Managing Windows Server 2012 (part 8) - Using the System console

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5. Using the System console

You use the System console to view system information and perform basic configuration tasks. To access the System console, tap or click System And Security and then System in Control Panel. As Figure 6 shows, the System console is divided into four basic areas that provide links for performing common tasks and a system overview:

  • Windows Edition Shows the operating system edition and version. In addition, it lists any service packs that you’ve applied.

  • System Lists the processor, memory, and type of operating system installed on the computer.

  • Computer Name, Domain, And Workgroup Settings Provides the computer name, description, domain, and workgroup details. If you want to change any of this information, tap or click Change Settings and then tap or click Change in the System Properties dialog box.

  • Windows Activation Shows whether you have activated the operating system and the product key. If Windows Server 2012 isn’t activated yet, tap or click the link provided to start the activation process and then follow the prompts.

Use the System console to view and manage system properties.
Figure 6. Use the System console to view and manage system properties.

When you’re working in the System console, links in the left pane provide quick access to key support tools, including the following:

  • Device Manager

  • Remote Settings

  • Advanced System Settings

Although volume-licensed versions of Windows Server 2012 might not require activation or product keys, retail versions of Windows Server 2012 require both activation and product keys. If Windows Server 2012 has not been activated, you can activate the operating system by selecting Activate Windows Now under Windows Activation. You can also activate Windows by typing slmgr –ato at a command prompt. You can change the product key provided during installation of Windows Server 2012 to stay in compliance with your licensing plan. At a command prompt, type slmgr –ipk followed by the product key you want to use, and then press Enter.

When Windows finishes validating the product key, you need to reactivate the operating system. The Windows Software Management Licensing tool has many other options, including options for offline activation using a confirmation identifier. To view this and other options, type slmgr at a command prompt.

From within the System console, you can access the System Properties dialog box and use this dialog box to manage system properties. Tap or click Change Settings under Computer Name, Domain, And Workgroup Settings.

You use the System Properties dialog box to configure system properties, including properties for managing the operating system configuration, startup, shutdown, environment variables, and user profiles. System is the most advanced Control Panel utility, and its options are organized into several tabs.

The Computer Name tab displays the full computer name of the system and the domain membership, if applicable. The full computer name is essentially the DNS name of the computer, which also identifies the computer’s place within the Active Directory hierarchy. To change the computer name or move a computer to a new domain, use one of the following procedures:

  • For member servers (not domain controllers), you can tap or click Change to change the system name and domain associated with the computer. This displays the Computer Name/Domain Changes dialog box (as shown in Figure 7). If you want to change the computer’s name, type a new name in the Computer Name field. If you want to change the computer’s domain or workgroup membership, select Domain or Workgroup as appropriate, and then enter the new domain or workgroup name. Tap or click OK. If you change the computer’s domain, the computer will be moved to that domain and, in which case, you might be prompted to provide the appropriate credentials for joining the computer to that domain.

    Change the computer name and domain or workgroup membership.
    Figure 7. Change the computer name and domain or workgroup membership.
  • For domain controllers, you can tap or click Change to modify the name of the computer, but doing so will make the domain controller temporarily unavailable to other computers in the domain. You cannot use this feature to change the domain in which the domain controller is running. To change the domain, you must demote the domain controller to make it a member server, change the computer’s network ID by using the System utility, and then promote the server so that it is once again a domain controller.

The other System utility tabs are as follows:

  • Hardware Used to configure a computer’s Device Installation Settings. If you enable these settings, Windows Server 2012 checks for driver updates as part of the normal update process. On the Hardware tab, tap or click the Device Installation Settings button. Select the desired update setting. By default, Windows Server 2012 is set to never install driver software from Windows Update. Typically, this is the best setting because you’ll want to test all driver updates before deploying them to production servers. In a test or development lab, however, you might want to configure Windows Server 2012 to automatically install the best driver software from Windows Update.

  • Advanced Used to control many of the key features of the Windows operating system, including application performance, user profiles, startup and recovery, environment variables, and virtual memory.

  • Remote Used to control Remote Assistance invitations and Remote Desktop connections. Remote Assistance invitations are primarily used with workstations and not servers.

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