Remember the Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 Administration Tools Pack (Adminpak) that, once installed on a client or server, allowed administrators to perform common administrative tasks without having to actually go to the server? It certainly made life easier, but the release of Windows Vista brought things to a halt: many of these tools did not work with a Vista client. Fortunately, you can download the installation file of the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) for Windows Vista to add these tools to a Windows Vista SP1 machine (a link to the 64-bit version is also available) after the required validation.
RSAT is designed primarily to enable administrators to remotely manage Windows Server 2008 roles and features from a Windows Vista SP1 machine, but it also provides support for Windows Server 2003 roles. Of course, not all of the 2008 roles and features are supported in a 2003 environment, but the tool will satisfy most of the major management needs for that environment. See the Knowledge Base article "Description of Windows Server 2008 Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows Vista SP1" for all support options for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2003, and for the localized languages currently offered for RSAT. The article also provides instruction on install methods, uninstall information, known issues, and links to the download packages.
After you install the package for your specific language and OS, you expose the features by turning the ones you want on (or off) in Windows Vista. To do this, open Control Panel|Programs and Features, and then click "Turn Windows features on or off" on the Tasks pane (see Figure 1). Once you take care of the User Account Control (UAC) prompt, you'll see a pop-up window showing the features you can turn on or off. RSAT adds a new category to the list entitled Remote Server Administration Tools that, when expanded, displays two major subcategories: Feature Administration Tools and Role Administration Tools, as shown in Figure 2. Each subcategory has multiple tools that you can activate and add to your client machine.
Figure 1 Turn Windows features on or off
Figure 2 RSAT feature and Role Tools
Figure 3 Setting Start Menu Properties
After selecting the features and tools to turn on, the system will configure the tools and install the necessary files and snap-ins that correspond to that particular tool or feature on your system. This allows you to utilize these tools in your Administrative Tools group in your Start Menu or in the Microsoft Management Console (MMC). If you want to do this, go into the Start Menu Properties and enable System Administrative Tools to be displayed in All Programs (or All Programs and the Start Menu), as shown in Figure 3. For MMC, use the Add/Remove Snap-in… to enable the functionality of the tool or feature in your custom console.
You will find the RSAT utility a valuable addition to your management tool belt for easy, feature-rich, remote administration of your Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2003 resources from a Windows Vista SP1 client workstation.
Edward Dake has worked for Microsoft Corporation since 1997 as a Technical Account Manager, a Support Engineer, and a Technical Lead in Customer Service and Support organization. His current role is Team Manager for Xbox Support.