Windows Server 2012 : Server Manager (part 2) - Configuring remote management

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2. Configuring remote management

By default, Windows Server 2012 is configured to allow remote management by Server Manager running on another computer. This makes it easy to start using Server Manager to remotely manage servers running Windows Server 2012. When certain prerequisites have been met, servers running Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 can also be remotely managed using Server Manager. The remote-management capability for servers running Windows Server 2003 is limited, however.


Server Manager and workgroup servers

Server Manager is mainly intended for remotely managing Windows servers in a domain environment where the Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) role has been deployed.You can remotely manage workgroup servers using Server Manager, but doing so requires additional configuration to get that functionality working and it has some limitations with regard to management functionality.

Configuring remote management on Windows Server 2012

You can determine whether the local server is enabled for remote management in two ways:

  • By starting Server Manager on the local server, selecting the Local Server page, and viewing the state of the Remote Management setting in the Properties tile. This setting should display as either Enabled or Disabled, and you can modify the setting by clicking it.

  • By running the %windir%\system32\Configure-SMRemoting.exe command-line tool from an elevated command prompt using the appropriate parameter as follows:

    • Configure-SMRemoting –get Displays whether remote management is enabled or disabled

    • Configure-SMRemoting –enable Enables remote management if it is currently disabled

    • Configure-SMRemoting –disable Disables remote management if it is currently enabled


Consequences of disabling remote management on servers

Everything you can do with Server Manager to manage servers running Windows Server 2012 you can also do using Windows PowerShell. That’s because the Server Manager console is simply a GUI way of running PowerShell commands against remote servers. So if you disable remote management on a server using either method just described, any applications or commands that require Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) or Windows PowerShell remote access for remotely managing the server will fail.

If you have confirmed that a remote server running Windows Server 2012 has remote management enabled but you are still unable to remotely manage the server using Server Manager, try the following:

  • If the remote server is on a different subnet, verify that there are no network firewall settings blocking remote management between the two subnets.

  • Try running Server Manager using the built-in Administrator account instead of a different administrator account to ensure sufficient credentials to perform the operation.

Configuring remote management on Windows Server 2008

You can use Server Manager to remotely manage servers running Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2 if you first install the following features and updates on servers running these operating systems:

Running Server Manager on Windows 8

Server Manager can also be run from an administrative workstation running Windows 8 by deploying the Remote Server Administrative Tools (RSAT) for Windows 8, which includes

  • Server Manager

  • MMC snap-ins and consoles

  • Windows PowerShell cmdlets and providers

  • Some additional command-line tools

Benefits and disadvantages of using RSAT for Windows 8

The benefits of using RSAT for Windows 8 for managing servers include the following:

  • Enabling you to remotely manage multiple servers in a datacenter or in the cloud from a client computer—for example, from an administrator workstation in your office

  • Reducing licensing costs by eliminating the need to install Windows Server 2012 on the computer you will use for managing your servers

The disadvantages of this approach include the following:

  • The client computer must be running Windows 8, not an earlier version of Windows.

  • ARM versions of Windows 8 are not supported, only the x86 and x64 versions.

  • Server Manager on Windows 8 can be used only for managing remote servers, not for managing the local computer.

One scenario in which deploying RSAT for Windows 8 can be especially helpful is when all your servers running Windows Server 2012 are deployed as Server Core installations, because it can simplify the job of configuring and managing servers that don’t include GUI management tools like Server Manager.

Deploying RSAT for Windows 8

To download RSAT for Windows 8, go to After you install RSAT for Windows 8 on a client computer running Windows 8, Server Manager automatically opens by default on the client computer. If it doesn’t, you can start Server Manager as follows:

  1. On the Start screen, click the Administrative Tools tile.

  2. In the Administrative Tools folder, double-click the Server Manager tile.

If you don’t see the Server Manager or Administrative Tools tile on the Start screen, hover the mouse pointer over the upper right corner of the Start screen and click Settings. If Show Administrative Tools is turned off, turn it on.


RSAT for Windows 8 prerequisites

If you have a version of RSAT used for managing earlier versions of Windows Server already installed on your Windows 8 administrator workstation, make sure you remove the earlier RSAT version before you install RSAT for Windows 8 on the workstation.

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