Step-by-Step: Managing Windows 2008 in Windows Server 2012 Server Manager

Hello folks,

Every time I talk to IT pros about Windows Server 2012, I always get the question “Can you manage other servers in the 2012 server manager?” Well the answer is yes. Absolutely!

You can manage Windows Server 2008, 2008 R2 and 2012 in the same 2012 Server Manager Dashboard. Server Manager is a management console in Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview and Windows Server 2012 that helps IT professionals provision and manage both local and remote Windows-based servers from their desktops, without requiring either physical access to servers, or the need to enable Remote Desktop protocol (RDP) connections to each server. Although Server Manager supports remote, multi-server management, and help increase the number of servers an administrator can manage.

The Server Manager console is included with Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 8.1 Preview and Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 8. Note that when Remote Server Administration Tools is installed on a client computer, you cannot manage the local computer by using Server Manager; Server Manager cannot be used to manage computers or devices that are running a Windows client operating system. You can use Server Manager to manage only Windows-based servers

In order to prepare 2008 and 2008 R2 servers to be managed by a 2012 server you must first install certain packages and hotfixes.

  1. As a prerequisite, you'll need to install:
    1. .NET Framework 4.5 if you are using a Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview to manage the other servers.
    2. .NET Framework 4 if you are using a Windows Server 2012 to manage the other servers.
  2. Download: Download and Install the Windows Management Framework:
    1. Windows Management Framework 4.0 if you are using a Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview to manage the other servers.
    2. Windows Management Framework 3.0 if you are using a Windows Server 2012 to manage the other servers.
  3. Hotfix: In order to enable server manager to retrieve Performance Counters from Windows Server 2008 SP2 or Windows Server 2008 R2 servers, the following hotfix needs to in installed:

Now that we are done with the prerequisites we need to configure the servers to be managed.

  1. To enable Server Manager remote management on Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview or Windows Server 2012 right-click on the PowerShell icon and select "Run as Administrator" and run the following command
    1. Configure-SMRemoting.exe –Enable
  2. To enable Server Manager and Windows PowerShell remote management on older operating systems (2008 & 2008 R2)
    1. Set-ExecutionPolicy -ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned
    2. Configure-SMRemoting.ps1 -force –enable


Add the target server to the Windows Server 2012 console

Now that the servers are configured you only need to add them to your Windows Server 2012 or 2012 R2 Preview console.

1- Right-Click “All Servers” in the server manager console and select “Add Servers”.


2- Follow the prompts and add your target server to the console.


Now you can manage most of your servers in one console.

For more information on this subject you can refer to the TechNet page. Or the following courses on Microsoft Virtual Academy.

· Windows Server 2012: Management & Automation

· Upgrading Skills to Windows Server 2012 Jump Start

And as always I encourage you to get the preview of Windows Server 2012 R2 here and try it for yourself.



Pierre Roman, MCITP, ITIL | Technology Evangelist
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