In addition to the requirements defined in A6.0, the following additional notes and exceptions are defined elsewhere in Appendix B:

  • Ref: B10.4.4.5 Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition: SCSI and Fibre Channel hard drives implement complete identification strings.

  • Ref: B10.9 RAID requirements.

  • Ref: B10.10 Fibre Channel requirements.

A6.1 Server System - Windows Compatibility

A6.1.1 – See A1.1
A6.1.2 If legacy components have been removed, system includes correct FADT table entries and necessary ISR support for boot

System designs that remove legacy (port 60h/port 64h) keyboard controllers, typically implemented using 8042 or similar controllers, must meet these requirements to function with Windows. Specifically, these systems must properly set Fixed ACPI Description Table Boot Architecture Flags as described in the ACPI specification and ACPI Specification Changes for Legacy Free, as described at

System designs that reduce the amount of legacy ISR support in conjunction with other legacy removal efforts (such as 8042 or 60h/64h keyboard controller removal) must still provide the necessary ISRs required to boot x86-based systems using BIOS. The minimum requirements include support for ISR 8h, 13h, and 19h (all functions), and ISR 15h, function E820h.

See also A4.1.1.

A6.2 Server System - Industry Standards

See A1.2.

A6.3 Server System - Quality

WHQL Test Specification References:
Chapter 22: Driver Quality Test Specification
Chapter 24: Cluster Test Specification
Chapter 27: WinSock Direct Test Specification
Chapter 29: Headless Test Specification
Chapter 30: Datacenter Server Test Specification
Plus technology-specific test specifications
A6.3.1 – See A1.3
A6.3.2 Product passes related Windows Logo Program testing

Product is submitted to the appropriate WHQL test program and passes all testing for the Windows Logo Program for hardware:

Windows Server 2003, Standard and Enterprise Editions: Pass tests in HCT 11.1 (or later), as described in detail in the WHQL Test Specification and the Microsoft Windows Hardware Compatibility Test Kit 10.0 documentation.

See “Server Testing Overview” in the HCT documentation.

A6.3.1.1 All 66-MHz and 64-bit PCI buses in a server system comply with PCI 2.2 and other requirements.

If PCI buses that are 66 MHz, 64-bit, or both are present in a server system, all devices connected to these buses must meet the requirements defined in PCI 2.2 or later.
A6.3.1.2 PCI devices do not use the <1 MB BAR type.

Devices must take any 32-bit BAR address.

A6.4 Server System - Windows Experience

Design guidelines (reference only):
A6.4.1 Server supports additional requirements for PCI

All 64-bit PCI adapters must be able to address any location in the address space supported by the platform.

A server that supports more than 4 GB of memory must support a 64-bit PCI bus architecture.

A6.4.2 Server includes USB controller with at least one USB port

To facilitate the eventual migration away from legacy connections for keyboards, pointing devices, serial devices, and parallel devices, server designers must integrate USB functionality into their server platforms with the minimum support being one USB controller with at least one available USB port. USB ports must comply with the related USB requirements.

See A6.4.5.6 for exemptions for headless servers.

A6.4.2.1 All USB hardware complies with USB 1.1

All USB hardware present on a server system and USB devices, including hubs, must comply with USB 1.1 or later.

When a system has more than one host controller, each host controller must provide full bandwidth and isochronous support. Host controllers should be located on PCI to meet this requirement. The host controller providing USB 1.1 functionality must comply with the specifications for either Open Host Controller Interface (OpenHCI), published by Compaq, Microsoft, and National Semiconductor, or Universal HCI (UHCI), published by Intel. Hardware manufacturers who design to one of these specifications are not required to provide an additional Windows device driver for their host controller.

Multiple OpenHCI and UHCI USB controllers are supported concurrently by the operating system.

A6.4.2.2 USB devices and drivers support maximum flexibility of hardware interface options

Device and driver designs must provide maximum flexibility for interface options to allow user-preference coordination by the operating system or other resource managers. This flexibility allows graceful use of multiple simultaneous devices and applications in a dynamic environment.

Minimum requirements consist of the following:

  • Must provide multiple alternate settings for each interface where any alternate setting consumes isochronous bandwidth.

