Blog: Windows Server

Recently, Microsoft released a production version of a new management interface called Windows Admin Center, formerly known as Project Honolulu. The purpose of this product is to provide a centralized or locally-deployed management interface that will (eventually, hopefully) replace Server Manager. It manages servers by using Remote PowerShell or WMI over WinRM and client systems through similar methods.

Simply add your machines in the list, assign credentials to connect with (they can be your own – it doesn't appear credentials would be shared between administrators), and connect. The main requirement is that the server you're connecting to for management has WMF 5.0 installed.

As you can see from the above screenshot, there are a TON of things that you can do through this interface – including: browsing files, managing local users, managing the registry, enabling RDP, installing roles & features, managing and installing Windows Updates. It's a really impressive application that I plan to start using more often. It's very responsive and even loads interfaces faster than the MMC equivalent in many cases. I can certainly see the difference in the Event Viewer, for example.

To learn more or to download the free product, check out




When enabling most roles and features in Windows Server 2012 R2, you can simply add the roles or features and the server will pull the installation files from the C:\Windows\WinSxS folder. However the installation files for .NET Framework v3.5 are not included in this folder and must be downloaded from the operating system installation ISO or from the Internet.[more] On the last page of the “Add Roles and Features” wizard, there is an option for an alternate source for the installation files. You should be able to set this to the drive where the ISO is mounted or attached, and point to the “DriveLetter:\Sources\SxS” folder.

When I used the alternate installation path to D:\Sources\SxS on a server I was building, I received a message saying it could not find the installation source. The solution in this case was to create a Group Policy Object that was scoped to the new server and set the installation file location in the GPO. The settings I used in the GPO are below. After applying this GPO, I was able to install .NET Framework 3.5 from the mounted Server 2012 R2 installation CD.


Microsoft updated the online images in April 2014 to include the ‘Update 1’ (KB2919355) for Server 2012R2 and 8.1. It is probably best to use these updated images where possible because there have been issues installing this very large update as a stand-alone patch. Also note that Microsoft has begun periodic updates to the online images of their current product versions. The current 2012R2 image is now over 5GB and includes updates thru Nov 2014.


One of out customers was not able to get to the Internet.  I was able to connect to the router, but could not ping the ISA server.  Shortly, I could get on the server, but when going through the start menu, it stopped responding and I finally got disconnected. I could no longer ping it from the router. Then in a little while it came back. I was able stay connected long enough to look at the event log and found messages that said "Remote Access Connection Manager failed to start because it could not create buffers. Restart the computer. Access is denied." I researched this and found and which both say the tape drivers need to be updated. I downloaded the driver installation file from Veritas (Symantec) and put it on a CD and went on site.  The internal LAN was working fine. I got on the server and found that I could not ping the router. I installed the Veritas (Symantec) device drivers and rebooted and that seems to have corrected it. The version of the HP tape driver was "" before and now it is "5.1."