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Working with Server Manager, adding additional tools

10:43 am in Service Manager, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2 by mikeresseler

Since I get this question a lot, I thought I create a quick blog around it…

Windows Server 2012 (R2) brings in a new and better Server Manager to manage your server( s). While many people tell me they don’t like it I notice that when you really give it a try for a couple of days you are hooked and you love it. I’m not going to explain what Server Manager can do and what it doesn’t do but many people ask if they can add other tools to the solution.

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If you look at the tools selection, you will see that by default there are already quite a few. But what if you have other tools in your gearbox that you want to use from Server Manager also? What if you have customer PowerShell scripts or other scripts. Or what if you simply have the SQL or Exchange console running and you want to add those?

The answer to that is pretty simple. All you have to do is add the shortcut to the program to the following folder:

Control Panel > System and Security > Administrative Tools

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As you can see I have added a shortcut to my installation of 5nine Manager in this directory and it is now visible through Server Manager.

The only problem you can run into is security. But everything (and also how to add scripts with an example) can be found written out here:

http://blogs.technet.com/b/servermanager/archive/2012/07/09/customize-tools-menu-in-server-manager.aspx

Enjoy

Mike

Upgrading a DC to Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview

6:18 am in Domain Controller, Preview, Upgrade, Windows Server 2012 R2 by mikeresseler

As a true geek I have downloaded Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview the minute it was available. After installing a few virtual machines from scratch and playing with a few features it was time to see how an upgrade would perform.

The first server (in my demo environment of course) is a Domain Controller. But before I could actually do the upgrade, I needed to do some additional work.

First, I got into issues when I chose the upgrade path and the ability to go online to search for updates. I’ve got this error notification and I couldn’t find any logs or reports on what was wrong. As always, community to the rescue and I found a post written by WorkingHardInIT that described the problem and the workaround for it. You can find the blogpost here: http://workinghardinit.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/in-place-upgrade-to-windows-server-2012-r2-preview-fails-with-windows-installation-encountered-an-unkown-error-and-cannot-continue/

As it states in the post, the trick is to ignore the Go Online to install updates now (recommended) and to choose No Thanks.

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After that, I have gotten my compatibility report.

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So I went to the URL that is included in the message but that didn’t got me very far. This article is about preparing a Windows 2000 or Windows Server 2003 Forest Schema for a Domain Controller that runs Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2.

I tried searching on the web for a newer version of this article but couldn’t find the good one. So let’s do this one without any documentation. (I know… Stupid but hey… it is a test environment :-))

On the ISO Image that was mounted on my Virtual Domain Controller, I browsed to support/adprep and there I found the ADPrep executable.

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Now it is time to perform this schema upgrade. I do this in PowerShell (as an administrator) but you can do this in command prompt also.

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I run adprep.exe /forestprep

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Now I hit “C” to continue

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And everything is being upgraded. For those who want to know exactly what is being done. This command executes the following schema changes:

From sch57.ldf till sch69.ldf and finally PAS.ldf.

Without further thinking I started the upgrade process again. (Hey, it was Monday when I did this ;-)) and I got another issue

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I had to do the domain prep also. (I should have known this but…)

The command do use is ADPREP.EXE /DOMAINPREP

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And now you can start the upgrade of your domain controller, sit back, relax, wait a bit and get a nicely upgraded domain controller.

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Cheers,

Mike