  • Must not use isochronous bandwidth for alternate setting 0. Devices must consume bandwidth only when they are in use.
A6.4.2.3 System and devices comply with USB power management requirements

The server system must comply with the power management requirements in USB 1.1 or later. In addition, USB devices must comply with the Interface Power Management feature in the USB Common Class Specification, Revision 1.1 or later.
A6.4.2.4 USB devices comply with their related USB device class specifications

A USB peripheral that fits into one of the USB device class definitions must comply with the related USB device class specification. USB class drivers in the operating system are implemented to support compliant devices in each particular class. Class driver extensions and WDM allow hardware manufacturers to innovate and differentiate their products while still complying with class specifications in their base operational modes.
A6.4.2.5 USB hubs are self-powered

This requirement does not apply for hubs integrated into keyboards. To minimize USB power consumption requirements, bus-powered hubs must provide ports that can be individually power switched. This contributes to the goal of reducing overall system power consumption.

See also B2.6.2

A6.4.4 System memory includes ECC memory protection

Minimum system memory requirements for servers are defined in WL-2.

The system memory and cache must be protected with Error Correction Code (ECC) memory protection. All ECC RAM visible to the operating system must be cacheable. The ECC hardware must have the ability to detect at least a double-bit error in one word and to correct a single-bit error in one word, where “word” means the width in bits of the memory subsystem. A detected error that cannot be corrected must result in a system fault.

A6.4.5 System that provides headless server capabilities meets minimum requirements
A6.4.5.1 DELETED
A6.4.5.2 x86-based system without management service processor provides properly configured legacy serial port

For use with the headless server capabilities of Windows, x86-based systems must provide a legacy serial port that is addressable at either COM1 (03F8h) or COM2 (02F8h), configured to the default settings of 9600 bps, 8 bits, no parity, and 1 stop bit. This port must also comply with the requirements for legacy serial ports.
A6.4.5.3 x86-based system that implements management service processor and external serial headless capability supports required external serial port and remote system reset

Required if the service processor exposes a UART interface via hardware to the operating system or if the serial port is the only full-time management connection

This requirement addresses the minimum capabilities needed for headless server support with service processors that provide external serial capabilities.

Management service processors that provide both serial and LAN-based full-time management connections but do not provide an internal 16550 UART hardware interface (i.e. Service Processor does not provide a serial port interface or the serial port interface is provided by a Windows driver and is not available before Windows is loaded) must provide at least the capabilities in A6.4.5.2 or must provide the capabilities outlined in A6.4.5.5 for the alternate LAN-based management connection.

A6.4.5.4 x86-based system with management service processor and external serial headless capability supports BIOS redirection of console output, plus serial port and serial headless cabling requirements

Systems with service processors that provide external serial support must meet the requirements in A6.4.5.2 plus the following additional requirements.
A6.4.5.5 x86-based system that implements a management service processor but no external serial connection meets reset and display redirection requirements

Required if system implements headless support with a management service processor.

For enhanced out-of-band management capabilities, systems can provide a management service processor. This processor can enable such advanced capabilities as remote system reset and assistance with disaster recovery.

Note that an x86-based system is not required to provide a management service processor. This requirement addresses the minimum capabilities needed for headless server support with service processors but no external serial connection capabilities.

The management service processor must support a remote system reset capability. This capability may be provided through OEM-specific mechanisms.

A6.4.5.6 x86-based headless system meets USB controller and port requirements

If you implement headless support in one of the following ways, a USB controller and port in the server is not required:

  • System that implements headless capabilities without management service processor provides serial headless support.

  • System that implements management service processor and external serial headless capability supports required external serial port and remote system reset.

  • System that implements a management service processor but no external serial connection meets reset and display redirection requirements.
A6.4.6 Server system supports additional required devices and subsystem capabilities
A6.4.6.1 Logo-compliant network adapter

An ISA or LPC-based network adapter solution is not allowed.
A6.4.6.2 Primary graphics adapter, if present on an x86-based system, supports 800x600x256 color and VESA timing standards.

Server systems which meet the requirements for headless server capabilities are not required to supply a local console primary graphics adapter. However, if a primary graphics adapter is present in the system, at a minimum, the adapter must support 800 × 600 × 256 color, following the VESA monitor timing standards and guidelines for this mode.

The adapter must also work normally with the default VGA mode driver, which is required for installing the operating system, so the primary adapter must support 4-bit planar VGA mode.

A6. VGA-compatible devices must not use non-video I/O ports.

A VGA-compatible device must not use any legacy I/O ports that are not set aside for video in the PCI 2.2 specification.
A6.4.6.3 CD or DVD drive or other method for installing the operating system and emergency repair support.

