I was kinda bummed when Microsoft moved from the 2008 version of Server Manager and turned to the new 2012/8 version. However I went in with an open mind to try it out; unfortunately it didn’t take long to find it incredibly frustrating.
Server Manager is not included in Windows 8/8.1 by default; you need to install the Remote Server Administration Tools. Then you need to turn on the RSAT features you want to use in Control Panel/Programs and Features/Turn Windows features on or off.
You can add many servers to monitor and administer in the new version and if you right-click on a server you are given a lot of options like:
- Add and remove programs
- Restart server
- Computer management
- Remote desktop connection
- Windows powershell
- Configure NIC teaming
- Configure Windows automatic feedback
This works great on server 2012/2012R2 but on Windows 8/8.1 right-clicking a server does nothing — no menu appears. I spent many hours on the Internet trying to find a solution; many people reported the same problem but nobody had a solution. So I gave up on it and just logged into each server directly. That’s obviously not ideal.
But wait! Turns out there is a solution:
- Go into Control Panel/Programs and Features
- Select Turn Windows features on or off
- Completely uncheck all RSAT files and press OK and let it uninstall.
- Now go back into Turn Windows features on or off and select all RSAT tools.
I initially followed best practices and selected only the tools I wanted, namely Server Manager, Active Directory tools, and Group policy. I didn’t need DHCP, DNS, NIC Teaming, etc so I didn’t install those tools. However, it appears that Server Manager requires something in one of the unchecked objects in order to display the right-click menu. Installing all of the RSAT tools allows Server Manager to work correctly on Windows 8.1.
For the record, I did try the uninstall/reinstall method before but I still only chose the Manager/AD/GP tools on reinstall and I still had no menus. I can only get the menus when all RSAT tools are installed.
Now that Server Manager is working correctly on Win8.1, I have to say that I really like it. The Dashboard feature is really nice; you can see at a glance when a server is misbehaving.