Deploying Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard/Datacenter with Windows Server Essentials Experience role in an Existing Active Directory Environment

[This post comes to us courtesy of Sandeep Biswas and Rituraj Choudhary from Global Business Support]

In this post we will discuss deploying Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard or Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter with Windows Server Essentials Experience role in an existing Active Directory environment. There are certain facts that we must be cognizant of in this scenario:

  • The Windows Server Essentials Experience role can only be deployed in a domain environment. If you intend to install Windows Server Experience role on a Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard or Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter edition in an environment with a pre-existing Active Directory domain, it does not have to be a domain controller. However, if an Active Directory domain does not exist, installing the Windows Server Essentials Experience role on a Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard or Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter edition will create an Active Directory domain, and the server will become the domain controller at the root of the forest and domain, holding all the FSMO roles.
  • The Windows Server Essentials Experience role can only be deployed into a single domain. Also, a read-only domain controller cannot exist in this domain. These limitations stand out irrespective of the Windows Server editions that we can deploy Windows Server Essentials Experience role on.

In order to deploy a Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard or Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter in an existing domain, first, complete the initial setup. Once the installation is complete and the server reboots to the desktop, log on with the local administrator account.

Make sure you are connected to the local network. To do so, you may ping the internal domain name to verify that it resolves to the IP address of the source server.

The next step is to add this server to the domain using native methods. To do so, launch the System Properties. Click Change on the Computer Name tab.

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If you wish to change the Computer name, type a new name. Click the radio button Domain and type the existing domain name and then click OK.

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On the next screen, enter the domain administrator credentials to join the existing domain and proceed by clicking OK button. After the server is successfully joined to the domain, you will be notified with a welcome message. Once you acknowledge the message by clicking OK, you will receive a prompt to restart the server. Save your work, close any open files, and then restart the server.

At the subsequent logon prompt, click the Switch user icon clip_image003 and then click Other user. Log on to the server with the domain administrator credentials.

Once logged on to the desktop, the Server Manager page will pop up. Click Manage and then click Add Roles and Features.

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This will pop up the Add Roles and Features Wizard. Follow through by clicking Next on each of these pages: Before you begin, Select installation type, and Select destination server.

On the Select server roles page, click to select the Windows Server Essentials Experience role and then click Next.

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You will receive a popup to add features required for Windows Server Essentials Experience role. Click Add Features to proceed.

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Proceed by clicking Next button on the remaining pages of the wizard. On the Confirm installation selections page, click Install.

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You will receive a notification after the installation completes as follows.

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Click Close to close this wizard.

Back on the Server Manager console, you will now receive a notification flag with a yellow exclamation mark. Click the notification flag and then click Configure Windows Server Essentials.

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The above action will launch the Configure Windows Server Essentials wizard. Click Configure button to configure Windows Server Essentials.

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Wait for the configuration to complete. Click Close when it is done.

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You are now ready to use your Windows Server 2012 R2 with Windows Server Essentials Experience role configured as a member server in your existing domain. You may now proceed to configure Essentials features based on your needs through the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard.

In our next migration series post we will discuss how to add a Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials in an existing Active Directory. Stay tuned!