The server system must include either CD or DVD drive support or another method to enable the installation (or reinstallation) of the operating system. If an OEM does not provide a floppy disk drive for this purpose, an alternate emergency repair method must be provided.
A6.4.6.4 Parallel port design, if present on an x86-based system meets requirements

There is no requirement that a parallel port be present on a server; designers are strongly discouraged from incorporating parallel ports based on legacy parallel port technologies. However, if a parallel port is present on a server, then it must meet the related requirements as defined in B2.4.

If implemented in a server system, a legacy parallel port must provide flexible resource configuration following the Plug and Play Parallel Port Device Specification, Version 1.0b. Resource requirements must be met for each device of this type on the system. The requirements cannot be split between two ports on the system.

The parallel port must support ISA I/O addresses of 378h and 278h, plus 3BC or a vendor-assigned I/O address. Using these standard I/O addresses ensures proper functioning of software written for operating systems that directly address these locations.

No ECP support is required for parallel ports on servers.

A6.4.6.5 DELETED
A6.4.6.6 Windows Sever 2003, Enterprise Edition: System designed for deployment with MSCS clustering does not use ATA host controller or peripherals.

If ATA is implemented in a server system, the ATA host controller and peripherals must meet all related requirements for devices and drivers. There is no restriction on the use of ATA drives for Basic and SOHO class servers running Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition. For Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition, ATA devices can only be used as operating system disks (boot, system and paging); hardware redundant (RAID) controllers are recommended. ATA drives may not be used for application data, although the application executable files may be installed on ATA drives.
A6.4.7 Server system additional required capabilities
A6.4.7.1 DELETED
A6.4.7.2 DELETED
A6.4.7.3 If present, Intelligent RAID controller supports at least one RAID type (for servers designed for deployment with MSCS clustering).

An intelligent RAID controller—where the controller itself has the capability to run the array management software locally rather than simply executing disk accesses for host-based array software—provides the benefit of reduced demands on the host processor or processors, thereby freeing those computing resources and allowing their use by other tasks. The intelligent RAID controller may be internal to the server chassis, or within an external drive enclosure.
A6.4.7.4 Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition: Additional hardware support
A6. Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition: Protected forced dump switch or other mechanism for system diagnosis.

The x86-based system must include a protected switch or other mechanism to force an NMI on a stalled system. This device permits the system to perform a memory dump that can then be used for diagnosis of system failures. This device must be protected in such a way that only an authorized administrator can perform this action and accessed without having to power off the system.

For information on the “dump switch” support in Windows, see Note that this white paper presents only concept suggestions for designers and is not intended to provide precise implementation detail.

A6.4.8 Server that supports Winsock Direct (WSD) connectivity meets requirements

Systems are not required to provide WSD connectivity capabilities. However, those systems that do must meet the following requirements:
A6.4.8.1 Reliable transport through combination of WSD hardware and software.

The Windows Sockets Direct Reference is provided in the Windows DDK.
A6.4.8.2 Hardware, software, and driver support to facilitate access via fast alternate paths.

This would include the “normal” Network Driver Interface Specification (NDIS) 5.0-compliant miniport, plus a System Area Network Windows Sockets (Winsock) provider and a System Area Network Management driver. Installers for these components and any needed network management software components must also be provided.

For hardware characteristics and provider guidelines, see "Windows Sockets Direct" in the Network Devices and Protocols section of the Windows DDK.

A6.4.8.3 Hardware has page tables to translate user addresses to physical addresses.

Hardware must have page tables to translate user addresses to physical addresses. This allows direct user-mode access to the hardware, permitting endpoint resources to be mapped directly into the address space of a user-mode process. This permits application processes to post messaging requests directly to the hardware, with no system calls and no intermediate data copying.


  • Winsock Direct and associated hardware are targeted for use in physically secure computer systems and environments, such as those associated with “back end” or “glass house” computing environments.

  • Vendors who are sizing their page table hardware should take into account the number of simultaneous connections expected to be supported by the hardware in conjunction with the applications using this connection. The number of simultaneous connections may range widely (from thousands to hundreds). In addition to the number of simultaneous connections, designers need to take into account the page size (specific to the host computer system) and whether the connection is registering memory for RDMA operations in addition to memory registered for messages. Cards that support thousands of simultaneous connections will need to map tens of thousands of page table entries.

A6.5 Server System - FAQs

A6.5.1 Updated at A6.
A6.5.2 Updated at A6.4.6

A6.R Server System - Future Requirements

Announcement of additional future requirements will be published at

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Guidelines for products that work well with the Microsoft® Windows® xp and Windows Server 2003 operating systems

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