Windows Server 2012 – The New Server Manager

Expertise Level: Medium 

Related information:

Microsoft implemented modifications to the Server Manager in the new version of Windows Server. In this article, we will discover its new graphical interface and a few options and features that are useful for managing a server on a daily basis.

In this article:

1- Launching Server Manager in Windows Server 2012 

2- Server Manager tabs 

3- Menu overview 

Launching Server Manager in Windows Server 2012 

  1. Connect to your server by using Remote Desktop 
  2. Click on the Server Manager icon (bottom-left corner of the screen)  
  3. The Server Manager window will open 

Server Manager tabs 

The left section of the Server Manager window gives you access to the following tabs:

Dashboard tab 

The Dashboard gives you access to information and features: 

- Add roles and features: Install new roles (web server "IIS", DNS server, AD DS server) or new features (NFS client, Telnet client, .NET Framework 3.5, Windows Server Backup, Windows Server migration tools) on the local server or on a virtual disk "VHD/VHDX", even if the server is offline (the virtual machine is off).  

- Add managed servers: The new version of the Server Manager lets you manage multiple physical or virtual servers from the same interface, without the need of connecting to each individual server. The servers you want to manage with the Server Manager can run Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2003. 

- Group servers : The server you can add to the pool of servers are displayed under the All Servers tab of the Server Manager. You can group your servers in sub-groups. For example, you can create a group named DB Servers to group all your database servers or you can create a Montreal group with all the servers located in Montreal..  

 - Local Server tab 

From the Local Server tab you can access information and features that are divided throughout sections: 

Section: Properties 

- Display information about the motherboard, processor, memory, disk space. 

- Change the name of your server or group and link it to a domain 

- Manage the Windows Firewall (activate, deactivate, open advanced properties. 

- Manage the network cards properties (IP addresses)

 - Manage Windows Updates (activate, deactivate) 

- Click on Tasks at the upper-right of the screen to:

- Open the Powershell command window

- Launch the traditional computer manager from where you can access the Disk Manager, Windows Server Backup, services, users, local groups 

Section: Events

 This section displays all events (errors, warnings), the view can be personalized as required.

 Section: Services

This section gives you access to information about services (status, type) and lets you start, stop or restart the services as required.

Section : Best Practice Analyzer

This section gives comprehensive information on best practices when adding new roles to your server.

You can also launch a new BPA scan by right-clicking or using the Tasks menu.

Section : Performance

From this section, you can view and monitor your server’s performance.

Section : Roles and Features

From this section, you can view the roles and features installed on your server, uninstall them or install new ones.

- All Servers tab 

This tab shows all the servers that can be managed from the Server Manager. All sections previously described are available on the All Servers tab. 

- Tabs specific to each role

The roles installed on the local server or on any other server managed from this Server Manager are listed on these tabs. You can also execute tasks relevant to the roles from these tabs. 

Menu overview

You will find the following menus in the top-right corner of the Server Manager window:

- Notification Center : Gives you access to all notifications (error messages, confirmation messages)

- Manage: Gives you access to the following features:

- Add or remove roles or features from the local server or another server managed from this Server Manager

- Add servers to the list of servers managed from this Server Manager

- Create server groups 

- Configure the Server Manager’s properties

- Tools: Gives you access to various tools (Performance Analyzer, security configuration utility, computer administration, resources monitoring, events viewer, Windows Firewall, tasks planning, Hyper-V Manager)

- View: Change the zoom, show/hide windows in the dashboard. 


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